Scott Walter – Candidate for ALA President

Thank you for the opportunity to share some thoughts about the Sustainability RT and the importance of its work today.

I was a member of ALA Council in 2015 when we passed the “Resolution on the Importance of Sustainable Libraries,” and I was happy to support it. At the time, I associated the idea of sustainability in libraries with green building, sustainable business practices, and, maybe, the idea that our move to a greater and greater reliance on digital content and information technology might be contributing to concerns such as use of electricity, e-waste, etc. It is fair to say that my appreciation for the importance of this resolution was not as expansive as it is today, but, also to be fair, we are living in a different world.

To me, the heart of this resolution is the idea that “libraries are uniquely positioned and essential to build the capacity of the communities they serve to be sustainable, resilient, and regenerative,” and the need for libraries to play that role has never been as important as it is today. I think it is telling that the Sustainability Round Table clearly drew on this vision for the role of libraries in communities in its January 2017 statement about our current situation when it focused not just on the environmental impact of the directions signaled by the new Administration, but on the way librarians work with their communities “to build community resilience as we all face an uncertain future together.” 

That future has only become more uncertain in the weeks since that statement was made, and, as I write this, the Trump Administration has just released a proposed budget that decimates our capacity, as a society, to support the arts, libraries, museums, public education, and the basic and applied science critical to a sustainable future. Librarians can, and must, not only model sustainable practices in their work, and provide the information services and educational programs that will help to spread broader awareness of how to pursue a sustainable future for one’s self and our planet, but we must radically expand our vision of the library’s role in building a resilient community, whether that community is a school, a town, a city, or a college. In a world where senior government officials question the scientific consensus around issues such as global warming and climate change, the mandate to expand our educational and advocacy role around sustainability is clear.

Here at home, we have a great example of a library making a commitment to sustainability in Chicago Public Library. In 2012, the Urban Libraries Council recognized the work that CPL had done to “[make] green routine,” in its buildings and its business practices. More recently, CPL has collaborated with Hive Chicago to promote “The Sustainability Hack” an education and outreach program aimed at young adults. What this tells us is that the library has powerful partners in the community who want to help us not only to pursue sustainability in our work, but to be part of broader discussions of how we promote a sustainability mindset among our kids and our communities. As an academic librarian, this points the way to new thinking about the “value of the academic library,” and the ways in which it can contribute to mission-centered commitments to sustainability, such as, in my case, the DePaul Sustainability Network.

There is one final lesson that I took from the sustainability resolution, and that is the importance of energizing the connection between ALA Chapters and Big ALA. The Council of the New York Library Association passed its resolution on sustainability in 2014, and the launch of the NYLA Sustainability Initiative is inspiring. Throughout this election, I have stressed the capacity that ALA has to energize a national, grassroots effort that engages our members at the local, state, and national levels, and the events of the past 7 weeks have only further demonstrated how important that is. Sustainability is one policy area where we have a great example of how that can be done, and we should build on it.

I have made a commitment throughout my campaign to focus our efforts as an Association on the critical challenges before us, and empower our Association and its members to play the leading role they must in defense of our core values, and our rights and responsibilities as information professionals and community members. I hope you’ll take the opportunity to learn more about me and about my candidacy at (, and I would welcome your support.

There is important work for us to do, and, with your vote, we can do it together

Sara Dallas – Candidate for PLA President

 I appreciate the opportunity to work with the roundtable to advance the goals of SustainRT. As director of the Southern Adirondack Library System (NY), I actively support the work of SustainRT and the New York Library Association’s Sustainability Initiative. As an ALA Council Member at Large, I actively support the work done by SustainRT. I gently reminded President-Elect Jim Neal and ALA Executive Director of the importance of keeping the triple bottom line of sustainability in mind as the organization continues to move forward. If elected PLA President, I would continue to support sustainability in public library facilities, operations, policy, technology, programming, and partnerships.
Sustainability resonates with PLA’s Core Organization Values (Visionary Leadership, Member Focus, Integrity and Transparency, Openness, Inclusiveness and Collaboration, and Excellence and Innovation).  Furthermore, the work done by SustainRT dovetails perfectly with the PLA Goals of Advocacy and Awareness and how the public perceives the library:
  • Leadership and Transformation through professional orientation from internal to outward towards the community,
  • Literate Nation in the area of sustainable and resilient public libraries, and
  • Organizational Excellence – to develop tools and resources to education PLA members, the PLA Board and PLA staff on the importance of Sustainability.  (PLA Strategic Plan, June 2014).
I am a member of SustainRT, and my staff are active in library sustainability locally, statewide and nationally.
Sustainable thinking will continue to be important to me whether or not I am elected PLA President. It is our future. I recognize the importance, responsibilities and unique role of public libraries to hold community conversations, model sustainable practices, and provide information to the public on sustainability. As public librarians, we need to look at our buildings, operations, partners, programming, collections and policies in this vital area.  
I would encourage PLA to look at its conference, conference programming, continuing education opportunities and publications to incorporate the work done by the SustainRT as President – Elect, President, and Past President.

