DIY Crafts & Upcycling

Maybe not really “Green Library” related but I love the idea of reuse and art projects.  Anyone with a Makerspace in your library should really check out these ideas.  Care2 has a great post about upcylcing and art projects that could be fun for any library:

10 DIY Crafts for Old Altoids Tins (oh the miniature zen gardens are a fabulous idea)

25 Ways to Upcycle Old T-Shirts (the t-shirt to yoga pants – awesome!)

24 ways to reuse old sweaters (I think the sweater skirt would be easy enough for me to do)

15 Ways to Reuse Old Pillowcases (I like the pillowcase belt, but I think my cat wants the hammock)

and of course…

20 upcyclying idea for BOOKS from picture frame to a purse to a tablet cover and more… get creative @your library





How Can I Recycle This?

Really, anything can be reused or repurposed.  This blog – How Can I Recycle This?  –  offers over 900 items and over 14,000 suggestions of ways to reuse, repurpose or recycle things that would otherwise go in the bin! Check it out, search for most anything and find creative and useful ideas for recycling!  From VHS tapes to crock pots to old lentils to  house keys.  Search and explore or share your own ideas.  You can also follow them on twitter.

art from old books

check out these beautiful art pieces created from discarded books by an Australian artist Kylie Stillman. Kylie carves trees out of old books —  Kind of ironic that trees are used to create books that are now used to create images of tree within them!  Check out more images on or check out Kylie Stillman’s website!

(also check out more about blog, recycling search, or their state by state resources)


Looking for purchasing reusable items for your library or personal life? Check out the site is the place to go for  shopping for reusable items like bamboo utensil sets, water bottles, glass straws, and many types of reusable bags to name a few. The items are filled with user reviews too.  Formally know as® which initially pushed the idea of reusable shopping bags and raising the awareness of the plastic bag problem in the world, they also give 1% of our sales – more than $180,000 to date – to organizations devoted to the preservation & restoration of our natural environment. Read more about their team. Beyond shopping Reuseit offers places to learn more about our country’s over-consumption problem and how to be a better eco-citizen, with buying guides, myth busters and fact sheets.  There is also a take action section with info on DIY, campaigns, getting involved and more.

85 reasons to be thankful for librarians

This fun and useful list of 85 reasons to be thankful for librarians may not seem green or sustainable related but there are few key points that show how libraries are green:   #16, #39, #40, and  #41 mentions libraries’ online resources & digital libraries – don’t need to travel and can access from anywhere again and again and again; #22, #37 and #82 mention free DVDs, book exchanges, reading books w/o spending a dime – reuse, reuse, reuse; and of course  #56.Libraries provide free and abundant knowledge to everyone”

So market your library and show how libraries are naturally “green!”

– thanks Louise Baker, writer for Zen College Life Blog

Rebound Designs: reusing books

At ALA in June, I wandered past a cool exhibitor & very friendly entrepreneur of  Rebound Designs  – Caitlin Phillips. Caitlin takes old books and creates beautiful and useful art from them!  Her main creations are these way cool book purses but she also creates wallets, and Naughty Bits Pins, and more.  You can read or listen to the NPR interview about how she  got this idea and how she creates these artful reused book purses.  Purchase one of Caitlin’s pieces from etsy – or if you are in the DC area, she is at Eastern Market in DC most weekends. Also follow her on twitter @bookgrrl to hear what her latest creation may be.

More Recycling…

This blog I subscribe to How Can I Recycle This? is a great place to check out recycling ideas of all kinds: from gadgets (How can I reuse or recycle broken digital cameras & MP3 players? ) to art (How can I make a notebook out of recycled materials?) Have something odd at your library you want to discard – why not search their site and see what is suggested as a way to reuse or recycle it or add your own ideas.  If nothing else, it’s fun to see how creative people are!


I just discovered a Web site called It’s a FREE place where you can list, trade, swap, and choose books, DVDs, CDs, and video games. From reading the FAQs, it appears Swaptree really is free and easy. You add your items (UPC or ISBN), let their algorithm determine the trade, then print the mailing label (you dont pay for the mail costs either), and then choose what you want in return for the trade. Wonder if this is worth checking out for libraries? A great thing for a student worker or quality volunteer to look into for you. Perhaps you can get other items for you library in return (such as that CD or DVD the library once own that got scratched or lost by your customers?)

Recycling Old Computer Equiptment

Be green with your old computer equipment (hard drives, monitors, printers, etc.) when you are getting new ones. There are several options:

  • Can you keep your computer a year longer than the average 3 year rotation?
  • Try donating it (and writing it off on taxes!). Many schools, non-profits, and charities will take computers refurbished by these recycling/refurbishing companies. Find ideas and lists here:
  • Buy only from a computer company who will take back your old computer (such as Dell and Sony for FREE!). The Computer Take Back Campaign has a great PDF document that lists these details for you.