The North Babylon Public Library has received a sustainable library certification through initiatives such as recycling and, since the coronavirus pandemic, expanding remote services for patrons.
As part of the New York Library Association’s Sustainable Library Certification Program, the designation includes becoming environmentally friendly, economically feasible and socially equitable.
Library director Marc Horowitz said the certification process took three years, but green initiatives such as having solar panels installed on the building and extending the parking lot for patrons began years ago. The library distributes its newsletter electronically and has recycling stations inside.
"I wasn’t thinking sustainability, I was thinking ‘lower your utility bill,’ " Horowitz said, adding that these moves are "not short-term. It’s long-term."
Roger Reyes, co-creator of the New York Library Association’s certification program and assistant director at the Suffolk Cooperative Library System, said libraries that receive the certification make the commitment to stay relevant in their respective community. In 2019, the Lindenhurst Memorial Library became the first library on Long Island to achieve the initiative, making North Babylon the second one. Reyes said that the Brentwood Public Library has submitted its application for certification and that other local public libraries have applications pending.
"It’s not that ‘Oh, the director now wants to be green and the director now wants to be inclusive,’ " Reyes said. "We want it ingrained in their board policy and in their mission statements this is what they’re doing so that it stays and it grows. That’s what our goal is, to think before you act on everything."
Horowitz said that though job fairs that the library holds have been discontinued since March because of the pandemic, Zoom presentations for children and adults have been made available. The library offers a drop-and-take cart where people get books at no charge.
Moving forward, Horowitz said the library’s annual budget information sessions will be "focus groups" to provide an opportunity to learn what patrons want to see happen at the library. He also wants to change the makeup of the staff.
"It’s not going to happen quickly enough for me, but it’s happening," Horowitz said.