ALA adding sustainability as a core value of librarianship

For Immediate Release
Tue, 05/14/2019


Communications and Marketing Office

ALA Media Relations


CHICAGO – Libraries play an important and unique role in promoting community awareness about resilience, climate change and a sustainable future. They are also leading by example by taking steps to reduce their environmental footprint.

Now the American Library Association (ALA) is supporting the library community by showing its commitment to assisting in the development of sustainable libraries with the addition of sustainability as a core value of librarianship.  

At the 2019 Midwinter Meeting in Seattle, the ALA Council, in adopting the strategic direction of sustainability, made a commitment to the “triple bottom line” framework for sustainability recommended by the ALA Special Task Force on Sustainability. This tripod consists of practices that are environmentally sound, economically feasible and socially equitable. The council also responded to a 2018 membership survey indicating that two-thirds of ALA members felt the association needed to provide leadership in the area of sustainability.

In working to ensure that library professionals have access to resources needed to adopt sustainability practices within their institutions, ALA intends to explore collaborations with such institutions as the New York Library Association to nationally offer a Sustainable Library Certification Program. Library professionals will now have access to professional development opportunities including books, grants and library school curriculum.  

“This is a pivotal time for libraries and the communities we serve,” said ALA President Loida Garcia-Febo. “Libraries are helping to better the education and the lifelong learning of the communities they serve. By adding sustainability to its core values, ALA is recognizing that libraries of all types can act as catalysts and inspire future generations to reach solutions that are not only sensible but essential to sustaining life on this planet.”

In adopting sustainable as a core value of librarianship, ALA recognizes the findings in the latest report of the United National Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The report, written and edited by 91 scientists from 40 countries who analyzed more than 6,000 scientific studies in October, 2018, found that the immediate consequences of climate change are far more dire than originally predicted, calling for a transformation of the world economy at a speed and scale that has  “no documented historic precedent.”

The American Library Association (ALA) is the foremost national organization providing resources to inspire library and information professionals to transform their communities through essential programs and services. For more than 140 years, the ALA has been the trusted voice for academic, public, school, government and special libraries, advocating for the profession and the library’s role in enhancing learning and ensuring access to information for all. For more information, visit