Sustainability Letter to Members

PDF Version of the Sustainability Letter to Members.

"To be truly sustainable, an organization or community must embody practices that are environmentally sound AND economically feasible AND socially equitable."

—American Library Association’s Resolution for the
Adoption of Sustainability as a Core Value of Librarianship, 2019

Dear CBAA member,

Inspired by the recent adoption of sustainability as a core value of librarianship by the American Library Association and the sustainable conference discussion sparked by ALA’s Rare Books and Manuscripts Section in 2019, the local organizing committee would like to pledge our commitment to developing sustainable conference practices during the 2020 CBAA gathering in New Orleans. We hope that attendees can help us in our efforts to minimize waste, show respect for the environment and strive for inclusivity within our small but mighty membership. The local CBAA conference organizers believe that these ideals are not only in alignment with the theme of this year’s conference but also with CBAA’s mission to holistically serve the Book Arts education community.

Some changes to expect at this year’s conference include:

BYO Tote Bags
Branded conference tote bags will not be provided this year. At registration, attendees will be given a beautiful, reusable heavy-weight paper enclosure to hold conference materials. If you will miss carrying a conference tote bag, please bring an old favorite as an alternative! Show your bag at registration to receive a special badge to wear at the conference.

Minimal printed materials
While we will have a comprehensive paper program for the conference, we will also offer registrants the option to use, a smart phone-based conference program and navigation app. During registration, all attendees will have the option to download the app and use it for free. Try out both paper and app-based versions of the program and see which you prefer! Both will have the same information.

If you are presenting during the conference, consider providing the audience with a digital link to slides and/or resources instead of a handout when possible. If you are a vendor, consider providing a digital catalog or hands-on examples of items for sale. CBAA will share all digitized materials with attendees after the conference.

BYO reusable water bottles/mugs
Reusable drinking vessels are a great individual step towards minimizing waste, and you probably own one (or a few) already. You are encouraged to bring your own in lieu of purchasing bottled water/paper coffee cups/plastic beer cups, etc.

Gender pronoun identifiers
Gender pronoun buttons and/or stickers will be available at the conference registration tables to encourage transparency and equity among our members. You can read more about supporting transgender and gender nonconforming students and colleagues here.

In addition to these changes, we support the following practices:

Mindful partying
New Orleans is often defined by outsiders as a “drinking city,” but very few locals are found on Bourbon Street unless they work there. While we hope our guests enjoy the festivities of our lively city, we encourage simultaneous sensitivity towards the greater New Orleans community as well as conference attendees who choose not to consume alcohol.

Americans with Disabilities Act compliance at the Ace Hotel
The Ace hotel offers ADA compliant rooms including its Double, Corner, Large, Medium, Suite and Ace Suite rooms. Please ask a hotel representative upon booking a room if you are interested in one of these rooms. All restrooms at the Ace are ADA compliant and hotel fire alarms come equipped with both flashing lights and audio alerts. Braille signage is in all rooms and public spaces. The Ace hotel’s rooftop pool and lounge is also ADA accessible with a pool chair lift.

Sustainable travel when possible
While we realize that many attendees will be flying to New Orleans, we want to acknowledge that the transportation sector currently holds the title for the largest source of US carbon emissions, with air travel having the greatest impact. If you are flying and are interested in purchasing carbon offsets, we recommend reading the Rare Books and Manuscripts Section of the Americal Library Association’s very helpful 2019 conference travel guide. If you are close enough in distance to drive, consider carpooling with your colleagues! For in-town travel, consider using the extremely affordable (and fun) New Orleans Streetcar and/or the local bus system. While the streetcar has limited routes, it is within walking distance to the Ace Hotel and travels uptown to Tulane University, which is a great option for the first day of the conference. You can download the free New Orleans RTA mobile app here. Finally, if you enjoy walking there is plenty to see and do in the Central Business District where the Ace Hotel is located, and the nearby French Quarter and Lower Garden District are within reasonable walking distance.  

