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Libraries Embrace Green Technologies

by on February 1, 2016

Almost everyone is trying to go green, embracing the use of solar panels and other similar technologies. Libraries are no different; the ALA’s Green Libraries website says, “Libraries by their very nature are ‘green’ in that their resources are shared by the larger community.”[1]  So it is encouraging to hear stories of libraries making this green movement work for them. The Sun, reports that the Peru Free Library is one of many taking advantage of solar power. In 2009, after getting approval from the library board, director Becky Pace had forty-nine solar panels installed on the library’s roof.[2] Funding initially came from the Public Library Construction Grant Program, but Pace was able to get another grant from the New York State Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), meaning the library paid nothing to install the solar panels.[3] Going green is a great way for libraries to be fiscally and environmentally responsible. The Peru Free Library has not paid for electricity since the thirty-two-pound panels were installed. Each panel can generate 200 watts of electricity, and the library actually produces and sells electricity back to NYSEG.[4] With the energy savings, more resources and time can be devoted to other library programs.

The desire to create environmentally friendly, energy-efficient buildings has grown steadily, and other New York libraries are following suit. From 2009-2010, the New York State Library provided ten libraries with “$556,036 to install alternative energy resources in the form of solar panels or geothermal wells.”[5] Two other New York libraries that have also moved towards the energy-efficient model are the Au Sable Forks Free Library and Goff-Nelson Memorial Library.[6] It is wonderful that New York is able to help libraries with their green initiatives.

Whether it is improving trash disposal or moving to bio-degradable library cards, it is worthwhile to look into options for greening your library. Of course, every state has different rules and programs available, but it may be prudent to check what is locally offered. If you’re interested in learning more, the Going Green @your Library blog offers great tips and ideas for improving your library’s efforts.


[1] Green Libraries, American Library Association, http://www.ala.org/tools/green-libraries

[2] Teah Dowling, “Library director: ‘We have no more electric bills,’“ December 25, 2015, The Sunhttp://www.suncommunitynews.com/articles/library-director-%E2%80%9Cwe-have-no-more-electric-bills%E2%80%9D/

[3] Ibid.

[4] Ibid.

[5] “New York’s Public Libraries Going Green,” NYSED.gov, http://www.nysl.nysed.gov/libdev/construc/go_green.htm

[6] Dowling, “Library director: ‘We have no more electric bills.’”

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