Ecology, Economy, Equity: The Path to a Carbon-Neutral Library

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In the first book to seriously examine the future of libraries in a climate reality-based context, Henk convincingly argues that building a carbon-neutral future for libraries is not only essential but eminently practical. Using the “three E’s” of sustainability (ecology, economy, equity) as a foundation, she traces the development of sustainability from its origins in the 1970s to the present, laying out a path librarians can take at their own institutions to begin the process of building a carbon-neutral library. Rooted in the latest science but firmly focused on concrete action, her book

  • Makes the case for sustainable libraries, tying the values that define the profession to the necessity of rethinking library operations and services in light of climate change
  • Guides readers through the first steps, with advice on starting the conversation, conducting outreach to stakeholders, and forming a sustainability committee
  • Includes a Sustainability Assessment and a sample sustainability plan that libraries can tailor for use at their own institution
  • Looks at the challenges of technology and corporate power in the library, addressing the power imbalance between large corporations and libraries and suggesting alternatives to the status quo
  • Discusses how libraries can combine strong advocacy with powerful activism to propel the library world into a socially just, safely powered world
  • Offers a bibliography of additional resources

Written by an activist who is also a working librarian, the book's balance between scientific research and step-by-step action will prove stimulating for library planners, administrators, LIS students, and anyone with an interest in climate change, sustainability, and libraries.

 Acknowledgments Part I - Transitioning to Sustainability in the Library1. Librarianship and the Three Es
2. The Case for Sustainability in the Library
3. Making the Transition: The First Steps Part II - Building a Sustainable Library4. Ecology5. Economy6. Equity Part III - Sustainable Librarianship in Practice7. The Challenges of Technology and Corporate Power in the Library8. Curbing Corporate Power9. Resolving the Technology Dilemma10. Visioning the Sustainable Library AppendixesA. Sustainability Assessment Worksheet
B. Sample Sustainability Plan
C. Resources for Starting a Sustainability Discussion in Your Library



Mandy Henk

Mandy Henk knew she had found her calling. A graduate of Simmons College School of Library Science and currently the Access Services Librarian at DePauw University in Greencastle, IN, Mandy devotes her time to activism, motherhood, writing, and librarianship. She was a 2011 Library Journal "Mover & Shaker" and one of the early guerrilla librarians of the People's Library at Occupy Wall Street.

"A short, practical, thoughtful book … [Henk] has a knack for making ideas concrete, so the book includes practical steps, including assessment worksheets and a sample sustainability plan. Librarians who are used to hearing ‘sustainability' used as a synonym for ‘business plan' can rest assured that this truly is about creating a future that isn't reliant on market fundamentalism and consuming stuff. It's about knitting together respect for the earth and its future inhabitants with our day-to-day practices and our commitment as librarians to managing commons … What's encouraging about this book is that it connects a lot of dots while encouraging practical action – now."
— Inside Higher Ed

"Thoughtful and well-reasoned … Educating ourselves and others about sustainability's importance in libraries needs to become a priority for the profession, and this book can provide insight and inspiration for librarians to become sustainability leaders and practitioners in their workplace, in negotiations with vendors, and in the communities they serve."
— Technical Services Quarterly