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Karen Kiorpes and Ann Kearney led a discussion on sustainability. Then Bridget Collins gave a brief presentation on sustainability efforts at the University at Albany. We finished with Questions and Answers.
From the American Library Association's web site: The basic definition of "sustainable" is the use and stewardship of resources today that preserves them for tomorrow.
- Funding - making sure money is directed to sustainability efforts.
- Time - Research is involved.
- Being proactive - A fair bit of time and effort is needed to make a sustainability plan
How to get started
- Begin with small, simple changes, such as reducing heat. NEDCC's leaflet on climate control lists several improvements that may be easy to implement.
- Advertise the steps you are taking to colleagues, administrators, the public to raise awareness and gain more momentum.
Bridget Collins presentation
- Works at Dewey Library, the smallest and oldest library at UAlbany. Is the sustainability coordinator for the downtown campus and keeps in mind that the most sustainable building is the one that is already built. LIke Dewey Library!
- UAlbany has sustainability goals that line up with those of the UN
- Have aspirational goals for 2030, such as reducing carbon emissions by at least 10%
- Libraries make up a big part of a campus footprint - long hours, run HVAC 24/7
- Over Winter Intercession only have one of the campus libraries open. This can cause problems for library staff that work on campus, so need to think about how you will approach this.
- Putting signs near trash and recycling receptacles identifying which items end up in the landfill does reduce trash.
- Looking at how other areas of the library work relates to sustainability
- Collection Development, especially as it relates to ecological literacy
- Creating a LibGuide on funding opportunities for sustainability efforts
- Supporting equal access. Sharing research as much as possible through tools like Open Educational Resources
Question and Answer
- Renovations and new builds can be a good time to look at the issue.
- Choosing flooring can be difficult. Often it isn't the flooring itself that is problematic, but the adhesive used to install the flooring. Some adhesives off gas chemicals that are bad for collections.
- Many campuses turn down the heat over winter break, but problematic for people and collections.
- Cooler building temperatures in winter will raise humidity. This can alleviate the problem of winter dryness, especially in certain substances like laminate, but too much humidity is problematic. If heat reduced to 55 degrees F, buildings more likely to hit dew point and get condensation.
- UAlbany assigned people to walk their building hourly during shutdowns to look for leaks, broken pipes, condensation.
- Paper material in boxes and file cabinets are fairly well protected from damage due to fluctuating temperatures. If your collection contains more delicate items like paintings, it is preferable to bring the temperature up and down slowly.
- DHPSNY currently offers Foundational Planning Assistance for small cultural organizations that hold historical records and don't know where to begin in terms of organizing, preserving, and making them available to the public. This is a rolling grant that is open through summer 2022 on a first-come, first-served basis.
Sustainability and Libraries
LibGuide created by the American Library Association.
Environment & Culture Partners
A non-profit founded in 2021 to strengthen and broaden the environmental leadership of the cultural sector.
Low Cost/No Cost Tips for Sustainability in Cultural Heritage
2021 publication by Lorraine Finch, a UK based conservator. Published on the website of the company she founded, LFCP.
International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions
Search using the terms “Sustainability AND Climate” for documents relating to IFLA
efforts in this arena.
Sustainable Scholarship: Libraries Collection as a Service
Blog post by Simon Neame, Denise Pan, and Corey Murata of University of Washington Libraries: November 19, 2021.
Low Cost/No Cost Improvements in Climate Control
Preservation Leaflet by the Northeast Document Conservation Center.
Libraries and Open Ecosystems
OCLC's Global Council's 2022 Area of Focus is Libraries and Open Ecosystems. They are sponsoring a three-part webinar series on the topic, February - April 2022.
Preventive Conservation and the Role of the Environment
Webinar presented by the Image Permanence Institute at Rochester Institute of Technology, February 11, 2021.
STiCH (Sustainability Tools in Cultural Heritage)
Sustainability Tools in Cultural Heritage (STiCH) is a life cycle assessment (LCA) Carbon Calculator and Library of Case Studies and Information Sheets developed to help cultural heritage professionals make educated, sustainable choices to lower the environmental impact of their work.
Sustainable Preservation: Quick Tips and Approaches for Museums, Libraries and Archives
Webinar presented by the Image Permanence Institute at Rochester Institute of Technology, May 12, 2021.
University at Albany Sustainability and Climate Action Plan
Our World: Our Future The Climate Action and Sustainability Plan for the University at Albany. The University at Albany Sustainability Plan was adopted on April 22 2020.
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