Skip to main content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.
During her term as ALA President, in 1999-2000, Sarah Ann Long initiated a project, in cooperation with Global Learning of New Jersey, entitled "Libraries Build Sustainable Communities." The basic definition of "sustainable" is the use and stewardship of resources today that preserves them for tomorrow, and a sustainable community is one that is healthy and prosperous over the long term. The project defined three components of a sustainable community--Economy, Ecology, and Equity. Economy is the management, or stewardship, of the resources; Ecology is the relationship of the community with its environment, particularly the natural environment; and Equity is fairness to all. "Green" libraries are a subset of this issue.
Libraries Build Sustainable Communities
This Web site was created for the Libraries Build Sustainable Communities project, a two-year (1999-2001) grant-funded partnership between the American Library Association (ALA) and Global Learning, Inc., partially funded by the United State Agency for International Development (USAID).
ALA Policies and Guidelines
Resolution on the Importance of Sustainable Libraries
At the 2015 Annual Conference in San Francisco, the ALA Council passed a resolution on the importance of sustainable libraries. The resolution notes that libraries play an important and unique role in wider community communications about resiliency, climate change and a sustainable future and that libraries that demonstrate good stewardship of the resources entrusted to them can build community support that leads to sustainable funding.
Policy B.5.5: "The American Library Association urges librarians and library governing boards to collect and provide information on the condition of our Earth, its air, ground, water, and living organisms from all available sources." (1989-1990 CD #48)
American Library Association Statement on Global Climate Change and a Call for Support for Libraries and Librarians
Resolution, adopted June 2017, "recognizes that human interactions and activities affect the dynamics of Earth’s climate system, and that there is a large and growing base of factual scientific data, information, and literature providing robust and accurate STE3M3 (scientific, technical, environmental/economic/ethical, medical/mathematical/management) evidence of global climate change; affirms a commitment to the preservation and availability of this factual scientific data, information, and literature, both from government and citizen sources; and supports librarians, library workers, and educators, as they are guided by the
ALA Policy Manual, in their roles for providing rigorous, robust, and accurate reference and referral services; access to data (both historical and current) and information resources, literature, and collections; and instruction in their use in assisting climate stakeholders’ and library users’ greater understanding of global climate change."
IRRT International Sustainable Library Development Interest Group
The ISLD serves as a clearinghouse of sustainable community-based library projects in developing areas of the world. This group mobilizes the power of ALA librarians to raise awareness of and make significant contributions to international library development.
SRRT TaskForce on the Environment
(now part of SustainRT) The Task Force on the Environment (TFOE) was created in 1989 in the spirit of the 20th Anniversary of Earth Day (1990). TFOE is one of the issues-oriented task forces that comprise the Social Responsibilities Round Table (SRRT) of the American Library Association (ALA).
Sustainability Round Table (SustainRT)
SustainRT was created as a venue in which members exchange ideas and opportunities regarding sustainability in order to move toward a more equitable, healthy and economically viable society.
American Libraries series: Sustainability in Libraries
A blog about libraries fostering resilient communities.
International Sustainabie Development