The article will shed light on how to make libraries more eco-friendly and will also shed light on various ways and steps that would include the following.
How to make a library more eco-friendly?
You can make a library more eco-friendly by:
- Energy consumption
- Renewable resources
- Reducing paper waste & promoting digitisation
- Waste management
- Trade-in programs
- Awareness campaigns (example)
- Green infrastructure
Libraries can also play a role in the alleviation of environmental problems and promoting a sustainable mindset. This can be done by acting on the following steps.
When it comes to the marriage between a place and its positive environmental impact, one of the things you can do is assess how much energy is consumed in a particular place and what are some ways to optimise and control the energy consumption.
The case of libraries is a significant one because libraries need to run a lot of lights so that people can read and write properly. Other facilities such as fans, coolers, and ACs are also inevitable.
Therefore, it can be stanced that there is a lot of energy consumption in libraries and this consumption needs to be optimised. Some ways to do that may include the following.
- Incline on the latest technology because the latest technology would be the most energy-conservative.
- Prefer the use of LED lights instead of traditional ones because the former would be much more efficient in terms of energy consumption.
- Prefer the use of seven stars electronic products.
- Control the set temperature to ACs in a way that energy is conserved. Do not be too exploitative.
Another great shift that can be adopted is the source of energy. In a conventional setup, the source is non-renewable resources (electricity) which leads to the consumption of non-renewable resources, burning of fossils, and environmental anomalies such as pollution et cetera.
However, these negative effects can be managed and alleviated if the inclination towards non-renewable resources is replaced with renewable resources.
This can be achieved by the installation of solar panels or shifting to green energy companies that operate in-line with environmental interests.
Reducing paper waste
Libraries are all about books and books are all about paper. However, it is a known fact that paper comes from trees and trees are vital for our environmental well-being.
Trees are the primary producers, they purify our atmosphere, prevent water logging, and serve as a habitat source. But, when trees are cut excessively, there are degradative effects on the environment such as
- Soil erosion
- Global warming
- Climate change
- Habitat destruction
Therefore, libraries can play a role in the negation of these changes by saving paper and encouraging people to save paper.
One of the ways it can be done is to adopt digitisation. Go paperless wherever possible. For example, instead of hard paper registration forms, there can be a QR code scanner for registration. The same can be replicated for issuing, billing, and notices.
Libraries are the places where people come to learn and gain knowledge. Libraries are like educational churches and therefore, these platforms can be used to create and raise environmental awareness.
- Regular seminars and awareness sessions can be held and regular members can be invited to attend.
- There can be a weekly newsletter to regular members educating them about the ways to be more pro-environmental.
- For example, Cambridge Community Library arranged an event called ‘The Amazing Honey Bee’ where social responsibilities toward honey bees were addressed and encouraged.
Libraries must ensure that steps are taken to make libraries waste-free. This can be done by pursuing persistent practices of reusing, recycling and composting.
- Libraries can partner with recycling centres and compost centres where the waste can be transported.
- Libraries should have three different waste bins for different kinds of waste including hazardous, biodegradable, and recyclable.
- Libraries should encourage reuse. Old and condemned books can either be shelved back or given to NGOs or charity organisations.
Libraries can also offer trade-in programs where people can give their old and condemned books. This is better than discarding them because it will lead to waste accumulation and resource exploitation.
It is also advised to decorate the libraries in a way that their impact on the environment is kept optimal. This can be done by following the given steps.
- Use of recycled material such as tiles et cetera
- Use of latest devices and technology to maximise resource conservation
- Use of sustainable building material such as reclaimed tiles, natural lino and recycled cork.
- Have indoor plants installed to purify the air and accentuate the aesthetics
- For example, the Minneapolis library has a green roof to plant vegetation and reduce rainwater runoff.
It is concluded that there are many ways to make our libraries eco-friendly. Libraries can act as education centres and people can be made aware of how to be pro-environmental.
Libraries can promote a culture of reduced paper waste and increased digitisation. Further, green infrastructure can also make libraries more eco-friendly.
- 5 Ways Libraries Are Helping The Environment. Retrieved from: https://princh.com/blog-5-ways-libraries-are-helping-the-environment/#.ZACghC-w2Rs
- PC, Sweeney. (April 21, 2021). Libraries help save the planet. Retrieved from: https://medium.com/everylibrary/libraries-help-save-the-planet-8934d9e87a5
- 100 Ways to Make Your Library a Little Greener. Retrieved from: https://www.vermontlibraries.org/100-ways-to-make-your-library-a-little-greener