(Rebekka Smith Aldrich-MidHudson Libraries, NY)
On Sunday, SustainRT had an “unconference” style session in which the president of ALA, Jim Neal wanted us to gather the thoughts of our roundtable on the question “how can ALA support libraries undergoing crisis due to climate change.” Since so many libraries have been negatively impacted from weather events, (ex: flood, fire, hurricane, mudslides) this topic is timely. Our session generated a number of fruitful ideas that we will bring forward to Jim Neal. One idea was to create a series like the Scholarly Communications Roadshow that can go to various libraries and identify their own climate change danger index, and ways to mitigate and prepare for what might result. (We’d call ourselves the Climate Avengers.)
On Monday the session I led for SustainRT was a part of the “Symposium on the Future of Libraries” series. This “conference within a conference” runs throughout the larger ALA conference and highlights those sessions that are most future focused. Our presentation “Sustainable Solutions for Libraries and Communities” included four presenters who told about their efforts at infusing sustainable principles in libraries. All very different takes on the very central to the tenets of Sustainability. Joe Mochnik discussed promoting solar panels on a campus in North Dakota, Amy Brunvand discussed ways to incorporate sustainable principles in a civics curriculum, Rebekkah Smith Aldrich discussed a “Sustainable Library Certificate Program” in New York state, and Ben Rawlins presented on increasing adoption of OER (Online Educational Resources) on SUNY Geneseo. A day after we came back from ALA, ACRL announced the recipients of the ACRL Excellence in Academic Libraries award, and the Milne Library at SUNY Geneseo won for Academic Library of the Year at the College Level for their OER work!
During my weekend in Denver, I attended sessions on diversity and inclusion, and spent time at the Wanda Brown for ALA president table. I also walked the exhibit floor and found a beautiful new gate for our new entrance, a way to provide for even more flexible delivery of electricity, and picked up many books and pens. It was a busy conference, topped off with a closing keynote from Bill Nye who was delightful and discussed his new children’s book series, Jack and the Geniuses. My tweets tell a little about what he discussed. My favorite quotes: “Being anti-science isn’t sustainable.” and “Prepare for 2020, but don’t forget about 2018!”