Julia Alvarez Photo: Bill Eichner

Newsmaker: Julia Alvarez

May 1, 2020

What drove you to write this novel? Why now? Afterlife comes out of a feeling that it’s an elegiac time for our planet, as we watch so many species become extinct, ecosystems in danger, forests burning. It feels like a time of many endings. In our national life—our uncivil society, the divisions, the draconian immigration … Continue reading Newsmaker: Julia Alvarez


Sustainability in Libraries by By Terence O’Neill, Stephanie C. Perentesis, and Eric Tans

Paint It Green

April 30, 2020

To mark the 50th anniversary of Earth Day—and recognize the American Library Association adding sustainability as a core value—American Libraries returns with its ongoing sustainability series. In these posts, information professionals share their experiences with sustainability in libraries. The Sustainability Canvas is adapted from the Business Model Canvas (BMC), the one-sheet graphic organizer found in Alexander Osterwalder … Continue reading Paint It Green


Sustainability in Libraries: Lisa G. Kropp

Enduring, Disrupting, and Thriving

April 28, 2020

To mark the 50th anniversary of Earth Day—and recognize the American Library Association adding sustainability as a core value—American Libraries returns with its ongoing sustainability series. In these posts, information professionals share their experiences with sustainability in libraries. Although I wrote that sentence in March 2020, in the midst of a global pandemic, that is … Continue reading Enduring, Disrupting, and Thriving


Solar panels on the roof of McMillan Memorial Library in Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin. Photo: McMillan Memorial Library in Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin

By the Numbers: Libraries and Sustainability

March 2, 2020

Earth Day will be observed April 22. 1 Year ago the American Library Association (ALA) added sustainability as a core value of librarianship. At the 2019 Midwinter Meeting in Seattle, ALA Council committed to the triple bottom-line framework for sustainability: practices that are environmentally sound, economically feasible, and socially equitable. 50 Number of years Earth … Continue reading By the Numbers: Libraries and Sustainability


Youth Matters, by Larissa Clotildes

Waste Not, Want Not

March 2, 2020

I am not denying the educational value of crafts. They stimulate creativity, develop fine motor skills, and engage multiple senses in a learning experience. But I challenge myself to find activities that do not produce single-use waste, without sacrificing everything that makes crafts so great. I use the five Rs as my baseline: Refuse. Reject … Continue reading Waste Not, Want Not


Graphic: On My Mind with Kayla Kuni

What Does Green Mean?

March 2, 2020

Sustainability initiatives often focus primarily on environmentalism, that is, the importance of reducing the footprint we leave on our physical spaces and habitats in order to preserve them over time. Social and financial measures are just as important to the longevity of our work, and by incorporating these principles into our programming, we can help … Continue reading What Does Green Mean?


Debbie Harry (Photo: Scott Sherratt)

Newsmaker: Debbie Harry

November 21, 2019

American Libraries spoke with her about music, art, libraries, and how climate activism is the new punk. Your life and image have been heavily documented already. Was it difficult to separate your memory of things from the photograph or the edited version of events? Oh, yes. Especially between me and Chris [Stein, Blondie cofounder and … Continue reading Newsmaker: Debbie Harry



The BeeChicas tend to one of two rooftop beehives at Boulder (Colo.) Public Library. (Photo: The Bee Chicas)

File under Bee

September 3, 2019

When Theresa Beck, a member of the Boulder, Colorado–based beekeeping team and advocacy group the BeeChicas, shared her idea with Kathy Lane at the Bee Boulder Festival in 2014, she didn’t think of it as more than a playful suggestion. But Lane, who is programs, events, and outreach coordinator for the Boulder Public Library (BPL), … Continue reading File under Bee


Dewey Decibel Podcast: The Buzz on Library Gardens

Dewey Decibel Podcast: The Buzz on Library Gardens

May 31, 2019

In Episode 38, Dewey Decibel examines how libraries are using outdoor spaces for gardening and food production. First, ALA Editions Acquisitions Editor Rachel Chance speaks with Kathy Lane, programming, events, and outreach coordinator at Boulder (Colo.) Public Library (BPL), and the BeeChicas of Boulder, beekeepers who advocate for sustainable pollination and beekeeping, about BPL’s rooftop … Continue reading Dewey Decibel Podcast: The Buzz on Library Gardens


From left, Milton Bluehouse Jr., Cassandra Allen, and Corey Garza present “Environmental Justice @ Your Library and in Your Community,” a September 29 session at the third National Conference of Librarians of Color in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

The Path to Environmental Justice

September 30, 2018

“We are all familiar with what happened in Flint,” said Cassandra Allen, outreach librarian at the National Library of Medicine. So what part can libraries, universities, and other organizations play in making sure people of all races, cultures, and income levels are treated fairly when it comes to environmental development, implementation, and policy? At “Environmental Justice … Continue reading The Path to Environmental Justice


Stories of Sustainability

February 13, 2018

Joe Mocnik, dean of libraries at North Dakota State University in Fargo (NDSU), was talking about his school’s relationship to renewable energy on a campus mainly heated by coal power—in a state about 75% reliant on coal—but the challenges and opportunities he described sounded familiar to librarians looking to make sustainable development ingresses at their … Continue reading Stories of Sustainability