Last year the San Francisco Public Library launched a biodegradable library card called the ecocard. It is made of sustainably harvested corn and is completely compostable.
At the LJ Design Institute last week a question from the audience got me thinking – the question was whether or not using digital signage, specifically LCD panels, were an energy efficient option and a waste reducing option (the idea being less paper would be used to announce programs, etc.)
The hive mind in the room came up with the answer that LED panels would be more energy efficient than LCD, that yes, it would reduce the amount of paper used and that there was a definite hip factor to the application of digital signage in libraries.
It got me thinking about something I heard at the PLA Conference at the Top Tech Tips panel discussion about QR-Codes – these cute squares of connection can be used by owners of smartphones to link to more information. Evidently stores use these, posting them by the front door so customers can connect with sale information or the online version of the store through their phone.
Libraries could make use of these as well for program announcements, posting of hours, board meetings or build them into a program – thinking of something like a scavenger hunt using clues found through the QR-Codes….
For now you can play with QR-Codes using this free QR-Code generator. Stick one in your email signature, post one on your library’s front door and gauge reaction – as more patrons use smartphones the more potential there is to connect virtually with them.
Libraries have a lot of policies to contend with – patron code of conduct, personnel, and oh-so-many more – so it is understandable that not many libraries have adopted green or sustainability policies.
In the grand tradition of learning from others take a look at how other industries are stating their commitment to “be green” – is this part of their marketing ploys? Why yes, of course. But there is a smidge of hope in all of this, someone, somewhere in these companies does actually care about this stuff and is assigned to work on it I’m sure:
- FujiFilm: “At Fujifilm we are working to shrink our carbon footprint and water footprint, use natural resources and packaging materials more efficiently, and minimize waste generation and environmental risk.”
- Loews Hotels & Resorts: “committed to being environmentally responsible and will make steady, measured progress in our efforts. We will seek every reasonable opportunity to incorporate “green” standards and practices into all aspects of our business. We will identify and mandate specific brand-wide practices that embrace our responsibility and we will make prudent investments in technologies and programs that will allow us to do good and do well at the same time.”
- Google’s Green Employee Program – can I just say: “Wow.”
Here are two examples of a green policy. The first, from a public library, is a great example of trying to create a comprehensive approach to greening the institution. The second, from an academic library, is more like a mission statement to allow the organization to address the issue. Both give license to the leaders of the organization to pursue greening the library and allow them to promote a commitment to greening to their internal and external audiences.