Hands grasping a treee alongside the word "Events"

(SustainRT committee members, please use our outreach request form to request event promotion)

Upcoming Events

Practical Applications of the UN Sustainable Development Goals at your Library
May 6, 2024
11am - 12pm CT

Hazel Onsrud, an adult services librarian for the Curtis Memorial Library in Brunswick, Maine, and an Advisory Board member for the Sustainable Libraries Initiative will share her experiences hosting hundreds of sustainability-focused library programs and contributing to her library's collection development efforts in alignment with the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Hazel will go over how cultivating a Library of Things and running programs with community partners helps them collectively address local needs with a variety of literacies (for example, growing literacy, civic literacy and more). You'll learn how to start your own library of things, where helpful resources are located (like a LoT Mutual Aid group) and strategies to connect with community partners for practical sustainability programming in your region (even if you never mention the word sustainability).
Register for the event here.

Recent Meetings

SustainRT Virtual Membership Meeting
June 15, 2023, 1 pm EST
Learn what SustainRT has been up to, how to get involved, ask questions, and meet other SustainRT members!
Recording and Slides

SustainRT Membership Meeting at ALA Annual
June 25, 2023, 2:30 pm CST
Membership meeting will be at McCormick Place, room W181c.
Learn what SustainRT has been up to, how to get involved, ask questions, and meet other SustainRT members!

Recent Webinars

Climate Resilience 101
April 7, 2023
12:00 PM Central

Description: This webinar with Sami Aaron of The Resilient Activist will offer an overview of “Climate Anxiety” and “Climate Resilience,” exploring the growing emotional crisis arising from the fear, depression, and existential dread that more and more people are experiencing over climate change and its interconnected social justice impacts.
Topics will include:

  • Definitions, new terms, and an understanding of the mental health impacts
  • An understanding of how climate change affects various communities and age groups differently
  • A list of resources, research, and reading materials that provide mental health and resilience support related to the climate crisis.

You’ll also have an opportunity to inform the focus areas of an in-person event (June 26) at ALA Annual.

You can register and share any questions or concerns here.

Webinar recording available

Topic: Creating space and advocating for sustainability at your library
Feb 2, 2023
2:00 PM Eastern
Register in advance for this webinar:

Description: Are you concerned that your library is not focused on sustainability? Does it seem like you're the only person in the building who tries to implement sustainable practices? Do you want to get your colleagues on board with sustainability? Join us for this webinar, where we will explore ways to talk about how to encourage your colleagues to adopt sustainable practices as part of their everyday routine, and ways to encourage your library's management to adopt sustainable practices as the norm at every level!

Topic: An Introduction to Charity Elections
Nov 18, 2022
12:00 PM Central Time (US and Canada)
Speaker: Adam Steinberg, Communications Lead, Charity Elections Program)
Register in advance for this webinar:
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar

Description: The nonprofit organization Charity Elections offers a one-week educational program in "experiential altruism" to secondary students in which high school students vote among three charities to decide which will receive up to $2,000 in sponsored funds. The program was designed to inspire meaningful discussions and reflection around complex world issues and empower young people to realize their potential to make a difference in the world. The event also provides an authentic early experience with civic engagement and fosters compassion and social & emotional learning (SEL) skills. As part of the program, student ballots direct real funds to high-impact charities that address environmental and social justice causes. Since participating schools are granted up to $2,000 by the international charity Giving What We Can, the cost to the school is negligible, and it's been designed to require minimal preparation by teachers, librarians and/or media specialists. The program potentially involves the entire student body and gives leadership opportunities to the most engaged students. We hope you'll enjoy this overview of the program and discussion of its capabilities, and that yours will be one of the 20+ schools sponsored in 2022-23.

Virtual Membership Meetings

all are welcome/not just current members

Past ALA Conferences/Meetings

SustainRT Programming for ALA Annual 2022

(NOTE: search the conference scheduler with “SustainRT” for the most complete program info)

Thursday, June 16, 2022

  • (pre-conference) SustainRT Virtual Membership Meeting (meeting link)

1:00 - 2:00 PM Eastern Time

Friday, June 24, 2022

  • SustainRT Tour of DC Public Library Southwest Branch

2:45 - 3:45 PM Eastern Time

Meet at Southwest Branch (tour signup)

Saturday, June 25, 2022

  • SustainRT Tour of DC Public Library MLK Jr Branch

11:00 AM - noon Eastern Time

Meet at MLK Jr. Branch (tour signup)