Candidate for ALA President – Terri Grief

Thank you for the opportunity to post on the Sustainability Roundtable blog.

Librarians are leaders in knowledge dissemination and have a battle ahead of us with the current administration. The actions that the Trump administration has taken in only 50 days are threatening the very idea of environmental protection. First, the action that they took against the National Park Service to deny climate change was outrageous. That action was followed quickly by removing all mention of climate change from the website. The EPA was instructed to remove all information about climate change from their website.  Then, unbelievably, Scott Pruitt, a man who has sued the EPA 14 times, was appointed as the head of the EPA. The future for our environment is bleak under this administration.

For these reasons, we must be even more dedicated to keeping knowledge available for our citizens. This roundtable must be a source for the rest of the association and, if I am elected as president, I will look to you for guidance and authority.

Your mission is reflected in my campaign platform. You can read more about it at . There are three main strands in my platform: Strengthening Relationships, Empowering Communities, and Uniting Voices. We must strengthen relationships within ALA and with those stakeholders in the outside community. We must join with others to keep information free and available to our students and patrons. Now, more than ever, we have to continue to fight the good fight. This will empower our communities in ways that will benefit not only the present generations, but the generations that follow. We must speak with one loud and strong voice that what libraries do matter to the good of the society. We must be diligent.

It is critical that we work together to keep sustainability at the forefront of our legislators. I come from a coal state where some people see the environmental concerns as an opposition to their income. Sen. Mitch McConnell is an outspoken detractor for the environment and I am appalled by his actions. We can not idly stand by and let this administration discount science and facts for they perceive as economic gain.

Thank you for your work and dedication. I look forward to working with you.

Loida Garcia-Febo – Candidate for ALA President

Sustainable development and libraries

Loida Garcia-Febo

During my entire career I have actively supported initiatives about sustainability and libraries at local, national,  and international levels.

I have supported the Resolution on the Importance of Sustainable libraries since before it was passed by ALA Council in 2015.

I agree with the resolution. Libraries play a very important role in community communications about resiliency and recently presented two talks about libraries, advocacy, and resilience to LIS students from Florida State University and the Texas University.

I wholeheartedly support the resolution and encourage the ALA membership, library schools, and state associations to be proactive in their application of sustainable thinking in the areas of their facilities, operations, policy, technology, programming, partnerships, and library school curricula.

I have supported this resolution as ALA Executive Board member and I am glad ALA will prepare a report of what it already does that speaks to the resolved statements of the resolution and identifies where there is room for improvement. I feel like a task force will help bring the resolution to life across the organization, divisions, and committees.

At a local level, I have supported the efforts of the New York Library Association (NYLA) to create more sustainable libraries and strong communities. During our last NYLA annual conference, I participated of programs and was very glad to see the Roadmap to Sustainability booklet. This is a great tool to clarify sustainable principles and help you figure out sustainable processes for your library and to make your library and community stronger. It is also available as an app which is very exciting!

At an international level, I have supported the efforts of IFLA Environment, Sustainable, and Libraries. I am glad to have supported their partnership with IFLA New Professionals, an IFLA unit I advise, to present a joint program during the IFLA Congress in Cape Town in South Africa.

I am a big believer in moving towards a more equitable, healthy, and economically viable society. We should all be agents of change. Let’s continue working together to bring change!

