Issues in Science and Technology Librarianship Fall 1999

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Conference Reports

How Green Is My Library?
New York Library Association 1999 Annual Conference
October 27-31, 1999, Buffalo, NY

Frederick W. Stoss
Biological Sciences Librarian
SUNY University at Buffalo

Notes compiled by:
Walter Simpson, Debbie Jackson, Efrat Forget, Kathleen M. DeLaney, Frederick W. Stoss, John Hood
Rich Peters, Moderator Introduction by Rich Peters (mythos@localnet.com)

"Building Partnerships for Learning" formed the theme for the 1999 New York Library Association Annual Conference. When contemplating this theme the 30th Anniversary of Earth Day (April 22, 1970) came to mind as a pivotal event that contributed greatly to building environmental partnerships that have shaped perceptions about our environment for three decades. The "battle cry" of the first Earth Day, "Think Globally. Act Locally!" was the setting for a comprehensive examination of several major environmental issues and how libraries play major roles by supporting our learning about complex and controversial environmental topics. "How Green Is My Library?" the title of this session, reflects a question that addresses the roles libraries play related to environmental issues and concerns.

Six presentations covered topics including intensive recycling, composting, energy efficiency, garden and community space, planning Earth Day 2000, disseminating environmental info, grants, web resources, and the Love Canal archives.

Campus Eco-Activism and Awareness
Walter Simpson (wsimpson@facilities.buffalo.edu), Energy Officer, University at Buffalo, State University of New York

Much progress has been made nationally to develop the concept of 'green' college and university campuses. The designation refers to campuses which have committed themselves to principles of environmental responsibility and stewardship and active pursue programs in energy conservation, recycling, waste reduction, pollution control, green building design, and eco-literacy. Many of the steps being taken on green campuses can apply to libraries and library systems. This presentation took a close look at several environmental and conservation problems and practices at the University at Buffalo. University programs and initiatives were emphasized which promote general environmental awareness among administrators, faculty, staff, and students. Specific programs and projects to engage the university community to address these problems were provided. Campus-wide energy conservation and recycling programs were cited as a means for universities to achieve goals related to sustainable development and ecofriendly (environmental safe) practices. For more information see the UB Green website of the State University of New York at Buffalo, {http://www.ubgreenoffice.com/} or contact the UB Green Office at SUNY Buffalo, (716) 829-3535, ecala@facilities.buffalo.edu. Also see the website of the National Wildlife Federation's Campus Ecology program, {http://www.nwf.org/campusecology/}.

Steps to Becoming an Example for Your Community
Debbie Jackson (dajackso@gw.dec.state.ny.us) and Efrat Forget (esforget@gw.dec.state.ny.us), Environmental Program Specialist, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation

Did you know that in 1997 we New Yorkers disposed of more than 29.9 million tons of solid waste? It is becoming more expensive to dispose safely of our wastes. Recycling helps, but it is not the whole solution! This session provided useful projects and activities for waste reduction, reuse, recycling, composting, buying recycled, New York State/America Recycles Day, and Steps to Green Libraries. For more information, contact the presenter, Debbie Jackson at her email address, dajackso@gwf.dec.state.ny.us, or check out the educational materials on the NYS DEC web page at: http://www.dec.state.ny.us/website/dshm/redrecy/order.htm

The Love Canal Collection of the University Archives
Kathleen M. DeLaney (kdelaney@acsu.buffalo.edu), Project Archivist, University Archives University at Buffalo, New York

