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(2013) - Library High Tech News, Hot off the Press (10): "Libraries going...green" : "

Article publié dans : Library Hi Tech News, Vol. 30 Iss: 9

Hot off the Press! is a column dedicated to new trends and tendencies in information technologies and social networking with a note of the items’ value to technologies in libraries. Also mentioned in the column are new books on topics such as mobile computing, social networking, and even novels with a focus on technology. Also highlighted are some technology blogs, websites, archived webinars, movies with a technology theme, and more. The main topic for this issue is about “Libraries going…green!”.

Libraries going… green!

That was one of the main topic of the IFLA World Library and Information Congress (WLIC) 2013 held in Singapore during last August. Monday 19th of August was declared the “Green Library Day” with a special day event at the Central Library, part of the National Library Board of Singapore. ENSULIB (IFLA - Environmental Sustainability and Libraries Special Interest Group) was at the origin of this event: the scope of  the group is to take in consideration the role of humanity in climate change and the notion of sustainable development which are core concerns of society, and consequently of libraries [1]. The “Green Library Day” was conceived as a workshop with several lectures and a visit to the Green Library for Kids "My Tree House". Two lectures were of special interest. Elina Kariova from the School of Business and Information Management, Oulu University of Applied Sciences, Oulu, Finland, spoke about “How to evaluate libraries' sustainability? An approach to an evaluation model and indicators” [2]. According to her “it is necessary to understand library’s recycling role in society and its sustainable development”. The Oulu University of Applied Sciences is planning to create an evaluate model and indicators of sustainable development for libraries. Sustainable areas taken into consideration could be: space, green IT, strategies, collection management, location and environmental awareness of both public and staff. For example, users should be offered recycling points for books and waste, staff should be committed to sustainability and communicate their awareness. Library strategies should include a sustainable point of view. As a result of this project, a specific libraries’ environmental label and auditing system could be developed which would increase environmental awareness among staff and customers and would make libraries greener, more sustainable, which is the ultimate objective.

Another paper was given by Susmita Chakraborty from the Bengal Engineering and ScienceUniversity, Shibpur, India and untitled „Going green or not: realities of the Indian metropolis libraries” [3]. As India is fighting severe problems, e.g. pollution explosion, dwindling resources, illiteracy, poverty, unemployment, threats of terrorism, among others, some Indian libraries try to give an answer and star to have provisions for natural lights as much as possible, energy saving bulbs in the reading rooms and other places within library premises, provision of natural air, emphasis on cleanliness, hygienic toilets, adequate provision of waste bins at appropriate places, proper disposal policies for weeded library materials/equipments, etc. The paper  presents the report of a survey of some important libraries in the four metropolises (Kolkata, Mumbai, Delhi and Chennai) of India. Just one short remark : isn’t it  the time to look at what  happens in the Southern parts of the world and not only in the North ?

My tree house - World's 1st green library for kids [4]

One highlight of the WLIC Conference was for sure the presentation and the visit of “My Tree House” by Lin Li Soh and Wan Ni Lo from the Central Public Library, National Library Board of Singapore.  The National Library Board, Singapore (NLB) and City Developments Limited (CDL) unveiled the World’s 1st Green Library for Kids named “My Tree House” on 31 May 2013. This green library is housed at the Central Public Library (CTPL) located within the National Library Building in Singapore. It is steered by green principles in all facets from design, infrastructure and use of sustainable materials, to collections and programming. As LL Soh said « “My Tree House” is a unique green library purposefully conceptualised, constructed and operated with environmental sustainability in mind. The library was designed to create an enchanted forest ambience with fun spaces for hands-on learning and reflections ». The centrepiece is a tree house structure constructed with recyclable materials. The components comprise, but are not limited to, aluminium cans, plastic bottles and some fibreglass. Low VOC (which stands for Low Volatile Compound) paints and adhesives were used on the walls; and the manufactured carpet tiles are greenhousegas-free, containing up to 70 percent recyclable materials with no glue required for installation. Energy-efficient LED lighting, which enhances user comfort with less overhead glare, requires less maintenance and has a greener manufacturing process, is used throughout the library. The library is now hosting 45,000 books. Existing bookshelves were re-used and revamped by adding some exciting forms and features using boards, also recyclable. About 30 percent of these books focus on green topics such as animals, plants, nature, water resources, environment and climate change.