I am a librarian. I am an activist. I serve as a library advocate every day. The opportunity to meet the needs of the communities we serve, help change lives, benefit our profession, libraries and information professionals is very exciting! I wholeheartedly believe that Together, we can bring change to benefit our profession and the communities we serve. I based my decision to run for ALA President on my experience advocating for libraries in streets and sidewalks of New York City, at NYC City Hall, New York State Senate, the US Congress and at the United Nations, my background growing up as the daughter of a school librarian and a community organizer, and serving communities as an academic, special and school librarian in Puerto Rico, and a public librarian in Queens. My vision for the Association and my focus will be to build on the work of ALA Presidents to strengthen an ALA that will be the leading voice advocating for libraries and library users while maintaining our core values.

ALA will have a place and a voice at the decision makers’ table, particularly for those in our communities with no voice . We will amplify their concerns to Congress, at the state house, in city councils, and school boards. ALA will build coalitions with like-minded partners sharing our values. ALA will train our members to flourish throughout our careers, to serve and empower libraries, patrons, and communities. ALA will advance our concerns through actions conveyed by pillars of ALA’s Strategic Plan: Advocacy, Information Policies, Professional and Leadership Development, and Diversity and Inclusion. Together, we can bring change to impact public policy, benefit the communities we serve and our profession.

I am looking forward to work with you as your President. Thank you for your vote.


Uta Hussong-Christian – Candidate for Coordinator-Elect

I am delighted to introduce myself as a candidate for Coordinator-Elect of SustainRT. The opportunity to connect my lifelong engagement with sustainability with an aspect of my present work in academic libraries is very appealing.

I have been thinking a lot lately about sustainability. In some ways I prefer to use the phrase, living responsibly—being responsible with our individual and collective stewardship and use of earth’s resources and being responsible with our interactions with one another. Living “responsibly” feels like it conveys a message that we each have a role to play, no matter how small or large.

Like many others, sustainable living–responsible living–was part of my childhood. Whether it was working in our organic garden (the only one in our neighborhood) or recycling the few things we could recycle back in the mid 70’s or line-drying all of our clothes (we had a dryer but didn’t use it), my parents were showing my siblings and me that there was a different way to be in the world. I didn’t like being different back then but those early lessons stayed with me and now serve me well as I embrace the search for ways to reduce my negative impact on this earth.

In spite of my efforts, I was recently shown during the Master Recycler class I completed that there is always more to learn and so many more ways to apply that knowledge than I, alone, understand. I welcome the challenge, particularly when it involves working with a group of committed and passionate library professionals who are also challenging themselves to do better. If elected as SustainRT Coordinator-elect, I offer the following to the effort to grow SustainRT as an organization and grow its impact on our profession: my experience (as President of ACRL’s Oregon chapter) with leading member-driven organizations, my experience starting new initiatives (a compostables collection program at Oregon State University’s Valley Library), and my willingness to continue learning to live more responsibly.

Uta Hussong-Christian
Oregon State University Libraries & Press

Uta at Crater Lake National Park, Oregon
Uta at Crater Lake National Park, Oregon

Amy Brunvand – Candidate for Coordinator-Elect

Dear SustainRT Members,

I’m running for Coordinator-Elect of SustainRT and I’d like to ask for your vote.   

I am an academic librarian at the University of Utah with a specialty in government information (think environmental policy and citizen engagement).

You may remember my name from the 2016 SustainRT ballot.  I didn’t win last year, but I got enough votes to feel encouraged and losing the election led me to seek another way to engage with sustainability.   I have spent the past year on leave from the campus library working as an embedded librarian out of the University of Utah Sustainability Office.  I recently presented a webinar for SustainRT about this experience: “STARS and Beyond: Adventures of an Embedded Librarian in the Campus Sustainability Office.” (  At the moment I’m immersed in sustainability issues and I would be able to step into the Coordinator-Elect role full of fresh ideas and renewed enthusiasm.

My main effort in the Sustainability Office was helping to compile the AASHE STARS Report for the University of Utah (  STARS details campus-wide sustainability efforts, and identifies areas for improvement.  Since the University of Utah is the size of a small city it was a huge undertaking.   From this experience I have a deeper appreciation for the process of shifting organizations from business-as-usual towards sustainable action.  I am more than ever convinced that libraries have an essential information role to play in this transition.  

