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The Roy M. Mersky Spirit of Law Librarianship Award

2010 Recipient Announced

The Roy M. Mersky Spirit of Law Librarianship Award Committee is pleased to announce that David Selden, Law Librarian at the National Indian Law Library/Native American Rights Fund, is the 2010 recipient of the award. The Committee thanks everyone who submitted nominations.

David is best known in the law library community for his work to make United States Tribal law, codes, and constitutions more accessible to the public, attorneys, and researchers.  However, his public service passion is promoting efforts to increase environmental sustainability and reduce climate changing greenhouse gas and carbon emissions.

From 2006 to 2009, David initiated and coordinated a Colorado Adopt-A-Highway volunteer litter control program for National Indian Law Library (NILL) and Native American Rights Fund (NARF) employees on a two-mile stretch of highway in the Boulder area. This project increased NARF’s visibility in the community and modeled good stewardship of the environment.

Since 2004, David has served as the volunteer race director for the Colorado Indian Bar Association’s Red Rock Scramble, an annual run/walk event to raise funds for American Indian law student scholarships. In this capacity, David planned and directed the 2008 event as the first officially certified Race Without a Trace in Colorado. This event was both zero waste and carbon neutral and included other sustainable features. Zero waste and carbon neutral features continue to be a standard part of this popular annual event.

David became a volunteer Eco Auditor for a project in his home town of Lyons, Colorado, in 2007. This program trains community members as eco auditors, in order to help other interested community members live more sustainable lives. Homeowners in the program learn how to measure and evaluate their energy use, consumption, and overall impact on the climate and environment, and are presented with solutions for a more sustainable lifestyle. To date, nearly 100 families have participated in this Green Heart Community Initiative.

David is a member of the Lyons Sustainability Advisory Council, which works to solve environmental problems on the local level. This organization empowers citizens and businesses in Lyons to become more sustainable and work with governments and other organizations to implement positive change. David’s concentration relates to transportation issues and sustainable events. Since David joined the Council in 2008, the intergovernmental regional transportation service has added a popular 8:15am bus from Lyons to Boulder for morning commuters, and the Red Rock Scramble has become a model for other environmentally sustainable events held in Lyons.

In early 2010, David initiated and coordinated a Colorado Adopt-A-Highway volunteer litter control program for the Lyons Community Foundation (LCF) on a two mile stretch of highway at the southeast entrance to Lyons. This project increases LCF’s visibility in the community and models good stewardship of the environment.

David has consistently integrated his concern for the environment with his professional life. He initiated and chaired the Native American Rights Fund Green Office Committee. From 2007 to 2009, his efforts resulted in a 21% annual carbon emissions reduction in the Fund’s Boulder offices. David personally performs annual eco audits of the offices to create baseline energy consumption data for goal setting. David and his committee accomplish these goals by successfully implementing projects such as:

  • Zero waste policies and procedures. These initiatives include recycling and composting programs that allow employees to recycle and compost materials collected at their homes and in their offices.
  • A Green Office Purchasing Plan for supplies, appliances and equipment.
  • A Green Office Education Program for employees, which includes presentations on energy consumption and carbon footprint, weekly “Green Office Tips” via email, sale of composting kits, and loans of a Kill-A-Watt meter to employees to measure energy use in the office and at home.
  • A "hard to recycle program" for library books, fluorescent and CFL light bulbs, plastic bags, office equipment, etc.

A Carbon Offset Fund for NARF and NILL employees to voluntarily purchase carbon offsets for personal and business airline flights.

Three of David’s responses to the Member to Member questions have appeared in AALL Spectrum:

David’s environmentally-focused column, tentatively titled The Eco-Conscious Librarian, will debut in the September 2010 issue of AALL Spectrum.

David reduced his travel-related carbon footprint by carpooling in his hybrid vehicle with a colleague to the 2008 AALL Annual Meeting in Portland, Oregon, as well as to the 2009 WestPac Annual Meeting in Bozeman, Montana. The carbon footprint reduction was about 75% as compared to flying to these conferences.

In March 2009, David presented a well-attended and well-received program addressing how law and special libraries can become more environmentally sustainable. Colorado Association of Law Libraries and Rocky Mountain Special Libraries Association members attended, and several participants asked to use his slides to make similar presentations in their workplaces.

David was named a Special Libraries (SLA) “Knowledge to Go Green” Champion in February 2009. This award recognizes individuals who apply “green” principles and make changes to the way they perform their work on a day to day basis.

In January 2010, David received a partial scholarship to attend the University of Colorado’s Sustainability Management Certificate program.

As these many and varied examples illustrate, David is an excellent advocate for environmental sustainability and carbon reduction issues.  As he wrote in his Sustainability Management Certificate scholarship application:

“While the problems of sustainability and climate change are immense and complicated, each person or organization that I interact with can have a direct beneficial impact on this problem.”

The Committee believes David Selden is a worthy recipient if the 2010 Roy M. Mersky Spirit of Law Librarianship Award for Public Service.

Richard Leiter, Director and Professor Schmid Law Library, University of Nebraska College of Law

Terry Martin, Interim Director, Tarlton Law Library, University of Texas School of Law

Richard J. Spinelli, Senior Vice President, William S. Hein Co., Inc.

Donna M. Tuke, Editor and Publisher, Alert Publications