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Applying ESG to Modern Librarianship: Lessons from the Business World

Samantha Connell (New Canaan Library, USA)
Micaela Porta (New Canaan Library, USA)

How Public Libraries Build Sustainable Communities in the 21st Century

ISBN: 978-1-80382-436-9, eISBN: 978-1-80382-435-2

Publication date: 8 September 2023


Responding to growing market demands for corporate social responsibility, the Asset Management Working Group of the United Nations Environment Programme’s Finance Initiative created a legal framework in 2005 to integrate Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) issues in institutional investment. It challenged the business world to think beyond fiduciary responsibility, toward measurement of both tangible and intangible assets. As an institutional force committed to the triple bottom line (environmentally sound, socially equitable, and economically feasible), modern libraries serve by reaching outward, and can lead by looking inward. ESG practices enable libraries to clearly identify criteria, set goals, and measure and report progress for external and internal operations, and help garner support and sustain and fund broader programs and initiatives. Applying ESG thinking to library policies, strategic plans, and operational culture will create a sustainable efficiency for these goals, provide evidence-based support for all stakeholders, and generate effective intrapreneurship while fostering community partnerships. This chapter describes our tailored, real-time approach to this work at New Canaan Library. It is a road we are building one brick at a time, and there is value in paving it organically – drawing on and meeting the aptitudes and needs of employees and our community where we are – while also employing best practices borrowed from successful models.



Connell, S. and Porta, M. (2023), "Applying ESG to Modern Librarianship: Lessons from the Business World", Williams-Cockfield, K.C. and Mehra, B. (Ed.) How Public Libraries Build Sustainable Communities in the 21st Century (Advances in Librarianship, Vol. 53), Emerald Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 73-83.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2023 Samantha Connell and Micaela Porta