Online Learning

Yesterday I tuned into a free webinar offered through WebJunction. What a great way to get some continuing education, even participate, chat, comment, etc. all from your home or office. Though energy is used from the computers, routers, servers, etc. it far outweighs the use of all those dozens of people to physically commute to the location for a workshop.

There are many online learning places, many FREE of charge such as Sirsi Dynix Institutes or  OPAL Programs.  To find more online classes (free or at cost) check out the  Library Success Wiki’s Online Training Resources for Libraries

Green Residence Halls

Not quite library related, but a cool news item I just read:  University of Illinois gets an all green residence hall.  This over 200+ bed dorm offers “geothermal system to heat rooms and water, water-saving plumbing, as well as environmentally friendly lighting and paint.” It was funded by a grant from the Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation.


Is it possible to offer a telecommuting option? Even just a day a week? With the technological advancements we have today, many people could work out of their homes and still connect to the office network. Academics could do research day from home. Many public libraries are starting ebranchs that can be managed at times from home. We even had someone (home with a baby) do cataloging from her house.  With distance education growing, classes can be taught online with many e-resources offered without a physical building or person needing to be local. Try brainstorming others ways to offer telecommuting as an option – maybe not daily (yes, we need staff to run the physical library), but as we move into a more virtual environment, we don’t need everyone everyday driving to the office.

Try public transportation

Encourage library staff to take public transportation (if its an option in your area). Many universities offer such perks as free bus passes for students and staff. One of the aspects I loved about working at the University of Colorado at Boulder was this benefit they called the Eco-Pass. I took the bus to work (even to the airport in Denver) for free, never had to worry about parking or paying to park. I read somewhere that Arizona State in Tempe offers this same benefit. I’m sure other places do as well. If not, think about carpooling. In the end, it saves the individual money, saves the institution from providing more parking facilities, offers a great perk for potential employees, all while cutting back on car emissions.

Additional comment: I just read that offering this transit benefit to employees is tax free under IRS codes!

Library Travel/Reusable Coffee Mugs

On the similar theme as cloth library bags for sale, why not try selling reusable coffee mugs? I know some libraries’ friends groups sell travel type coffee mugs w/ the library logo, raise money, and save the waste of throwing away paper/Styrofoam cups. Did you know switching to a reusable mug for just one day will save as much energy as using 1,000 gallons of gasoline (besides saving wood, carbon dioxide, water, etc) Many coffee places also give a discount to users who bring their own mug.

If you have a coffee shop/station in your library, think about using fair trade, organic coffee as well…. many colleges across the county are getting on board with this idea already due to rallying college students.