bring your favorite mug or water bottle to ALA

I’m not going to ALA. As I mentioned before, I’m not a member and Philadelphia in January is not my idea of a good time. However, I do stay in touch with many ALA-ers and Monika Antonelli brought this Task Force of the Environment Campaign “Cup by Cup for a Greener ALA” It’s very very simple

  1. Bring a reusable cup to Midwinter
  2. Fill it with a favorite beverage
  3. Raise your cup and tell colleagues how you are helping the planet
  4. Drink, repeat & support TFOE-SRRT efforts toward a sustainable ALA.

One of the things that is distressing about having these big destination events is the huge amounts of waste that are generated. Council alone prints up tons of paper documents that were already distributed electronically, many of which are recycled (hopefully) or thrown out (likely) right after the meeting.

Even conscientious librarians who might bring their meals if they were just going to work wind up buying bottled water and packaged snacks because they’re trapped in the wasteland that is vast convention centers. Spend a little bit of time beforehand this year and try to pack a travel mug, a few powerbars or some fruit, your own pen and notebook, and maybe some teabags or Emergen-C that can keep you from spending time, money and resources just keeping yourself fed, hydrated and in prime note taking shape. Enjoy yourselves.

11 thoughts on “bring your favorite mug or water bottle to ALA

  1. Thanks so much for posting about this. I’ve had on-again/off-again conversations with colleagues for years about ways to make libraries more environmentally sustainable places, with limitied success at best. At events like ALA, I see those bags of flyers, catalogs, and whatnot leaving the exhibit floor and just cringe. 99% of it is destined for a trash can within hours.

    Bottled water is a particular evil. At a recent conference in DC, I was sharing a room with a colleague and made some crack about the $6 bottle of Fiji water the hotel left on the table. He said, you know it comes from Fiji, right? I laughed and figured he was pulling my leg. Fiji? Seriously, it must just be a marketing schtick. Oh no, it really is from Fiji. I almost dropped dead on the spot. Now when I see someone consuming that brand, I want to accost and berate them for the sheer stupidity of it all.

  2. Unfortunately, a lot of us fly to the conferences. I really would love to bring my metal water bottle, but according to the airline I’m flying with, “…Empty containers (that could contain liquids) are not allowed; and neither are partially used larger containers.” (

    I never check baggage, so I would have to buy a reusable bottle in Philly.

    Now if someone would give away travel mugs or bottles with postage and an envelope to send the item home, that’d be handy!

  3. Oh, DaleA, don’t you get the LIKE TOTAL benefit of drinking water from a small island in the middle of the ocean. I mean, like why would you drink tap water (even purified) rather than tap water from far away. JEEZ! and it is so TOTALLY to have your own fresh new clear plastic (doesn’t that give you cancer or something) bottle each time. And for only $6 instead for free. I mean if its free it must not be worth anything. JEEZ, I mean that would be like going to the library to get a book rather than just buying your own….;-)

  4. Good ideas, long convention days can just wear you out. But as someone who is taking the train to Philly for a day, and a relative local– go just across the street from the Con Center to the Reading Terminal Market. Tons of fruit, veggies for sale– just about every type of food you can imagine. I like the chocolate guitars myself!

  5. Of course, now I’m thinking I might just send my bottle down to the hotel. I’ll probably be sending conference materials back to myself from Philly anyway, so I could send it back then. Cheaper than a new bottle!

  6. Not related in the reusable mug variety, and I’m not going to ALA, I’m going to PLA in March, but PLA is going totally paperless. So if you want hand-outs, you’ll have to print them yourselves!! I think this goes a long way.

    Chocolate guitars??

  7. Amanda, that’s interesting about USAirways. On other airlines (Northwest, Southwest, Midwest) I’ve had no trouble carrying an *empty* water bottle onto the plane.

  8. Jessamyn, what about January in Philadelphia doesn’t sound like a good time? This month begins as the past hundred or so have with the Mummers Parade–certainly the largest working class Saturnalian drag show anywhere. Weather has cracked the 60s the past couple days.

    A Space’s calendar looks full

    Free author events at the Free Library are strong:

    With shorter days, nightlife seems strong

    And when the hustle of city life gets you down, we have the the incomparable urban wilderness of the Wissahickon to explore with not much of train, bike, or bus ride away:

    No one even needs to buy bottled water because we certainly have among the best municipal tap in the world:

    Just sayin’

  9. There are too many entries tagged ‘ala’ for me to see – but how come you’re not a member. I’m currently at my first and am incredibly dissapointed. For a profession that prides itself on being very tech-innovative – I’ve found the fact that finding agendas for various meetings/discussion groups/etc., is like pulling teeth. It’s extremely frustrating – there’s no centralized website/program/etc. where it lists all the meetings and their agendas. I couldn’t believe there wasn’t a deadline for the various discussion groups, etc. to submit their agendas and then have them all published (either electronically or in the printed guide).

    The disorganization and lack of communication between all these sub-committees and their parent organizations, as well as a more systematic web presence for all the various meetings is a big turn-off for me. I have no desire to go to the Annual Conference.

    wow. that turned into a rant. /rant

  10. Ugh… this is so aggravating. I’m about to take a trip to europe for business, and was planning on taking my sigg bottle on the plane, and due to these stupid rules I won’t be able to. It makes no sense…

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