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The newest professional forum within ALA, the Sustainability Round Table (SustainRT), had its first meeting on July 1 in Chicago at ALA Annual. SustainRT grew out of the Social Responsibilities Round Table’s Task Force on the Environment. In an effort to broaden the scope and make sustainability more visible to a wider audience, a petition was created and the motion to form SustainRT was passed unanimously by ALA Council at Midwinter 2013 in Seattle.
SustainRT was created as a venue in which members exchange ideas and opportunities regarding sustainability in order to move toward a healthier, more equitable, and more economically viable society. The mission of the organization is to provide resources for the library community to support sustainability through curriculum development; collections; exhibits; events; advocacy, communication, library buildings, and space design.
About two dozen attendees met to discuss all the issues involved in the development of a newly created organization—from attracting new members and collaborating with other ALA groups to program brainstorming on how to make future ALA conferences more sustainable (i.e., more healthful, local options for food and exercise during the event; choosing green cities for future conferences; and reducing travel footprints by creating opportunities for participation through virtual meetings and programming). It was stressed several times during the discussion that SustainRT is embracing a holistic approach to sustainability that goes beyond environmental concerns to include social and economic sustainability as well.
SustainRT is open to all ALA members and will be ready to accept both individual and organizational members in September 2013. Connect via the LinkedIn group “Sustainability Librarians,“ Twitter (#alaSustainRT), listserv (firstname.lastname@example.org), and ALAConnect.
By Ashley Jones, SustainRT Steering CommitteePreservation Librarian, Miami University Libraries, Oxford, OH, and Amy Forrester, Product Manager-SciTech, ProQuest