The Love Canal Collection of the Ecumenical Task Force (ETF) was acquired by the University Archives of the State University of New York in Spring 1997. Early in Fall 1999 an additional 15 cartons of material were added to the more than 300,00 pages of documents ranging from hand-written correspondence to lengthy legal depositions, pamphlets, congressional and governmental hearings, and scientific and medical reports. Among the records are biographical references to Love Canal residents, maps, memos, and other grey literature or ephemera from the very beginning of the crisis in 1978. Of specific interest is the cross-disciplinary nature of the Collection. Topics such as medicine, science, engineering, law, economics, religion, politics and government are represented at every level. Enhancing these are personal documents that evolved as the ETF assisted residents of the Love Canal area of Niagara Falls (NY) who were confronted "with mounting evidence that they were living in an area with serious health problems." A wide range of people have expressed interest in this collection, including sixth grade students in search of information for environmental class reports, doctoral candidates in Women's History, national political magazines and journals, and Young Adult non-fiction publishers. Staff at the Archives welcome input from the academic community on specific research interests related to the Collection. Selected documents from this unique a archival collection can be viewed at: {http://library.buffalo.edu/specialcollections/lovecanal/}. For more information about The Love Canal Collection contact: Christopher Densmore, Director University Archives (densmore@acsu.buffalo.edu); or Kathleen DeLaney, Project Archivist (kdelaney@acsu.buffalo.edu). Or by telephone at 716-645-2916.

Earth Day 2000: Catalyst for Community Outreach
Frederick W. Stoss (fstoss@acsu.buffalo.edu), Science and Engineering Library, University at Buffalo, SUNY

Public awareness about the environment was stimulated and has been sustained in large measure by Earth Day celebrations since April 22, 1970. The presentation provided a history of Earth Day (see: {http://ublib.buffalo.edu/libraries/units/sel/exhibits/eday99.html}) and examined how libraries may use Earth Day as a theme or catalyst for outreach programs. Communities (cities, towns, campuses, schools) need environmental information to address the science, technologies, policies, and economics associated with concerns and problems about the quality of environment and its natural resources. Libraries -- public, academic, school, government, special - all have the ability to provide their communities with Environmental ICE - Information, Communication, and Education. Examples of community-based environmental resources, Web sites, environmental sections of professional library associations, such as the American Library Association's Task Force on the Environment ({http://www.ala.org/alaorg/rtables/srrt/tfoe}), were provided. Special library and community based information services provided by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (http://www.epa.gov/) were discussed as well as grants for environmental and natural resources projects in libraries (EPA Office of Environmental Justice and the EPA EMPACT Program, Environmental Grantmaking Foundations Directory ({http://www.environmentalgrants.com/}). The presentation is available at {http://ublib.buffalo.edu/libraries/units/sel/stoss/nyla99.html}.

Environmental education through Public Agency/Library Partnerships
John Hood (jhood@ene.com), Corporate Librarian at Ecology and Environment, Inc.

The Erie County Department of Environment and Planning (ECDEP) has had a long history of teaming with local libraries in Western New York to promote environmental education. The ECDEP administers a number of programs that help promote environmental awareness throughout the community. A visit to any of the Department's web pages (http://www2.erie.gov/environment/), such as the Indoor Air Quality Program ({http://www.erie.gov/environment/compliance/ofciaq.phtml}), or Office of Pollution Prevention ({http://www.erie.gov/environment/compliance/ofcpp.phtml}) illustrates how libraries can serve as venues for workshops and can disseminate the informational materials developed by the various ECDEP programs. These promotion activities can be most effective if timed with celebratory environmental theme days such as earth day or during pollution prevention week. Another effective promoter of environmental education is the Center for Great Environmental Education ({http://www.greatlakesed.org/}). This organization is a non profit organization affiliated with the ECDEP that serves as a vehicle to bring environmental professionals from government and industry together with educators. One of the more ambitious projects the Center undertakes will be updating the International Joint Commission's 1994 directory of Great Lakes Environmental Education Resources. Currently, the Center has solicited educational material from hundreds of Great Lakes regional environmental organizations. The goal of this effort is to publish the results in a comprehensive web page, CD-ROM, and book that will be a unique environmental education resource. Library students have been recruited to help catalogue the materials received, and once developed, the Center will use libraries throughout the Great Lakes basin to promote this resource, which will also be a valuable collection development resource for environmental educators. This presentation is available at {http://www.acsu.buffalo.edu/~jhood/nyla99.htm}.

In addition to the resources provided by the speakers, materials from the following groups were provided:


Libraries for the Future ("Environmentalist's Guide to the Public Library")

National Library for the Environment


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