2:30 - 3:30 PM Eastern Time

Room: Washington Convention Center 103B

Sunday, June 26, 2022

  • SustainRT Chair’s Session: Sustainability Hubs in Practice: How libraries can develop dynamic spaces and services to help foster an action-based sustainability culture in their communities (Jennifer K Embree)

8:30 - 10:00 AM Eastern Time

Room: Washington Convention Center 145B

  • SustainRT Discussion Session: Addressing social equity requires that we build and use cultural competency skills and practice cultural humility in order to effectively interact with the diverse members of our communities (Kellee Forkenbrock, Monique Oldfield, Loriene Roy, )

2:30 - 3:30 PM Eastern Time

Room: Washington Convention Center 103B

ALA LibLearnX 2022

ALA Annual 2021

ALA Annual 2019

  • Preconference (free but SOLDOUT) - June 22, 2019 (1pm-5pm) Climate Change Conversations in Libraries: Stabilizing Ourselves and Our Communities event link
  • SustainRT Member Meeting - June 22, 2019 (2:30-3:30pm), Washington Convention Center, 207A event link
  • Chair's Program - June 23, 2019 (8:30am-10am) Carbon Offsets for Sustainable Travel: Why, Where, How event link
  • SustainRT Event -June 23, 2019 (2:30pm – 3:30pm) US Botanical National Garden Tour (not in conference scheduler at this time) meet at Conservatory Entrance
    • Walk to the gardens: For those interested in walking to the garden from the convention center, meet at 1:00pm at the Starbucks (west side of lobby) in the Mt. Vernon Place convention center entrance. Entrance to the garden is free.

ALA Midwinter 2019

Saturday, January 26, 2019

SUSTAINRT: Sustainability Round Table Business and Membership Meeting

Time: 3-4pm, Location: Washington State Convention Center, Room 211

SustainRT Midwinter Social Event
Time: 7-9pm, Location: Left Bank Books

Sunday, January 27, 2019

SUSTAINRT: Introducing U.N. Sustainable Development Goals in U.S. Libraries
Time: 2:30-3:30pm, Location: Washington State Convention Center, Room 205

ALA Annual 2018

  • Business Meeting: Sunday 6/24 10:30-11:30am
  • Chairs Session: Rising Tide: Sunday 6/24 8:30-10am
  • Orientation / Lightning Rounds: Sunday 6/24 2:30-3:30pm

SustainRT ALA Midwinter 2018 Conference Schedule

  • Sunday, 2/11 @1-2:30pm - Discussion: Crisis and Community (notes highlighted are key ideas that rose to the top)

ALA Annual 2017

ALA Midwinter 2017

  • SustainRT Meeting - Saturday 1/21/17, 1:00-2:30pm
  • Presentation: The Future of Libraires with Mary Beth Lock and Rebekkah Smith Aldrich 1/22/17, 10:30-11:30am

ALA Annual Conference (Orlando) 2016

Meet ups: “Sustainable Thinking,” presentation by Matthew Bollerman and Rebekkah Smith Aldrich; annual business meeting, “SustainRT: Libraries Fostering Resilient Communities," SustainRT and the ALA Social Responsibilities Round Table members during a joint social; “Planting the Seeds: Libraries and Librarians as Change Agents for Sustainability within Their Communities” lightning rounds; “The National Library of Aruba: Promoting, Enhancing and Embracing Green Education” More here: and read articles in American Libraries about some of these sessions and a summary of #sustainRT tweets

ALA Midwinter 2016 Meet-Ups:
SustainRT’s midwinter meetings were brimming with good ideas and fruitful connections. Our board meeting was well attended with many new faces at the table (See Connect for meeting minutes). At our social event with ProjectARCC we shared our stories of what motivates us to be engaged with sustainability in our professions. FYI: SustainRT is now under the umbrella of ALA’s Office of Diversity, Literacy and Outreach which supports the inclusion of diverse perspectives within our profession and association.

Sustainability Round Table Annual Meeting June 2014 "Think Pair Share Exercise"

Past Webinars, Tweet-ups & Events

"Universities & Municipalities: Working Together for Sustainable & Just Futures"

May 19, 2022
2:30pm Eastern/11:30am Pacific
Webinar recording available

Colleen Murphy-Dunning is the Program Director at the Urban Resources Initiative (URI), a not-for-profit university partnership based at the Hixon Center for Urban Ecology, and a Lecturer in Urban and Community Forestry at the Yale School of the Environment.
Faculty, staff and students can significantly contribute to local environmental conditions. The Urban Resources Initiative (URI) at the Yale School of the Environment has worked in close partnership with the City of New Haven and New Haven residents to address local environmental concerns that they have identified. Colleen will describe some of URI’s projects to address community-led environmental priorities and offer Yale students valuable learning opportunities.

