Getting Unstuck So You Can "Get Sustainability Done"

By David Seldon

I am a seasoned librarian but a relatively new member of ALA and the Sustainability Round Table (SustainRT). In fact, the joining the SustainRT was the main reason I joined ALA. The size of the Association and large number of active, intelligent, and motivated members of SustainRT is impressive. Joining the Round Table made me feel immediately welcome and empowered. I jumped right in and joined the Governance Committee and started work on important projects like ALA endowment divestment from fossil fuels and participating in adding sustainability to ALA’s core values – rubbing elbows with Rebekkah Smith Aldrich, Uta Hussong-Christian and other remarkable librarians. Wow!

It didn’t take long for me to learn about the wide range of expertise on sustainability issues within SustainRT. As the former chair of American Association of Law Libraries (AALL) Standing Committee on Environmental Sustainability, I had felt fairly isolated when working on sustainability issues. But that feeling of isolation changed when I joined ALA and the SustainRT. There are so many ways to become active and to learn from my new colleagues and to make a difference for the environment and our health, safety and well-being.

Besides working on big issues within ALA, I think the biggest value of being a member of the SustainRT is having access to all of the knowledge and support of the collective group. Often times we get stuck when trying to implement positive change within our own organizations. We might struggle with how to go about getting an energy/eco audit of our buildings to develop a baseline on energy use and greenhouse gases, or we may have difficulty deciding how to talk with management about starting an organization-wide “green committee.” The Round Table forum, webinar events, conference programs and the developing mentorship program are available to us to help us learn from each other to get unstuck and “get sustainability done.” We are here to help each other so don’t hesitate to ask for help, join a committee, participate in a webinar or conference program or just lurk on the forum.

David Selden is a member of the SustainRT Governance Committee and was a panel speaker for the “Carbon Offsets for Sustainability: Why, Where , How,” presented Sunday, June 23, 2019 at ALA Annual.