Sustainable Libraries: Resources and webinars for climate action

WebJunction and the Sustainable Libraries Initiative team up to support libraries in creating a more sustainable future

WebJunction with Sustainable Libraries Initiative /
Sustainable Libraries Initiative logo

WebJunction and the Sustainable Libraries Initiative are collaborating to offer a set of resources to support libraries as they address the greatest threat to global health and the grandest challenge of our time: climate change.

Increasingly severe weather, food scarcity caused by droughts and lack of biodiversity, intense heat, record-setting wildfires, and sunny-day flooding are all acute indicators that climate change is here and is already a deadly and costly aspect of modern life. As we seek solutions to slow the effects and manage the immediate impacts of climate change, we find the answers entwined with some of the thorniest issues of our time: economics and inequities in society.

Our ability to pull together as neighbors, to adapt to what is already happening, and to lessen the severity of climate change’s impacts on future generations all require us to think differently and to consider our decisions—whether large or small—through the lens of sustainability. Libraries of all types are perfectly positioned to help to support and lead in this work.

Sustainable Libraries Initiative triple bottom line

In 2019, the ALA Council added “sustainability” as a core value of the profession, adopting the triple bottom line definition of sustainability to ensure balanced decision making that respects environmental stewardship, social equity, and economic feasibility. Now is the moment to step up and find ways to lead by example that inspire those we serve—and those we serve with—to do the same.

This collection of resources is designed to help library practitioners by providing real-world examples of libraries successfully engaging in sustainable thinking in ways that align our profession’s core values with decisions around services, programs, governance, operations, and partnerships.

Central to this collaboration, WebJunction will host a webinar series designed to:

  • Provide you with a basic understanding of sustainability as a new core value of the profession
  • Demonstrate what climate action looks like in libraries, even in parts of the country where it may not be popular to talk about climate change
  • Offer practical advice, ideas, and examples for how your library can intentionally address climate change

“We must act with urgency in the face of climate change, there is no more time to wait,” said Rebekkah Smith Aldrich, Executive Director of the Mid-Hudson Library System and Co-Founder of the Sustainable Libraries Initiative. “Through this work with WebJunction, we want to celebrate, amplify, and grow a community of practice that is centered in hope for the future. There are libraries in almost every town, on every campus, and in every school across the globe. We are a force for good and, when we all pull in the same direction, we can effect lasting, positive change.”

Webinars in the series

Visit each listing for recordings and handouts, or to register for individual upcoming sessions. Use the Series Learner Guide (doc) together or with others, to take action on your learning.

Sustainability 101
Recording now available

Climate Action Planning (Part 1): An Introduction
Recording now available

Climate Action Planning (Part 2): Disaster Preparedness and Community Resilience
Recording now available

Climate Justice
Recording now available

Living Our Values Out Loud: Programs that Walk the Talk
Recording now available

Stronger Together: Collective Impact and Climate Action Programming
Recording now available

Distinguished Seminar Series

Sustainability—A Call to Action for the Library Community

In May 2023, as part of OCLC's Distinguished Seminar Series, Rebekkah Smith Aldrich presented on the challenges and opportunities for libraries in the face of climate change and shared how many in our field are already answering the call for leadership on sustainability.

View recording