Sustainable Libraries Initiative FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

The SLI is a project created by members of the New York Library Association in response to the New York Library Association and American Library Association each passing Resolutions on the Importance of Sustainable Libraries. These governance resolutions acknowledge the important role libraries can play in larger community conversations about resiliency, climate change, and a sustainable future. Both associations enthusiastically encourage activities by their members – and themselves – to be proactive in their application of sustainable thinking in the areas of their facilities, operations, policy, technology, programming, and partnerships.

The Initiative is designed to provide the tools and resources library leaders need to incorporate sustainability as a core value in their work, just as the American Library Association has adopted sustainability as a core value of the profession.

Sustainability is much more green design applied through strategies such as the use of solar panels and LED lights. It’s the capacity to thrive. The ALA, NYLA and SLI have all adopted the Triple Bottom Line definition of sustainability. This consists of practices that are environmentally sound, economically feasible, and socially equitable. Libraries play an important and unique role in promoting community awareness about resilience, climate change, and a sustainable future.

Triple Bottom Line Graphic

The committee that has designed and overseen this work are library leaders, likely just like you, who volunteer their time, talent, and energy to helping their peers in the belief that we are stronger and more effective when we work together. You can see who, specifically, is doing the work behind the scenes here.

Our Venture Investors included the Council, Leadership and Management Section (LAMS) and Public Libraries Section (PLS) of the New York Library Association; the Public Library Systems Directors Organization of New York (PULISDO); Suffolk Cooperative Library System; and the Suffolk County Library Association (SCLA).

Our corporate partners in this work have included Library Market, Capira Technologies, LLC, Green Team Spirit, Marie Coons Design, and Sandpebble Construction Project Management.

While initial venture investors, individual donors and some of our corporate partners have worked hard to supplement the volunteer efforts of this project thus far, they invested early to get the work of this initiative off the ground, to create a professional, market-tested product the library profession has never seen or had access to before. However, a sustained initiative needs sustained revenue to cover the on-going costs related to the program. The membership fee helps to underwrite the maintenance of the web site and related administrative expenses of the project.

Thank you for your desire to invest in the future of our profession! All donations are 100% tax deductible: Sustainable Libraries Initiative (

Membership is available to individuals, institutions, and professional associations. Pricing is based on membership level and budget. Please contact us for professional organization and group pricing. 

Enrollment in the Sustainable Library Certification Program is available for Public Libraries in the United States, School Librarians in New York, and Library Systems. We anticipate opening enrollment for Academic Libraries in the United States in 2023.