Responsible lodging choices
We understand that not everyone will opt to stay at the Ace hotel during the conference. The document below compiles resources for alternative, sustainable lodging options in New Orleans. We strongly discourage AirBnB reservations because of the negative impacts the corporation has on affordable housing in the city. The document that follows was authored and openly shared by the Society for Social Studies of Science during their 2019 meeting in New Orleans. You can view their entire conference guide here.

Alternative Accommodations

Photo by April Leigh

Are you thinking of using AirBnB to find your accommodation in New Orleans? Here is some context about the New Orleans housing market before renting with AirBnB. There are many contributing forces to New Orleans’ current affordable housing crisis: discriminatory Katrina recovery spending, paltry tenant legal protections, real estate speculation, regressive taxing rubrics, and the short-term rental market. Your visit can have a direct impact on that final and major contributor to housing hardship in New Orleans. While some AirBnB rentals do help homeowners make their mortgage payments, many of them are permanently for rent to tourists, squeezing a tight housing market to the point of active displacement. A recent report by Jane Place Neighborhood Sustainability Initiative documents that whole house rentals in New Orleans have increased by 233% since 2015 and 568 listings are run by just 10 hosts. If you pick an AirBnB at random you have almost a 1 in 2 chance (44%) of renting from someone who has multiple listings. Even if you avoid renting from landlords with multiple listings, a sizable portion of your payment goes to AirBnB corporate, which pays lobbyists to advocate against housing justice reforms in New Orleans and your payment will support a housing bubble that disproportionately benefits the white middle class and burden’s working class renters. Taking this information to heart, as visitors you can do the following:

Look at the accommodation alternatives below. 
Housing advocates are emphatic that there is no such thing as harm reduction in the short term housing market in in New Orleans. But if you are unable to find housing from the below list at a price point that is affordable to you and if you wish to stay in a short term rental please consider making a donation to housing justice causes in New Orleans such at Jane’s Place Neighborhood Sustainability Initiative (link) or the Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center (link). If you’re a senior professor, you could even consider making a donation on behalf of your graduate students that may resort to short term rentals out of financial necessity.

Additional care to take if engaging in a short-term rental in New Orleans:

  1. Avoid hosts with multiple listings.
  2. Avoid AirBnB rentals in neighborhoods marked in red, orange, or the darker creamy brown in the image below (ie almost nowhere with fast or direct access to the conference venue).
  3. Avoid these hosts identified by a local nonprofit as AirBnB mega-landlords.

Image by Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center

Alternatives to short term rentals

Black-owned hotels

The Moor
4511 Canal St., New Orleans, 70119
(510) 296-8684
Online booking
Located in the mid-city neighborhood, it is walking distance to the New Orleans Museum of Art, City Park (a huge 1,300 acre park), historic cemeteries, and St. John’s bayou. Here’s a write up on The Moor. Their most affordable room, the studio suite, is less than $100 a night and includes a kitchen.

317 Baronne St., New Orleans, LA 70112
Online booking
(844) 439-1463
A more conventional hotel owned by a black woman in the central business district. You’ll probably need faculty money to afford this one.

Dutchess B&B
Online booking
For larger groups try the Duchess. They rent out each floor for $600 a night but can sleep up to 12 people and both have kitchens. This could be a great option for grad students to stay together for cheap.

Unionized Hotels

Harrah’s Casino
8 Canal St., New Orleans, LA 70130
1(800) 427-7247
Online booking
If you go to the casino, you can play the penny slots and get a free drink or two. (Tip the server generously.)

Hilton Riverside
2 Poydras St., New Orleans, LA 70130
(504) 561-0500
Online booking

Loews New Orleans Hotel
300 Poydras St., New Orleans, LA 70130
(504) 595-3300
Online booking

Innkeepers Association of New Orleans
Online booking
This website features the consolidated listings of dozens of traditionally licensed bed and breakfasts.

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