Keynote: Sustainable Thinking for the Future of Libraries

Session Description

Library leaders must mobilize to ensure libraries take an active, visible role in building sustainable and resilient communities. Our future depends on citizens who are able to work together with empathy, respect, and understanding to adapt to the many challenges facing society. In 2019, the American Library Association adopted sustainability as a core value of librarianship. We will explore the importance of infusing the new core value of sustainability into everything we do, and demonstrate how libraries that lead into the future using “sustainable thinking” fulfill our mission as libraries in new and innovative ways. “Sustainable Thinking” is a concept that aligns the core values of libraries with the “Triple Bottom Line” definition of sustainability (i.e. the intersection of economic feasibility, environmental stewardship and social equity) to inspire investment and build support for your library in the future.

Presenter(s)

Rebekkah Smith Aldrich, Executive Director, Mid-Hudson Library System (MHLS)

Rebekkah Smith Aldrich
Rebekkah Smith Aldrich, a powerful advocate for public libraries, is the executive director of the Mid-Hudson Library System (MHLS) in Hudson, New York. In addition, she is a certified sustainable building advisor (CSBA) and is a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Accredited Professional (LEED AP). Smith Aldrich holds an advanced certificate in Public Library Administration from the Palmer School of Library and Information Science at Long Island University, where she is also an adjunct professor. She is a founding member of ALA’s Sustainability Roundtable and helped to pass the ALA Resolution on the Importance of Sustainable Libraries in 2015. Smith Aldrich was named a Library Journal Mover and Shaker in 2010 and writes a sustainability column for the journal. A prolific writer, Smith Aldrich is the author of Sustainable Thinking: Ensuring Your Library’s Future in an Uncertain World. She has also contributed chapters to Better Library Design (Rowman and Littlefield) and The Green Library (Library Juice Press). Like Drabinski, Smith Aldrich has given numerous presentations and keynote addresses at venues that include IFLA, the Association of Rural and Small Libraries Conference, the US Embassy in Peru, the American Library Association Annual Conference and the New York Library Association Conference.

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