For immediate release | July 15, 2014

The path to a carbon-neutral library

CHICAGO — The first book to seriously examine the future of libraries in a climate reality-based context, “Ecology, Economy, Equity: The Path to a Carbon-Neutral Library,” published by ALA Editions, convincingly argues that building a carbon-neutral future for libraries is not only essential but eminently practical. Using the “three E’s” of sustainability (ecology, economy, equity) as a foundation, Mandy Henk traces the development of sustainability from its origins in the 1970s to the present, laying out a path librarians can take at their own institutions to begin the process of building a carbon-neutral library. Rooted in the latest science but firmly focused on concrete action, her book:

  • makes the case for sustainable libraries, tying the values that define the profession to the necessity of rethinking library operations and services in light of climate change;
  • guides readers through the first steps, with advice on starting the conversation, conducting outreach to stakeholders and forming a sustainability committee;
  • includes a Sustainability Assessment and a sample sustainability plan that libraries can tailor for use at their own institution;
  • looks at the challenges of technology and corporate power in the library, addressing the power imbalance between large corporations and libraries and suggesting alternatives to the status quo;
  • discusses how libraries can combine strong advocacy with powerful activism to propel the library world into a socially just, safely powered world;
  • offers a bibliography of additional resources.

A 2011 Library Journal Mover & Shaker and one of the early guerrilla librarians of the People’s Library at Occupy Wall Street, Henk is a graduate of Simmons College School of Library Science and currently the Access Services Librarian at DePauw University in Greencastle, Ind. She devotes her time to activism, motherhood, writing and librarianship.

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Related Links

"Ecology, Economy, Equity: The Path to a Carbon-Neutral Library"

"Public Libraries Going Green"

"Useful, Usable, Desirable: Applying User Experience Design to Your Library"


Rob Christopher

Marketing Coordinator

American Library Association

ALA Publishing