Sign up now!! online course for academic librarians on forming library action plan for sustainable engagement

Sign up now!  For the Library Juice Academy  online two week workshop focusing on the role of the academic librarian in the sustainability movement:   The Sustainability Movement on Campus: Forming a Library Action Plan for Engagement.  This workshops ( for .75 credits/$90 )  will guide you  through a practical process for becoming actively engaged in sustainable activities on your campus with reading assignments, exercises, and participation in a forum to connect and inspire. Topics  include: “Temperature Check” of Your Institution, Finding Your Allies, Library as Common Space, and Bridge Building Tools.   The wonderful  instructor Madeleine Charney is the  Sustainability Studies Librarian at the University of Massachusetts Amherst who has presented at the   Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education Conference – “Getting Closer: The Librarian, the Curriculum and the Office of Sustainability; ”  and this  past year she co-facilitated  (with me!) a 4-part webinar series  “Libraries for Sustainability.”

Bike Fixtation … @your library?

What a great idea:  The  Uptown Transit Station in Minneapolis offers this first  Bike Fixtation – a public bike workstation, with vending machine of bike parts, tubes, patch kits, as well as drinks, power bars, sunscreen, lights, etc. There is also air available and a stand to work on your bike. Chad DeBaker developed this awesome Bike Fixtation  for the price of $7700 – not bad for a college campus or community library!  Read more about it and view more image in the adventure journal or contact to get one for your library.

CFL bulb myths

Recently this email was sent around my library that started out like this … ” I turned it on the other day and then smelled smoke after a few minutes. Four inch flames were spewing out of the side of the ballast like a blow torch! I immediately turned off the lights. But I’m sure it would have caused a fire if I was not right there. Imagine if the kids had left the lights on as usual when they were not in the room. ….” As a librarian I know it is important to check your sources so I asked our university Sustainability Coordinator about these emails.  First, the email is false – it’s listed verbatim and debunked on (a great place to go to check out these type of email/urban myths). But he also shared some other information about CFLs:

“If one looks at the lifecycle analysis of CFLs versus incandescents, one sees that incandescents cause more mercury (almost 4X more) to be emitted into the environment over their lives than CFLs.  This is due to the mercury emitted during the electricity-generation process. (check out this Frequently Asked Questions Information on Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs (CFLs) and Mercury pdf  from November 2010 for more information).  This doesn’t address what happens in a discrete (home) environment, however.  CFLs can be finicky – they should definitely not be used with dimmers unless they are SPECIFICALLY LABELED DIMMER-CAPABLE.  I’ve read mixed results about CFLs in can lights – if the temperature around the CFL is too high, it can burn out prematurely.”

And dealing with burned out CFL bulbs, find proper recycling and disposal location(EPA suggestions or search locally pm Earth911).  Home Depot stores offer receptacles for CFLs as often do Lowes. Some campuses now collect them as well.


– Thanks Trey for your advice and expertise!

Bottled Water continued …

The NYT today has piece on bottled water.  I love the opening stat….

Drinking 8 glasses of water a day costs you: $.49 a year from the tap$1,4000 a year from bottled

Pay more, produce more waste, and more industrial emissions to encourage more  climate change!

Though people seem to disagree w/ this idea,  studies show most tap water is fine to drink, and bottled water has no set regulations so you could be getting poorer quality of water from that than your tap … or… getting the same water from your tap but paying for it in plastic bottle!   The biggest reason why people buy bottled water – LAZINESS –  HABIT! yup, it’s easier in the grab a bottle than bring your own refillable. Bottled water wasn’t around much before the 1980s and we weren’t dying of thirst, I think we can handle it again.  Also note in the US producing bottled water consumes 17 million barrels of oil annually. conserve water and oil!

No matter your age, you can make a difference.  There are movements on some campus that are student driven to ban water.  Seattle U and U of Wisconsin and other colleges will be banning bottled water on campus.Go students!  Or check out this story about a the octogenarian who has been pushing to ban bottle water in Concord!