Greening your library

For those who want to continue with the idea of libraries going green, here are a few blogs, websites or books dedicated to the topic. Beth, owner of http://greeningyourlibrary.wordpress.com/ since 2008, is both a librarian and a person deeply concerned by Earth: “This blog lists ideas, practices, tools, and techniques to help green libraries, librarians, and the communities they serve – possibly saving money or even raising money too ». Some examples of what Beth recently posted : « on Sept. 21, a bike library launched this summer in Denver, CO.  Called DPL Connect has WiFI and books.  The biking librarian can help users with research, digital downloads, reading suggestions, or sign them up for a library card ». On the 1st of August, it was about what she called „ a cool book „ : „Teens Go Green!  Tips, Techniques, Tools and Themes for YA Programming » by Valerie Colston (Libraries Unlimited Professional guides for Young Adult Librarians Series 2011).  The book offers ideas for librarians on environmentally themed art projects that are also low cost., practical and hands-on to engage youth. The book starts with Part 1: Going Green, offering basic ideas on resources and supplies, tips on working with teens and art, along with promoting and marketing the programs and ideas. Part II: Art Programs and Projects takes up most of the book offering art project ideas with illustrations, purpose, topics, costs, age level, required material, programming related activities, timeframe, and ties to technology, with lots of extra resources lists too.

We leave Beth, and continue our tour with Greenlibraries.org  (http://greenlibraries.org/),“a website dedicated to documenting the greening of libraries in North America”. The site contains a growing list of libraries that are constructing green buildings. It also contains a list of resources to help people make their libraries more green and sustainable. There are currently 42 green libraries listed in the directory web pages. Among them: the Seattle Public Library, the Blair Library in Fayetteville, or the North Adams Public Library and so on. What is remarkable in this directory is that most of the libraries concerned by becoming green are public libraries, and are not always “big libraries”. The directory gives an alphabetical list and each library has its own photo facing a short notice explaining why it is considered as a green library. For example, the Oaklyn Branch Library in Evansville, IN, opened in the spring of 2003, is built into the side of a  hill and has a flat 17,250-square-foot green roof. The soil from the hill helps the library stay cooler in summer and warmer in winter and the run off water from the roof drains into a rain garden. (Building information: http://www.evpl.org/aboutus/locations/oa/greenroof.aspx).

The Santa Monica Public Library, CA, is described with features including underground parking, solar electric panels, and a storm water management system used to irrigate the drought resistant landscape. More than 50% of the building materials contain significant recycled content.  Also includes low-flow restroom faucets and toilets, and the state's first approved no water urinals. Received LEED Gold certification. Building information:  http://smpl.org/sustainability. The directory is also for Canada libraries, and maybe one day we will have a worldwide directory.

Another interesting website is Go Green for libraries in Illinois (http://www.gogreenila.info/) [5] giving a lot of information such as a map of Go Green Illinois Resources, a list of links, and various (educational)  tools : a ToolBox, Learn from the Past, or Start with your library colleagues. And to end this column, I choosed this sentence : “Creating a Green Illinois means changing the ways that we relate to each other. By strengthen”. So true ! And one last question : is your library green ?

Jean-Philippe Accart

[1]  http://www.ifla.org/about-environmental-sustainability-and-libraries

[2] http://library.ifla.org/114/1/115b-karioja-en.pdf

[3] http://library.ifla.org/113/1/115b-chakraborty-en.pdf

[4] http://library.ifla.org/122/1/115b-soh-en.pdf and http://www.nccs.gov.sg/e-newsletter/issue06/ask-dr-green.html

[5] This website was developed by the Illinois Library Association in coordination with The Field Museum's division of Environment, Culture, and Conservation (ECCo), with funding from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity.



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