Sometimes I describe myself as a “guerrilla librarian,” since I try to take library values out into the wider community.  Since 2001 I have written a monthly environmental news column for Catalyst Magazine, ( a local non-profit publication in Salt Lake City with a focus on “resources for creative living”.  Catalyst readers don’t realize this, but my environmental news is based on an information literacy model to teach citizen engagement using policy as an entry point to activism and systemic change.   

The links below show some of my own interests and activities that relate to sustainability.  My personal focus has been on collection development to support sustainability and on libraries fostering citizen engagement.  Other SustainRT members have other passions, and as Coordinator I would work to integrate our diverse voices and interests into a larger vision of libraries helping to create a more equitable, healthy, and economically viable society.

Selected Sustainability Articles

Amy Brunvand. Greening Higher Education.  Catalyst Magazine, (Dec. 31, 2016)

Re-Localizing the Academic Library: Comments on an essay by Rebekkah Smith Aldrich. ALA SustainRT Blog. (7/20/2016)

Amy Brunvand & Ambra Gagliardi. “Sustainability, Relocalization, Citizen Activism and Government Information.” Dttp: Documents to the People. Summer 2015, 43(2), p..10-13.

Amy Brunvand. “Green Jell-O for the Genius Loci or How to Save the Earth with Poetry,” (p. 91-100) in Mark Todd. Western Weird. Boulder: University Press of Colorado, 2015.

Amy Brunvand; Jessica Breiman; Emily Bulluough; Joshua B.  Lenart & Alison Regan. (2014) Building an Academic Library Collection to Support Sustainability. Focus on Educating for Sustainability: a Toolkit for Academic Librarians. Maria A. Jankowska, ed.: Library Juice Press.

About Me

Amy Brunvand [Librarian] Faculty Profile.

Amy Brunvand [Catalyst Magazine writer].

Amy Brunvand. [Poet] 15 Bytes: Utah’s Art Magazine.

Amy Brunvand, Goodreads (like all librarians, I judge other people by what they have on their bookshelves)

Meet Amy Brunvand, Candidate for Coordinator Elect of SustainRT! (4/5/2016) SustainRT Blog.  

Amy Brunvand holds a cookie shaped like the logo of Utah Diné Bikéyah,  a Native American-led grassroots organization working to protect Bears Ears National Monument.


Meet Margaret Woodruff, Candidate for Member-at-Large (One Year Term) of SustainRT!

Wendell Berry says that “husbandry is … the art of keeping tied all the strands in the living network that sustains us.”

One of the very best things about living in Vermont is the living thing. From spring’s first green gracing the fields to the touch of frost on the trees, our landscape informs our lives.  I am fortunate to enfold this love of landscape into my work and seek to do this in as many ways as possible.  For me, maintaining “the strands in the living network” involves a focus on local, community-based and resilient programs and practices.

Since I became the director here 5 years ago, we’ve added compost bins to our kitchen, a Transition Town garden to our town green and many programs on creating and maintaining sustainability in our community. In addition to the pantry garden we plan, tend and harvest each year, these programs include presentations on Slow Money, sustainable landscaping, net zero home energy, and local eating as well as the establishment of a local seed library.  The newest and most ambitious project for which the library is a partner is a storm water education and mediation program called “Ahead of the Storm,” demonstrating the use of rain barrels and development of a rain garden.  All of these efforts spring from the library staff and library board’s belief in and support of sustainability.

Therefore, it was with great delight and anticipation that I attended “Sustainable Thinking,” the Master Series Talk by Rebekkah Smith Aldrich at ALA Midwinter 2016.  Her mission to make libraries the heart of sustainable, resilient communities resonated with me personally and with everything we try to do here at the Charlotte Library.  The presentation, combined with the chance to meet up with SustainRT members, provoked my interest in applying to be a Member-at-Large for this roundtable.  I hope to carry the energy and enthusiasm we’ve built in our small Vermont library to the wider ALA community and work to make sustainability a natural and continuing focus of libraries everywhere, to act to bring those strands together.

-Margaret Woodruff, Director, Charlotte Library, Charlotte VT

Meet Tara Lingg, Candidate for Member-at-Large (One Year Term) of SustainRT!

Tara LinngK-cups and bottled water will be the death of me!

