Article: recycling old buildings into libraries

ifla_journal_imageThis IFLA Journal (from Sage Journals) article called The second hand library building: Sustainable thinking through recycling old buildings into new libraries, written by Petra Hauke and Klaus Ulrich Wener (Of Berlin School of Library and Information Science, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Germany) discusses the debatable topic of tearing down old buildings to build “green” or transforming existing buildings – perhaps not libraries – into sustainable library buildings.  Recycling older buildings can be challenging  but reduces the ecological footprint!  The article discusses some best practices and case studies gleaned  from Germany and other European counties. The article includes some photos of interesting redesign too.

It also covers the important aspect of educating LIS student’s in sustainable building design  “so that the new generation of librarians will adopt the ideas and goals of sustainability in library buildings through recycling old buildings for excellent library use.” [page 64] The Berlin School for Library and Information Science has a  seminar course called “Turning a book from idea to realization” where the students pick a topic in LIS, solicit authors, peer review the articles, and get them ready to print by an open access publisher! They have now published a few books on library buildings including “Secondhand but excellent! The Reuse of old buildings for library use” [find in German on Amazon | open access online in German]

Read the article to find out more! and what a great idea  – wonder if other library schools are offering this real world experience for their students!

Green Library Article in Online Magazine

In Online magazine‘s (by Information Today) March/April 2010 (vo 34, no 2)  publication, there is an article titled “Libraries Taking the LEED: Green Libraries Leading in Energy and Environmental Design” written by Frederick Stoss – a leader in the green libraries area.  The article discusses a little of the history of libraries being environmentally responsible, explains LEED certification, gives some examples of sustainable library resources/databases (including EBSCO’s GreenFILE and Gale’s GREENR), contains a nice green libraries glossary, and offers some programming ideas and professional resources.  There are several great blogs, wikis, and websites listed (though my blog wasnt one of them) most of which I have blogged about in the past  – such as the Alliance Library System’s Going Green Blog, Monika Antonelli’s GreenLibraries directory, and  Maria Jankowska’s Electronic Green Journal just to name a few.  This article is worth a read so check it out and pass it on!

Academic Library Article

Academic Librarians – be sure to read the article in March 2010 College and Research Libraries journal by Maria Anna Jankowska and James W. Marcum called Sustainability Challenge for Academic Libraries: Planning for the Future

There is growing concern that a variety of factors threaten the sustainability of academic libraries: developing and preserving print and digital collections, supplying and supporting rapidly changing technological and networking infrastructure, providing free services, maintaining growing costs of library buildings, and lowering libraries’ ecological footprint. This paper discusses the multidimensional issues of sustainability in academic libraries and identifies needs for designing an integrated framework for sustainable strategies in academic libraries. Additionally, the paper presents a synthesis of existing literature on the increasingly popular topic of “green libraries” and prepares a background toward developing a framework for sustainable strategies in academic libraries.

Paper or Plastic … or reusable

Do you give out bags with checked out items at the library? Plastic? Paper? Reusable with the library logo?  A recent article in the WSJ takes a look at the factors of all types of bags and provides some good data and explanations of paper vs plastic debate. here is the chart from the article that simplifies the concepts:


(a personal comment on resuable bags and forgetting them:  its just about making it a  habit, like remembering your wallet.  keeping one of the many bags we get free at library conferences in your car OR get a small one (like these!) to keep in your backpack or purse would make it easy too remember!)

Green Library Movement Article

Check out this fabulous, peer reviewed, and well researched article written by Monika Antonelli (see also her web site: called “The Green Library Movement: An Overview and Beyond” It’s available online for free through the Electronic Green Journal.

The creation of green libraries is approaching a tipping point, generating a Green Library Movement, which is comprised of librarians, libraries, cities, towns, college and university campuses committed to greening libraries and reducing their environmental impact. Constructing a green library building using a performance standard like LEED is a way some libraries are choosing to become green and sustainable. Environmental challenges like energy depletion and climate change will influence the type of information resources and programs libraries will provide to their communities.

Green Fireworks News

Not directly library related but in honor of the 4th of July weekend, you can read about future possible “green” fireworks from this Science Daily article: “researchers are developing more environmentally friendly fireworks and flares to light up the night sky while minimizing potential health risks”

It actually refers to another more detailed article by Bethany Halford, Pyrotechnics For The Planet: Chemists seek environmentally friendlier compounds and formulations for fireworks and flares. Chemical & Engineering News, June 30 2008 (here is the direct link)

Too Much Green Noise?

There is a really good recent article in New York Times on green noise or green fatigue. The overloading of how to be green or more environmentally friendly is seen everywhere nowadays, along with the overwhelming amount of information, and the need to simplify the message (a cheat sheet on going green?). Some people are beginning to roll their eyes over “not another green message” and others are feeling too overwhelmed to even know where to start, along with many mixed messages on which is the greener option. There is no simple answer unfortunately. But hopefully the greening of our world is not just a fad and hopefully it will not result in too much “green burnout” either. Some groups are trying to simplify greening and allow tiers of information to be shared (such as NRDC’s Simple Steps Blog) so you can choose tidbits or follow up with more information in areas as you wish.

This greening your library blog’s goal is to find environmentally friendly ideas, news, and links from all the green noise that is out there, which can be relevant to some type of library and post that information in a short, simple manner. You can read every post or choose to search on a topic of interest to you at the time. Hopefully that will help you avoid some green burnout and supply you with some easy, money saving, fun solutions to implement in your library. Check out the NYT article for more on this era of green noise.