Thursday, May 21, 2009

Activities: 100 Ways to Make Your Library a Little Greener

Librarians need to be on the constant cutting edge in terms of technology, researching, web tools and even architecture and design. But libraries are also a great place to educate the public and your students about the environment, from eco-friendly lifestyle choices to organizations that promote green causes. Here are 100 ways to make your library a little greener.

Maintenance and Green Building > Keep your library clean and eco-friendly with these tips.

Turn down the heat one or two degrees: Care2 writes that "each 1-degree drop for an eight-hour period reduces your fuel bill percent," saving you money and cutting down on electricity usage

  • Use fans: If you can, install ceiling fans to cool down the library without overusing the A/C.

  • Take advantage of windows: Strategically placed windows will provide natural light and may help with heating or cooling costs.

  • Use eco-friendly light bulbs: Switch to eco-friendly light bulbs that save money and electricity.

  • Use Energy Star products: Products with the Energy Star have been approved by the U.S. government as energy-saving products.

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Hardware > Learn how to choose the right computers and resources by reading this list.

  • Purchase eco-friendly computers: When you need new computers, search for eco-friendly versions.

  • Use laptops: Laptops use less electricity than desktop versions.

  • Know how to clean your computers: Eco-friendly, safe computer cleaning tips include using biodegradable dust cloths and old t-shirts.

  • Recycle computers: Safely recycle computers instead of harming the environment when you throw them away.

  • Buy recycled items: Buy recycled ink cartridges and other supplies.

  • Consider the Kindle 2: It’s expensive and may upset some reading purists, but the Kindle 2 is an eco-friendly reading tool. Purchase one for the library to spread awareness to readers.

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Special Events and Projects > Host special events like contests, and go after environmental grants to raise awareness and become a greener library.

  • Apply for grants: Certain grants awarded by environmental agencies or the government will help your library with funding for green projects and renovations.

  • Start a paper drive: Ask the public and your students to bring in old newspapers and other papers to recycle: they may even be turned into books one day!

  • Hold recycling contests: Hold recycling contests between grades, individuals, or against other libraries.

  • Apply for green awards: Find out if your state or community offers an award for libraries who go green.

  • Put up a display about reducing your carbon footprint: Put together a presentation or display to discuss each person’s carbon footprint.

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Awareness > Spread awareness about your green policies through these projects.

  • Sell Fair Trade coffee in your snack area: Fair Trade coffee is used in many academic libraries and is made in humane, eco-friendly conditions.

  • Go all out for Earth Month: It’s not just about Earth Day anymore. Use the whole month of April to showcase your library’s green progress.

  • Sell eco-friendly snacks and drinks: Sell drinks and snacks that are bottled and packaged in eco-friendly materials.

  • Use an eco-friendly car as your bookmobile: If your budget allows for a bookmobile, lobby for an eco-friendly vehicle to drop off books.

  • Abide by the 100-mile rule: Provide food that is from within 100 miles of your community to ensure that you’re supporting local farmers and cutting down on pollutants from shipping food.

  • Start a blog: Spread awareness about your library’s green activities by blogging about it regularly.

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Using the Web > Take advantage of all the web tools and sites you can use to cut down on paper.

  • SecondLife: Hold meetings and organize training workshops online through the virtual world SecondLife instead of requiring employees to drive to retreats.

  • Move accounts online: Cut down on paper notices and make it easier for patrons to keep up with their accounts by making them accessible online

  • Create an online catalog: Cut down on paper by moving your catalog onto your website.

  • Send e-mail updates: Instead of mailing out paper newsletters, create e-mail campaigns to announce special events and keep in touch.

  • WorldCat: Connect with other libraries around the world to share information electronically.

  • Move archives online: Put newspaper and magazine archives online to help preserve the originals.

  • Monkey on Your Back: Send memos and reminders via this online service, rather than wasting paper and sticky notes.

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Outdoors > Don’t forget to turn your outdoor environment into a greener, more sustainable spot.

  • Start an organic garden: Grow a garden to spread awareness on sustainability and provide a healthy eating option for participating library patrons and workers.

  • Plant flowers: Show pride in your environment by planting in-season, local flowers and shrubs.

  • Use safe pesticides: Safe and/or natural pesticides will help keep your plants healthy without damaging your health or the environment.

  • Opt for natural mosquito repellant: Plants like catnip and citronella grass are natural mosquito repellants.

  • Compost: If you’re allowed, get rid of waste by composting.

  • Minimize formal landscaping: Cut down on excessive landscaping that rips up the natural environment.

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Networks > Make sure your library is tuned in to the latest environmental news and trends by networking with these organizations and through these platforms. You’ll find materials for educating and engaging your patrons, too.

  • Care2: Care2 is a social network that organizes people who want to make a difference by living green.

  • TreeHugger: Learn about the latest trends in green design, food, fashion, building, travel and technology.

  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife: Learn about environmental contaminants, pollutants that hurt animals and natural ecosystems, and how you can help.

  • United Nations Environment Programme: This network discusses natural disasters and global conflicts, ecosystem management, pollutants, resource efficiency, climate change, and more.

  • EnergyStar: Learn about environmentally safe electronics, lighting solutions, heating and cooling resources, and more.

  • National Audubon Society: Discover how your library can support this wildlife protection agency through special projects, field trips and sponsorships.

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Must-Read Resources > Librarians conscious about green projects will need to keep up with these blogs and resources.

Everyday Tips > Switch to compostable library cards, set up a bike rack and encourage the use of reusable bags to continue your green campaign

  • Stop giving out bags: Encourage patrons to bring their own bags and stop using plastic ones.

  • No more paper receipts: Ask patrons to access their account online to discover when a book is due, or just stamp it the old-fashioned way.

  • Sell or distribute eco-friendly bags: Encourage patrons to carry their library books in reusable bags, not plastic ones.

  • Use compostable library cards: The San Francisco Public Library uses compostable corn "EcoCards" for patrons.

  • Encourage employees to car pool: Help your employees set up a car pool or van pool so that they can cut down on pollutants.

  • Support local businesses: Try to buy supplies and other items for businesses in your area.

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If You Have Any Other Recommendations/Suggestions Please These As A Comment On This Blog Entry.

1 comment:

Central Ohio said...

For Central Ohio going green does not have to be hard. It can be the easiest thing you do today. You may wonder why it is necessary. The fact is that it is necessary because you want your children, or your grandchildren to enjoy the planet that you have so graciously been able to delight in.