K-State Libraries offers new climate change programs, initiatives

Students study in the restored Great Room in Hale Library on Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2021. (Dylan Connell | Collegian Media Group)

Kansas State’s Library Administration introduced new programs and events to spread awareness about climate change to students and the community after receiving a $1,000 grant presented by Resilient Communities: Libraries Respond to Climate Change.

Carol Sevin and Ellen R. Urton, academic services librarians, learned about the grant from the Sustainability Round Table, part of the American Libraries Association.

“We were excited to apply for the grant because we have both been involved in sustainability initiatives on campus and within the community,” Urton said. “[We] knew this grant would encourage us and the Libraries to continue to work in this area.”

The Libraries partnered with organizations across the community to build a greater awareness of climate issues.

Some of the organizations include:

  • The Manhattan Public Library
  • The Manhattan Non-Violence Initiative
  • Prairiewood Retreat & Preserve
  • The Manhattan Resiliency Coalition
  • The City of Manhattan’s Community Development Department

Additionally, several campus groups participate, including:

  • Students for Environmental Action
  • Consortium for Environmental Stewardship and Sustainability
  • Ecumenical Campus Ministries,
  • oSTEM (out in Science Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics)
  • K-State’s LGBT Resource Center
  • K-State’s Institute for Civic Discourse and Democracy

Resilient Communities is a pilot program of the American Library Association. Private donors, like Andrew and Carol Phelps, started the initiative.

“It’s hard to say what we’re most excited for — the whole series is exciting because it brings an overwhelming, wicked problem into focus through identity, individual experience and starts or continues conversations about what we can do in our community,” Sevin said.

Sevin looks forward to the screening of the film “Fire & Flood: Queer Resilience in the Era of Climate Change,” in partnership with oSTEM and the LGBT Resource Center.

“The storytelling and the stories told in this documentary are powerful and I’m really looking forward to learning more from the film’s director Vanessa Raditz,” Sevin said.

The grant also nominates the Libraries as a Climate Resilience Hub through Communities Responding to Extreme Weather. Urton said the hubs will increase information sharing and invest in community resilience around extreme weather events.

“Through the grant, the ongoing designation as a Climate Resilience Hub and our existing K-State Libraries Sustainability Matrix, we hope to support access to information and the connections necessary for preparedness in extreme weather conditions,” Urton said.

Outside of the new programs coming from the grant, Sevin said many sources around campus provide information about climate change.

“From our perspective as librarians, we understand that climate change affects many areas of academic study and is a focus in research and courses across multiple programs and colleges at K-State,” Sevin said.

Campus groups host climate-related programming such as K-State’s Students for Environmental Action, which sponsors events every semester, including an annual Green Week between Earth Day and Arbor Day. The Consortium for Environmental Stewardship and Sustainability hosts an annual dialogue on sustainability in the summer.

“All of our virtual events this spring consider different aspects of resilience in their own way,” Urton said.

The next event related to climate change is on Feb. 23. The “Keep Your Cool Book Discussions,” in collaboration with Manhattan Public Library, features “A Field Guide to Climate Anxiety: How to Keep Your Cool on a Warming Planet” by Sarah Jaquette Ray.