The webinar will be recorded and made available after the event.

“Communicating Sustainability in a Changing Climate: Challenges and Strategies”

February 24, 2022

9:00AM Pacific/12:00PM Eastern

Webinar recording available

Dr. Jennifer Carmen, Postdoctoral Associate at Yale Program on Climate Change Communication, will focus on the intersection of sustainability and climate change. She will discuss how climate change adds to new challenges to achieving sustainability, and how action on climate change can support sustainability goals.

Dr. Carmen's research interest is in how individuals and households can support personal well-being, without harming social and environmental systems, during times of environmental change and stress. Her past projects include research on climate change education in middle school, and research with Detroit community-based organizations on how to support human health during heat events.

The webinar will be recorded and made available after the event.

“Sustainability, Does It Need to Be Certified?”

November 4th, 2021

12:00-12:30 PM Eastern

Webinar recording available

Lisa Jacobs, director of the Longwood Public Library, which has recently been certified by the Sustainable Libraries Initiative, will discuss the steps that Longwood PL instituted even before they signed up for the Sustainable Libraries Initiative:

“Carbon Neutral Event Planning and the Role of Carbon Offsets”

October 13th, 2021

1:00-1:30 Eastern

Webinar recording available

Webinar: June 22, 2021, Cultivating Sustainable Community in an Academic Library (9 Eastern, 10 Central, 11am Mountain, noon Pacific)

The University of Denver Libraries Sustainability Committee is committed to working toward a more just and sustainable future. We have focused our efforts on educational outreach, modeling sustainability best practices, and building community within the library, as well as with the greater campus community, and often in partnership with the Center for Sustainability. In this presentation, we’ll discuss some of our successful initiatives, such as Zero Waste Finals, and outline some of the challenges we’ve encountered and lessons learned, especially as we have adapted our work during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Webinar: Thursday, April 22, 2021 Inspiring Growth: Developing and Implementing a Native Seed Library

  • The recently opened Maricopa Native Seed Library has tapped into an important unmet need in the community. Our county does not have good local native seed sources and plants available, which has resulted in a lack of quality habitat in home landscapes. This habitat is needed now more than ever with increasing threats to our wildlands. This presentation will discuss the context and purpose of the seed library, how it has been implemented, and how you can implement one at your library.
  • Registration form:
  • Hosted by ALA Sustainability Roundtable Online Education Committee

SustainRT Mentorship Meetup Jan 26, 2021

Play button - Conversation with SustainRT StudentsWebinar: Thursday, September 24, 2020 Blue Marble Evaluation for a More Equitable and Sustainable Future

Presenter: Michael Quinn Patton: leading expert in evaluation, Blue Marble Evaluation book author

Hosted by ALA Sustainability Roundtable Online Education Committee

SustainRT Social Hour Tuesday, June 23rd

Play button - Conversation with SustainRT StudentsVirtual Conversation: December 9, 2019 New Mentorship Program

Presenters: SustainRT's Membership Committee

Anecdotes, tips, and insights from mentors and mentees in the program. Maybe you have something to share too? Or consider being in a dyad for our next round

Webinar: Wednesday, October 2, 2019 Growing Communities Together

Presenters: Kathy McKay, Pete Villasenor, Meg Wilson, Carrie Banks

Curious about the green things outside the library's windows? Or are you craving green things outside the library's windows? Find out more about how libraries are are embracing gardens. Are you interested in LEED certification or just making your library more sustainable? Does your local food pantry need fresh produce? Are the children in the children's room getting antsy? Are your teens bored? Does your ESL class need a focus? Do your students need a break? Or a hands-on science activity? Gardens are the answer. Learn from model programs around the country. Hear from Peter Villasenor, Branch Manager at Oakland Public Library's Cesar Chavez Branch, about their bilingual seed library and container garden. Explore the National Library of Medicine's healing garden with the Master Gardener who tends it. Discover the 17 indoor gardens of the Gwinnett County Public Library, you will be amazed by their harvests. Take home your very own seeds to get you started on your own garden. Remember when you have a library and a garden, you have everything you need!

Webinar: Thursday, March 28, 2019 Working Toward Sustainability: Libraries at Advocacy Organizations

Joy McNally, Research Support Coordinator at the Union of Concerned Scientists, will share about the work of the Union of Concerned Scientists and how the 4-year old Research Support department supports the organization's mission of advocating for policies that promote a healthy environment and a safer world. Joy was hired to lead a new program supporting the research staff at UCS in 2014. She is the past-president of the New England chapter of the Special Libraries Association. Prior to arriving at UCS, Joy spent almost 10 years working at a corporate R&D library with a focus on loss prevention engineering.

