New Life to Library Discards

Library Journal has turned the spotlight on the efforts of a Nova Scotia Sustainability Center that worked with Dalhousie University’s library system to find new purposes for library discards. Building and inventor David Cameron stacked a wall of books, and covered the result with a mixture of clay, sand, and straw, called earth plaster to provide insulation for the re-purposed schoolhouse:

building-book-wallPhoto credit: Library Journal

The “Es” of Sustainable Libraries

Random-ish thought: Environmental sustainability is defined by “the three Es,” in order for something to be truly sustainable it must address all three: environment, economics, and social equity. [Read more about this definition of sustainability here.]

Here are three possible Es for a Sustainable Library:

A place where patrons are:

  • Empowered
  • Engaged
  • Energized

Sustainable Thinking in 2012

2012 has me broadening the scope of my thinking when it comes to how I define a  Sustainable Library. When I was writing the LJ article on Integrated Building Design last year I kept thinking: “why don’t we apply this type of thinking throughout our organizations?”


If we take the definition of sustainability as “the capacity to endure” and thread that throughout our organizations, not just our facilities – the policies we write, the customer service expectations we have of our staff, the technology we deploy, the messages we send, all can contribute to having a sustainable library.

Sustainable Thinking: Passageways to Better Buildings, Budgets & Beyond

2012 ALA Conference in Anaheim, CAThe countdown to the 2012 American Library Association Conference in Anaheim, CA has begun!

On the morning of Monday, June 25th I will be presenting with Jeffrey Scherer, architect extraordinaire, and Susan Benton, CEO of the Urban Libraries Council. Our topic: Sustainable Thinking: Passageways to Better Buildings, Budgets & Beyond.

In spirit, Louise Schaper will also be with us. She is an original member of our panel that will not be able to make it out to California but she is a driving force behind the content that will be presented.

We will be talking about the importance of thinking sustainably throughout your organization, not just when it comes to your facility.

This morning I spent some time working on the presentation. I’ll be handling Louise’s content as well as my own so wanted to get more familiar with her slides. Very struck by how well Louise can articulate the importance of “walking the walk” not just “talking the talk.” She provides excellent examples of how to infuse the ideals of sustainability throughout the culture of the library as an organization that I’m excited to have the opportunity to talk about at ALA this year!

As always, I am looking forward to connecting in-person with so many of you I get to talk with online through this web site, the Sustainable Libraries Facebook page and the Sustainable Librarians Group on LinkedIn. Please come up and introduce yourself! The more of us who know each other the more we can accomplish for the profession!