The New York Library Association Sustainability Initiative (NYLA-SI) today announced that two public libraries in the state have been awarded SUSTAINABLE LIBRARY CERTIFICATION. Hendrick Hudson Free Library (HHFL) in Montrose and Saratoga Springs Public Library (SSPL) participated in a rigorous benchmarking process that examined the many facets of doing business including facilities management, policy making and purchasing. Using the Triple Bottom Line definition of sustainability which states that for an organization to be truly sustainable, it must embody practices that are environmentally sound AND economically feasible AND socially equitable
The first phase of the Sustainable Library Certification is done in conjunction with the Green Business Partnership of Westchester County and highlights the environmental impacts of the institution. HHFL and SSPL made a deep investigation into energy consumption, waste management, purchasing practices, staff commuting, and water use. By tracking each of these areas, the libraries were able to alter internal practices to reduce the organization’s impact on the environment. Thirty-seven other public libraries around the state currently engaged with this phase of the certification program.
Phase two incorporates the remaining two-thirds of the Triple Bottom Line definition: social equity and economic feasibility. The benchmarks related to these concepts were developed by the NYLA-SI over the course of three years, and outline required and voluntary actions the organization can take in the areas of policy making, programming, community involvement, access and collection development.
By working through the benchmarks related to environmental practice, policy decisions, financial choices and equitable social access, these libraries have proven they are truly positioned to be leaders in their sustainable, resilient, and regenerative communities.
Jill Davis, library director of HHFL said, “Being part of the Sustainable Library Certification Program allowed and continues to allow the HHFL to use our place as a community leader to make a difference and become part of the larger conversation. Once we realized that we could make changes that make a difference we wanted to let everyone know it. We continue to find ways to be sustainable economically, socially and environmentally and then find fun ways to let the public know they can do it too.”
SSPL library director Issac Pulver said, “We strive to provide programs and services that reach everyone in our community, and that have enduring social and educational impact. In order to help make sure that we serve that mission while minimizing our environmental impact, we committed to examining our operations and affirming that we’re making the best possible use of our resources as part of an overall sustainability initiative.”
For more information about the Sustainable Library Certification Program, go to www.nyla.org/sustainability.