Friday, January 16, 2009

Green Options - Eight Ways to Green Your Library

As part of Eco-Libris' ongoing content partnership with Green Options Media, we feature a post that was originally published by Tina Casey on January 14 on Eco Child's Play. Today's post gives you few ideas how to green a very special place: your local library.

Library use is surging upwards, as the economy surges downwards. More people are saving money by sharing community-owned books, computers, and other resources. That’s certainly the green way to go, but what about the libraries themselves? How green is your local library?

While some new libraries are LEED-certified, your library might be old, inefficient, and in need of expensive retrofits that it can’t afford. Let’s read on to see how you can help your local library go green, no matter what kind of building it’s in.

1. Your Library: Go Early and Often.
First things first: if you’re a new parent and you haven’t taken your child to the library yet, do it. Don’t be shy about bringing an infant or crawler. For a while now, the trend has been to include more stuffed animals and other attractions for people who prefer crawling around to reading a book. If an eruption seems immanent you can always cut the visit short.

Green Tip: As your child grows out of kid-sized play tables, easels or seating cushions, ask if you can donate them to your local library.

2. Green Your Trip to the Library.
Is your library near mass transit? If it is, include a bus or train ride in your library routine. Pack some healthy snacks and a couple of commuter-friendly activities in case things bog down. Car-pooling with another family, walking, or biking are other green travel options.

3. Bring a Book, Leave a Book at Your Library.
Does your library have a book freecycling rack, or a used book sale room? If not, suggest one. It gives every library patron in the community a convenient place to recycle their used books, without making an extra trip to donate them at another location.

4. Toy Lending at Your Library.
Does your library lend toys? Toy lending libraries are another popular trend, and another great way to share and reuse community resources.

5. Help Your Library Green Up.
Does your library recycle? Does it use green cleaning supplies? If your library seems a little behind the curve, ask about volunteering to help them introduce some simple, basic office greening into their operations.

If you have time to help your library develop an in-depth greening program, the American Library Association has many resources to get you get started.

6. Green the Air Around Your Library.
Do cars tend to idle on the library grounds? Ask about setting up and publicizing a no-idling policy.

7. Green the Grounds Around Your Library.
Does your library have a rain garden? Could it use some strategically located shade trees? See if you can partner up with a local landscaper or nursery to help your library transform a resource-guzzling lawn into an educational greenscape.

8. Green the Movies at Your Library
Does your library show films? Ask if they’ll screen a green documentary. The list of entertaining docs on green topics is growing. Supersize Me and Kilowatt Ours are two that come to mind.

Friends: Does your local library have an interesting or unusual way to go green? Let me know, and I’ll share the info in a future post.

Image: Public domain via indiamos at under creative commons.