Did you know…. 86% of plastic water bottles end up in the garbage?

What can your library do? start by stopping to offer bottled water altogether. Sell reusable water bottles w/ your library logo and have a filling tap on your water foundations or a large jug of water at events. Educate people. Show the film Tapped.  Embed the Story of Bottle Water video on your website. other ideas?

Campus Sustainability Online Discussion Forums

AASHE (assoc for advancement of sustainability in higher education) recently created these Campus Sustainability Discussion Forums to ask questions and get answers or idea from others on greening your campuses. There are 17 forum topics: co-curricular education, curriculum, research, buildings, climate, dining services, energy, grounds, purchasing, transportation, water, waste, coordination and planning, diversity and affordability, human resources, investment, and public engagement.

Greening of the Campus VIII

The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) in conjunction with Ball State University is hosting the eight biennial Greening of the Campus conference with the theme Embracing Change Sept 20-24, 2009 in Indianapolis, IN. Early Bird Registration deadline August  14, 2009.  Check out the registration feesschedule and the keynote speakers. The conference will offer pre and post conference events, an expo “the green campus exposition,” evening receptions and all conference proceedings will be published in CD form only to minimize paper printing.

Bicycle Lending Library

Alfred University (NY) will check out bicycles to students, faculty and staff starting fall 2009 “just as they would a book at Herrick Library.”   For a nominal fee ($3 for two days and $5 for a week)  users can borrow and return one of the 20 Fuji hybrid bikes, after filling out a usage and liability form – and can take a bike lock and helmet as well. Money raised will be used to sustain the program by covering repair and maintenance costs. The program –  started by a student Ian Cramer who loves biking and hopes to provide access to others to enjoy riding as well as be green –  received  $10,000 in funding from the AU Student Senate to purchase the bikes. Space at campus gym (no, not the library!) will serve as the rental and maintenance shop, where the fleet of bicycles will be stored

Green @ the library

Our Green Library Group came up with a list of ways to be green @the library to tell students (& promote the library) in honor Earth Day. We created a bookmark with the ideas (which also promotes our sustainable film series):


Save Gas. Talk to your librarian online.
Buy Local—Borrow Local. Why pay for your books when they are available for free?
Do the Commute Challenge. Bike lanes and buses end right in front of the library.
Unplug. (and visit the library.) We’re open 24 hours and paying the heat and electricity anyway. Ditch your utility bills for ours.
Want a cheap night out? Come see a (free) sustainable film.
Save a Tree. Ask your professor about emailing your paper or uploading it to blackboard.
Don’t pay for entertainment. Borrow movies from the TLC (5,000+ popular DVDs for free)
Get exercise. Climb up nine floors of Jackson Library.
Stop your junk mail, catalogs and magazines. The library has them in the Reading Room.

Students exercise to generate power for campus

Oregon State University (3/4 of their power is from renewable sources already) is harnessing the energy of exercise machines from students working out, to generate and convert it to electricity and to feed it back into the power grid. The effort will produce an estimated 3,500 kilowatt hours of electricity in a year. It’s the first university to do this. Check out the full article. Hmmm, a  library’s electronic resources and servers powered by exercise?  Multitasking at its (greenest)  best.

Sustainability is a campus buzzword

The Kept-Up Academic Librarian notes in a recent blog post that going green can improve more than just a carbon footprint; it’s seen as fundamental and an incentive to students, parents, and even potential donors. The post refers to an article called Planet Earth 101 (from that mentions sustainable initiatives and programs on various college campuses.  More and more of these initiatives, endowments, institutes, degree programs, and campus pledges to be sustainable are occurring on college campuses (many of them student driven) creating competition amongst these institutions. Students are starting to demand more green credibility from colleges and this will continue to increase as environmental issues become more mainstream.

Don’t get left behind in the library – promote your sustainable practices, such as access to electronic resources (less paper), online tutorials (learn from wherever you are), chat services(ask for help without driving to the library), etc.