Libraries: Taking the "leed" in being green

It seems lately I’ve been both hearing and reading a lot about sustainable design and green living. Of course, it helps that CML is embarking on a long range facilities’ plan this year and that LEED certification has also been a hot topic among libraries over the last few.

Anyway, So what’s my point to this whole post anyway? Well, thinking about “green” got me thinking about saving trees… which got me thinking about books, paper & pulp … which got me thinking about libraries and all millions of books that circulate from our collections in our communities each year… and then I realized …

... Libraries in a huge way have always been “green.” In fact, our collections and borrowing practices not only emphasize “re-use”, they were literally built upon the principle - i.e. shared access for all.

So if you're thinking about green, it seems only natural to think about libraries. I mean why not ...

Go Green. Borrow a Book.

Brain fodder: I wonder if it's possible to calculate how many trees libraries have saved? Even if you took only 1% of library circulation over the last 100 years and used that to estimate the number of trees saved by "re-use" (instead of new purchase) of print materials, I would guess the number would be astonishing! Hmm... Not that I have the faintest idea to go about trying to capture the data for such a calculation. But it is fun to think about, especially in terms of libraries impact to the environment. How about you - Got any thoughts?

PS: Sorry... for... the ... extended ... use of ...
ellipsis' . Sometimes my thought process really is that ... broken and ... sporadic :)


Melanie said...

That's a pretty deep thought about the library being the ultimate in reused books! Thanks Helene.
Hope you're doing well in your new gig!
Haveta update the RSS feeds that you taught me how to use.
Happy New Year.
Melanie Wood
Morrison Regional Library.

Anonymous said...

In Seven Wonders: Everyday Things for a Healthier Planet, John C. Ryan picks libraries as one of the seven wonders for this very reason. The others are bicycles, ladybugs, condoms, pad thai, clotheslines, and ceiling fans.

I don't have a copy of the book and it was published in the late '90s but I think he does go into the numbers of it all.

Karen Keys, Queens Library