Madeleine Charney entered the world of academic librarianship shortly after receiving her MLS in 1991. Midway through her career, she received a second Master's degree in Sustainable Landscape Planning and Design from the Conway School. She worked for several years as the sole librarian at the New England Small Farm Institute, which houses the premier agriculture library in the Northeast. When she arrived at UMass in 2004, she was soon assigned to be Library Liaison for the Department of Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning as well as the Stockbridge School of Agriculture. Over time, she has become the sustainability "go-to person" at the UMass Amherst Libraries. A good part of her workday, and her favorite function, is dedicated to individual consultations with faculty, students, and community members seeking sustainability-related information. Her online library research guides provide a bridge to topics such as Renewable Energy, Ecovillages, Permaculture, Green Building & Infrastructure and Climate Change. She is the founder and moderator of SustainableUMass, a campus-wide listserv. In Spring 2011, her sabbatical project centered on the role of academic libraries in the curricular aspect of sustainability.
With a passion for growing food, Madeleine is a certified Permaculture Designer and has completed the training program offered by the Western Massachusetts Master Gardener Association. She is also Chairperson of the Higher Education Working Group of PVGrows, a fast-growing network devoted to strengthening the viability of healthy food systems in the Pioneer Valley. She serves as Book and Internet Review Editor for the Journal of Agricultural and Food Information and is Chairperson of the Legislative & Governmental Relations Committee of the U.S. Agricultural Information Network. She lives in Amherst with her husband, a farmer turned lawyer, and their young son who, at the tender age of three, dug up a whole bed of potatoes and transported them to the shed in his own mini-wheelbarrow.