Clarkson University Libraries is the first university library to complete the Sustainable Library Certification Program

Clarkson University Libraries has just become the first university library to complete the rigorous Sustainable Libraries Initiative certification program. The academic certification program encourages collaboration with other campus sustainability efforts and reaches beyond the university to position the university library as a resource and leader in broader community resilience.

“Participation on various university committees over the past few years has helped us position Clarkson University Libraries as a critical agency in the campus sustainability mission. We know that environmental sustainability is at the heart of Clarkson’s business. The University has consistently achieved gold ratings from the Higher Education Sustainability Monitoring, Evaluation and Rating System (AASHE STARS). The mission of our libraries says: “Incorporate sustainability issues into all of our practices. From our perspective, this statement sets the tone for all faculty and staff to align their decisions, big and small, with environmental best practices, consideration of social equity and accountability. financial,” said Dean of Libraries Michelle Young. .

With all campus facilities working together to reduce waste and find ways to recycle as much as possible, there is a collaborative and transformational vision for sustainability that fosters new ideas. Newly renovated spaces on campus, including the libraries, feature Energy Star-qualified computers and appliances, LED lighting, and energy-efficient HVAC systems and low-flow plumbing fixtures. Clarkson University uses the Siemens tracking system to compile and monitor energy consumption across the campus. There is a 12-acre, 2-megawatt solar field to generate clean energy for the campus.

Libraries purchase paper products ensuring the highest possible recycled content and ban polystyrene products. Reusable utensils and dishes are used in the library kitchen. In addition to environmental sustainability, Clarkson University Libraries’ commitment to fiscal responsibility, community engagement, and social well-being is essential to meeting the full triple bottom line definition used by the SLCP. Both within the library and across campus, there is a stated commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion. This has been demonstrated by actions such as the creation and publication of an anti-discrimination reading list, Expanding our Worldview, which includes a reading list and multimedia resources to help students consider new perspectives and challenge to find a broader context to understand the experiences of others.

Recent space renovations at Clarkson University Libraries have focused on their physical space and storage. Creating more study spaces and small groups accessible to the public resulted in a reduction in storage of 1.25 miles of print journals. With more archives available electronically, the library has maintained access to most of these holdings without the need for physical space. Limited space for printed materials is both a challenge and an advantage. The libraries’ willingness to try an innovative open floor plan earned them the respect of faculty, colleagues, and university administration and helped promote the library as a modern institution on campus. The challenge of holding limited print resources has led to marketing and outreach efforts that seek to redefine library services for their campus community. Libraries participate in campus events focused on sustainability. Together with the Institute for Environmental Sustainability, they are planning an Earth Day celebration this year.

The Sustainable Libraries Initiative will continue to pilot its academic library certification program with a full national rollout of the program expected later this year. To learn more about the Sustainable Libraries Initiative, click here:

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