If you don’t use it, then you don’t need to recycle it. I am a bit of a cynic regarding recycling as a solution to the huge volume of trash that we (as a society) produce on a daily basis, because of the waste of valuable resources. I believe that small personal changes add to big changes in society. I try to live in a sustainable manner by reducing my own personal footprint, and by extension in my work life.

I have always been interested in sustainability issues; I’ve composted, recycled, reused, and reduced, long before these terms hit the mainstream lexicon. In one of my previous lives (don’t we all have a few!) I was on my way towards a graduate Certification in Waste Management from Stony Brook University. I have seen landfills, sewage treatment plants, and recycling plants up close.

Another “life” got in the way, and I moved on to a job as an electrical estimator, where I learned about building construction and LEEDS certification. During the 90s, when libraries were experiencing a renovation and building boom, I became the “library expert” for my company and got to visit libraries all over Long Island, and worked on a number of library building projects.

This led to my current career as a children’s librarian, where I am in a position to inform and educate our patrons on everything and anything. I want to be able to provide information that is socially equitable, economically feasible, and environmentally sound. Even though libraries are known for good stewardship of resources, I am shocked by the waste of resources that happens on a daily basis, whether it is the half empty bottles of water or piles of empty K cups, that get thrown out; and in the children’s department, lots and lots of cheap plastic crap that is basically landfill material. If these little day to day things that we do as libraries do not engender a sustainable, resilient, and regenerative environment, then even a Gold LEED Building Certification will be of no value to a community.

I am a full-time children’s librarian at Half Hollow Hills Community Library and I also work part time at Mastics Moriches Shirley Community Library. Most of my programs are run using primarily recycled or reused materials, and I am always looking for new ways to incorporate greener practices into our daily work.

After Super Storm Sandy, I saw first hand the power of a resilient library community, MMS was a haven for the people that lost so much due to the storm,(

After the storm I was so proud to be part of American libraries (so many do amazing work!) and I am running for the member at large position to work to inform and educate our staff on the ways provide library services in a sustainable manner to our patrons.

Meet Jodi Shaw, Candidate for Coordinator Elect of SustainRT!

Jodi ShawBiography: Jodi Shaw

I am a children’s librarian at the Carroll Gardens branch of Brooklyn Public Library. Most of my job duties consist of planning, promoting and executing high-quality programming for youth ages 0-13. I also do a lot of school outreach, reader’s advisory and reference services. I am constantly expanding my knowledge of children’s literature and learning something new and amazing every day. I am deeply passionate about public service, public space, organizational culture, sustainable community, leadership development and personal growth. I am an avid urban cyclist, storyteller, songwriter, poet, meditator and mother of twin boys.

I am also currently running for the position of coordinator-elect of the SustainRT, so please log into your ALA voting page and vote!

 Why am I a Member of the Sustainability Round Table?

Things are looking pretty good for me.

I have hot, running, clean water –on demand.

At one of the many grocery stores within a few miles of my home, I can find any kind of of food I could possibly want, including fresh year-round produce and an endless supply of plastic bags to carry it all home in.

I have a safe place to sleep at night. I have heat in the winter, cooling in the summer, a stove to cook on and a refrigerator to keep my food from spoiling. I have easy access to quality education and health care for myself and my children. Amazing!

And there’s more: roads, bridges, post offices, internet access, a sewage and waste disposal system, police protection, all the media and entertainment I could ever hope for, libraries . . .  In other words, I have an infrastructure that supports a comfortable lifestyle in a nation that has a stable government (without which none of the above would be likely).

Am I living in paradise or what?

No, actually, I live in one of the most expensive cities in the country (NYC) and make what some in my community would call a “modest” salary of just under $50k per year. But all my basic needs are met, and then some. This is my definition of “wealth.”

In fact, on a global level, I am the 1%.

That is why I find efforts to digitize more stuff, give every child an iPad, or build a space station on Mars uninteresting. I am more interested in questions like “How can I and others in my community sustain this lifestyle we have, and how can we enable others to obtain and sustain such a lifestyle?”

As a mother and human being sharing a tiny planet with billions of other human beings, all of whom –more or less- have the same basic needs that I do, questions like this concern me on a deep level.

I realize that some –maybe even a majority- of my wealth comes at the expense of others, and I wonder: is my lifestyle possible without denying others their basic needs?