Virtual Conversation: Friday, March 22, 2019 SustainRT Virtual Conversation with LIS Students

Play button - Conversation with SustainRT StudentsWebinar: Monday March 4, 2019 Practicing Presence: A Mindfulness Experience Inspired by Bob Doppelt's Work

Learning to stay present as our climate continues to change is a key precursor to being able to take effective action. Dani Scott, Technology Librarian and LIS student at Simmons University, hosted a short mindfulness practice followed by a discussion on mindfulness and librarianship, sustainability, and presence.

Play button - Conversation with SustainRT StudentsWebinar: Tuesday February 26, 2019, Libraries Building Climate Disruption Resilience: For Ourselves, and Our Patrons

SustainRT Online Education Committee presents an overview of Bob Doppelt's work from his book Transformational Resilience: How Building Human Resilience to Climate Disruption Can Safeguard Society and Increase Wellbeing. Participants also share resources and brainstorm ideas for library programs around climate change/resilience, including a bit about Massachusetts libraries involvement in Climate Preparedness Week.

Media: Recording, chat transcript

Play button - Conversation with SustainRT StudentsWebinar: Thursday, November 15, “Handprint Parties: a public programming tool for librarians to help communities accelerate towards a sustainable future”

Explore how librarians at the Portsmouth Public Library (NH) have successfully collaborated with community partners to plan and implement educational programs called “Handprint Parties” that encourage positive action around a wide range of sustainability topics.

What is the concept of a “Handprint”?

The handprint of an action or a product or a service is the sum total of positive impacts we create in the process that support the health of our planetary systems. This contrasts with a “footprint”, such as a carbon footprint, which is the sum total of negative impacts caused by a process necessary to produce a product or service. You can read more about these two concepts in the following article in which Dr. Greg Norris of the Harvard Center for Health and the Global Environment discusses the issues in more detail,….

This webinar will be an experiential, action oriented presentation in which attendees are asked to interact with the presenters so come with a pad of paper and writing device. In exchange, all attendees will be offered free consultations on how to host a Handprint Party at their own institution on a passionate topic of their choosing.


Bert Cohen is retired Adjunct Faculty at the University of New Hampshire where he team taught classes in Sustainable Living and Systems Thinking for Sustainable Living. He currently chairs the mayor's Blue Ribbon Committee on Sustainability for the City of Portsmouth. Bert is a founder member of the Sustainable Alliance, an organization that is building a community of citizens who understand and use The Natural Step principles to create a sustainable future. During his sixty plus years of teaching he has been on a path of exploring how to form learning communities that support the well-being of the individual, enhance the civility within society, and respect the integrity of our environment.

Steven Butzel, Director of the Portsmouth Public Library, Portsmouth, NH. Steering Committee member of the Sustainability Alliance.

Zoom call: Thursday, June 29, 2018: Getting Real with SustainRT (notes/resource list and slides)

Play button - Conversation with SustainRT StudentsWebinar: Thursday, May 3, 2018: SustainRT: A Conversation with LIS Students

A brief history of SustainRT, some exciting initiatives, and ideas for getting involved, then a discussion about sustainability in librarianship and how to infuse our careers with sustainability values and contributions.

SustainRT Links:
Article about the history of SustainRT:
Join a SustainRT commitee!
Form to submit to the SustainRT Sustainability Database:
SustainRT student survey:

See more/less

Media: recording

Play button - Nine Reasons for Hope in a World Out of WhackWebinar: Wednesday, March 1, 2018 12:15 – 12:45 p.m. (EST): You Don’t Have to “Go Big” to Make a Difference: How Our Purchasing Choices and Daily Habits Can Build a More Sustainable Society

Sharon Rowe, CEO and Founder of Eco-Bags Products, Inc., is recognized as a thought leader in social innovation and sustainable, responsible clean supply chain production. She will share her experiences in building a profitable, mission & value aligned business while maintaining a healthy work/life balance – topics covered in her new book “The Magic of Tiny Business: You Don’t Have to Go Big to Make a Great Living”. Join us to explore how we can all learn from and support these kinds of businesses and organizations.

