Executive Director, Digital Scholarship Services, Fondren Library
Fondren Library Eco-Rep
In 2017, Hurricane Harvey dumped over 50 inches of rain on Houston, causing approximately 100 deaths and $125 billion in damage. Research indicates that Harvey’s impact was worsened by climate change. More recently wildfires, floods, and droughts–as well as concerted action by climate activists–have demonstrated the urgency of fighting climate change. The library community is beginning to take action; for example, the American Library Association (ALA) recently adopted sustainability as a core value and launched the “Resilient Communities: Libraries Respond to Climate Change” grant program. Rice University’s Fondren Library is one of five academic libraries to have won this grant. Fondren’s core grant-funded activities include organizing a panel discussion featuring four Houston women at the forefront of climate justice work, screening a documentary on queer responses to climate change, becoming a climate resilience hub, and developing a workshop for middle school students focused on understanding air quality data in their neighborhood, a frontline community. The grant is part of a broader series of sustainability initiatives at Fondren, including the development of a sustainability plan, the formation of a staff “Green Team,” and the appointment of a student “eco-rep.” This interactive presentation will examine how and why academic libraries should prioritize sustainability initiatives, using Fondren’s experiences as a model for community and student engagement around climate change. Participants will then engage in discussion about how the library community can come together to fight climate change.