Libraries and Sustainability: Programs and Practices for Community Impact

ALA Editions. Nov. 2021. 176p. ed. by René Tanner & others. ISBN 9780838937945. pap. $49.99. PRO MEDIA
The American Library Association made sustainability a core value in 2019. In this volume, current and former members of its Sustainability Round Table have edited a book to show how library professionals and stakeholders are working to realize this vital aspect of community service. In the introduction, Rebekkah Smith Aldrich (sustainability columnist for Library Journal) defines the triple goals of environmental stewardship, economic responsibility, and equity inherent in creating sustainable libraries that serve as resources for local and global communities. A common theme of the essays is the necessity for librarians to expand the focus of their work to encompass a wider engagement with local issues, resources, and potential partners. Standout chapters discuss challenging environmental racism, using repair events to counter disposable culture, and employing the permaculture framework to look for sustainable solutions to everyday waste. Particularly noteworthy is the final chapter, which urges library professionals to use the doughnut economy model to prioritize the goal of libraries as community leaders. Other chapters include case studies of sustainable programming and renovations undertaken by specific libraries. Some chapters suffer from a lack of case studies that might have better illustrated some principles.
VERDICT This is an important work that should inspire library professionals.
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