Media: recording

Play button - Nine Reasons for Hope in a World Out of Whack Webinar: Thursday, November 9, 2017 12:15-12:45pm (EST): Nine Reasons for Hope in a World Out of Whack

Dr. Ellen Moyer, author of the book Our Earth, Our Species, Our Selves: How to Thrive While Creating a Sustainable World, shared reasons for hope that we can solve dire environmental problems such as climate change facing our world and concrete actions we can take to help ourselves and our world at the same time, including the one most important action for getting started.

Media: recording

Play button - Transformational Resilience: How Building Human Resilience to Climate Disruption Can Safeguard Society and Increase Well-being Webinar: Thursday, June 8, 2017, 12:15-12:45pm (EDT): Transformational Resilience: How Building Human Resilience to Climate Disruption Can Safeguard Society and Increase Well-being with Bob Doppelt.

Media: recording - audio & second half only (due to technical issues), follow up Q&A

Play button - STARS and Beyond: Adventures of an embedded Librarian in the Campus Sustainability OfficeWebinar: Thursday, March 9, 2017, 12:15-12:45pm (EST) - STARS and Beyond: Adventures of an embedded Librarian in the Campus Sustainability Office with Amy Brunvand.

Media: recording, Q&A document

Play button - Committee on Environmental Sustainability under the American Association of Law LibrariesWebinar: Thursday December 1, 2016, 12:15-12:45pm (EST): David Selden, National Indian Law Library, spoke about the founding of the Committee on Environmental Sustainability under the American Association of Law Libraries. Their activities include a Conference Travel Offset Project and a Resolution on Sustainability in Law Libraries.

Media: recording, slidedeck & resources:

Play button - Planting the Seeds Libraries and Librarians as Change Agents for Sustainability within Their CommunitiesWebinar: Thursday September 15, 12:15pm-12:45pm (EDT) -Planting the Seeds Libraries and Librarians as Change Agents for Sustainability within Their Communities - a recap from ALA 2016 Conference.

Speakers included Jodi Shaw, children's librarian, Brooklyn Public Library; Madeleine Charney, sustainability studies librarian, University of Massachusetts Amherst; Mary Beth Lock, director of Access Services, Wake Forest University; and Ray Pun, first year student success librarian, California State University, Fresno -

Media: recording

Play button - Libraries and the Sacredness of CommunityWebinar: Thursday May 19, 2016, 12:15-12:45pm (EDT) - Libraries and the Sacredness of Community.

Presentation by Rachael Shea, Head of Public Services at Clark University. The webinar will explore the importance of relationship and the many ways libraries can contribute to creating sustainable communities. Rachael will describe how the "interconnectedness of things" and the interplay of exchange - give and take - is what underlies true sustainability.

Media: recording, slides

Play button - Collaborating for sustainability: community and publisher partnerships and the book to action program Webinar: Thursday, February 4, 2016, 12:15 - 12:45 pm (EST) - Collaborating for sustainability: community and publisher partnerships and the book to action program

Local community organizations and publishers can be valuable partners for libraries in creating sustainability-oriented programming. Join us on February 4 for this free SustainRT webinar to learn as Sally Thomas and Michael Weaver describe Book-to-Action programs which extend the idea of a book discussion by not only scheduling an author/speaker, but also partnering with a public service organization for a volunteer day or other community service opportunity.

Media: recording and slides - Michael and Sally

Play button - IT Energy Savings for Libraries: Identifying and Understanding Opportunities to Reduce CostsWebinar & Virtual Meeting: Thursday, December 17, 2015, 12:15pm (EST): IT Energy Savings for Libraries: Identifying and Understanding Opportunities to Reduce Costs with special guest, Mike Walker from EPA's Energy Star program

Media: recording, slides, and Q&A

Tweet-up with Project ARCC - Monday, October 19, 2015, 1:00 pm (EST), - View the Storify of the event!

ProjectARCC (Archivists Responding to Climate Change) and ALA’s SustainRT (Sustainability Roundtable) co-hosted a tweet-up to discuss how we as archivists and librarians can reduce our professional carbon footprint and implement sustainable practices in our institutions #SustainLIS and by following @projectARCC and @sustainRT on Twitter: View the #sustainlis Tweets

Play button - IT Energy Savings for Libraries: Identifying and Understanding Opportunities to Reduce CostsWebinar: Thursday October 15th, 2015, 12:15-12:45 pm (EST) - Sustainable Communities and ALA’s Center for the Future of Libraries with Miguel A. Figueroa

Media: recording

Play button - Selected sustainabilty projects from ALA 2015Webinar: Thursday, July 16th, 2015, 12:15 - 12:45 pm (EST) - Selected sustainabilty projects from ALA 2015 SustainRT Lightning Rounds, project team updates, ways you can get involved!

Media: recording