I know I could live with less. I don’t *require* hot running water 24 hours per day; I don’t need to eat strawberries in the middle of winter; and I would be content with only two brands of cereal to choose from. I could (and do!) bring my own bags to the grocery store. I could go without 300 cable channels. I could ride my bike more and drive my car less (or not at all). I could turn the heat down in the winter and wear more sweaters. Even if I did all these things, I would still be extremely wealthy compared to a majority of people on the planet. But much of my wealth would still come at the expense of others, because while the circumstances leading to my wealth (and much of the poverty in the world) are complicated, I believe much of it is due to the (increasing) centralization of resources. So, while living with less is probably a requirement for sustainability, it is not the only answer.

Climate change is forcing us to confront things like increasing geo-political instability, rapidly declining access to clean water, safe and healthy food, health care, quality education, increasing numbers of political and eco-refugees, and a general decline in the quality of our physical infrastructure, further complicating our ability to access centralized resources. It is clear that centralization of resources -energy, food, political power, jobs, and information- is an unsustainable model for survival, let alone wealth.

I am not the first to suggest that de-centralization of resources is a prerequisite to a sustainable future. There are many local communities empowering themselves, taking themselves “off the grid” in ways that enable them to live a sustainable lifestyle that fulfills their basic needs and doesn’t exploit other human beings.

And libraries are a natural platform from which to lead such movements. Libraries are ready-made infrastructures from which people can organize, create tools, and build effective collaborations with neighboring communities to help their community make the difficult transition away from dependence upon centralized resources and on to local ones. In fact, I believe libraries are the linchpin to the sustainability movement.

According to the ALA’s 2015 State of America’s Libraries Report, “Academic, public and school libraries are … no longer just places for books, libraries of all types are viewed as anchors, centers for academic life and research and cherished spaces.”1

In The Guardian, Larra Clark suggests we must “move from a historical idea of libraries as merely physical repositories to seeing them as an opportunity for proactive community engagement.”2

As public property, libraries can also leverage their physical space for a brighter future. One example: library as farm. Brooklyn Public Library has sixty branches in its system. That’s sixty rooftops of farmland, sixty rooftops of food for the community and sixty “classrooms” from which to teach the next generation how to provide for themselves. The added benefit of cooling in the summer and insulating in the winter make rooftop farms a no-brainer. Or . . . those same sixty rooftops might be used for solar power – enough to supply the entire Brooklyn library system and get creative with their physical space.

To sum up, I believe:

  • A sustainable future is only possible through local organized community efforts.
  • Libraries are the most effective platforms from which to organize and lead such movements.
  • My role as a librarian goes well beyond collection development and programming and into the realm of community organizing.

And that is why I am a member of the ALA Sustainability Round Table.

I would love to hear your reactions to this post. I welcome all viewpoints and encourage an open discussion of how we can leverage ourselves and our libraries to meet the very real demand of a sustainable future for our communities.

1 2015 State of America’s Libraries: A Report from the American Library Association,” Public Library Use: ALA Library Fact Sheet, American Library Association, accessed April 2, 2016.

2 Clark, Larra. “How US Libraries are Becoming Community Problem Solvers,” The Guardian, March 26, 2014.

Meet Mary Beth Lock, Candidate for Member-at-Large (Two Year Term) of SustainRT!


My name is Mary Beth Lock and I am running for Member-at-Large for SustainRT. I’d like to introduce myself so you can be better informed as you decide who will be your representatives on the round table.  I’ve been a proponent of sustainability initiatives since before I received my Environmental Science degree in 1991. Through my passion for recycling, (and a great deal of grit and determination) I initiated a paper recycling program in the Wayne State University Library system in 1990.  In addition, I’ve worked in the public sector as a recycling education coordinator.  As my career has advanced, and my influence in libraries has increased, my efforts lately have moved to sustainable purchases in the library and minimizing waste production.   I have chosen to work in libraries because I recognize that the very foundation of sharing limited resources for all the public is sustainability in practice. A library’s goals align with my own.

As your Member-at-Large I hope to enrich SustainRT’s influence in ALA. I will encourage our ability to be a clearinghouse of information to the libraries we serve. Creative librarians are developing answers entrenched problems every day.  I hope that by sharing good ideas widely, our impact to the profession will increase, and our environment will be the better for it. I hope that we can join together to bring about a more sustainable future.

Thanks for your interest!