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New Year Resolutions: Go Green @ Your Library

by on January 15, 2013

Happy New Year! Have you made personal resolutions this year?  Have you made resolutions for your library?  Consider going green!  Even the smallest steps in a go green initiative can make a difference to the environment.  In addition to recycling paper, plastic, and glass, a little creativity can make the effort fun and easy.

I found inspiration in Gerry McKiernan’s post on The Green Library Blog called “Activities: 100 Ways to Make Your Library a Little Greener. There are great suggestions such as using eco-friendly light bulbs, encouraging library patrons to bring their own bags for books, using old t-shirts to clean computers, running a paper drive, holding a recycling contest, and moving away from paper receipts. 

Laura L. Barnes maintains the Green Libraries LibGuide.  Here you will find information about sustainability and green building management as well as ideas for green programming and arts and crafts projects.  Included in the guide are lists of books for further reading or adding to your library collection.  I will look closer at the list of ideas for what to do with items that are weeded from the collection. 

At my library, we have a Go Green committee that meets regularly to discuss new ideas and educate staff.  Some of our recycling efforts include collecting batteries and used printer ink/toner cartridges, placing recycling bins around the library for the public and staff, selling inexpensive reusable bags, and accepting used books for an ongoing book sale.  Staff members who run children’s programs frequently ask for recycled materials for craft projects.  We have paper dumpsters in our parking lot that are used often.  Last fall we accepted gently used Halloween costumes in exchange for fines and later sold these for a dollar or two as a small fundraiser.  This winter we collected winter coats for a local homeless shelter and broken Christmas light strings.  Proceeds from fundraisers such as the costume exchange and light strings go directly toward future go green activities at the library.

 We are also trying to do more recycling in our staff kitchen.  There is counter space where staff can leave unwanted items for others to adopt.  In addition to a bin for recycling plastic, paper and glass, we have a small composting bin.  Posters are on the wall near the composting bin with clear instructions on what can and cannot be composted.  Our Go Green committee made a video recently to help remind us about recycling in the kitchen.  Meet the Plainfield Library Pickers!  Thank you to Anita, Sue and Judi for allowing me to share the video with all of you.

Enjoy going green @ your library in 2013!