Some of what we do is inherently sustainable. We provide a method and process for sharing resources – the University only needs one copy of a book, one subscription to a database, rather than each department or each faculty member collecting their own resources. We even share materials with libraries across the Mid-Atlantic region and even across the country. Our public libraries support sustainable communities by providing these information resources for free or at a low cost, to everyone and anyone. So libraries are a natural fit for participating in sustainability initiatives.
So to think about how we would fit in to sustainability here at Scranton, I started out by thinking about how the Library fits in to the community around us. We play a lot of different roles in both the University community and the Scranton community – we provide space, computers, books, databases, wireless, printing, and specialized expertise. For people in the community, we provide a lot of these same resources, and support the work of the public library with interlibrary loan and cross-borrowing.
So one of our major roles is being a public space on campus. I see two major opportunities for infusing sustainability into this role.
We’re a building, and we’re highly used. During the semester, we’re open 95.5 hours each week, and our Pro Deo room is open 24 hours a day to students – we can fit about 700 users, and we have 37 employees using energy, water, paper, and other resources every day that we’re in the building. We’re a consumer of resources on campus. The library was built in 1992, when energy costs were not much of a concern. We’re five stories and 70,000 square feet of probable inefficiency. So what can we do about all of this?
We can make our building as sustainable as possible. We can -conduct an audit of our energy use-train faculty and staff on recycling paper, containers, cardboard, and used media (CDs)-streamline workflows to reduce paper consumption-encourage staff and faculty to carpool to work-replace toilets -end phantom power-garden – green the roof-purchase sustainably constructed furniture and carpeting-form green team for continual innovation – we need to be constantly rethinking how we can reduce our impact
The other thought I had about the library as space is that with so many students, local patrons, and employees around all the time, it’s a great opportunity to increase everyone’s awareness about sustainability on campus.
So I’d like to get the Library involved in the University’s Earth day events by doing a month-long display of sustainability information at the Library. Books, tips, facts, and a visual display of how much paper is wasted by our UniPrint stations.
So another major role of the Library in the university and local community is as a provider of information resources. In this role, we can help others (like you) infuse sustainability into your work by making sure you have high quality information on the topics that interest you.
Whether those resources are books, media, or databases.
I was thinking during our workshop that the faculty and staff have already done a lot of work finding useful resources on sustainability – and the Library could play a role in helping you help each other, by bringing your sources into one place. One of the projects we’ve been working on lately is a Subject Research Guide wiki, where we can list any good websites or databases we find in one place for students to use.
I’ve started building a Sustainability page on this wiki as a “home” for all of the resources we’ve shared. Since it’s a wiki, all of you are welcome to edit and contribute as you discover new information.
Last but not least, I see another role of the Library as being a home for librarians – who are community members with unique sets of skills that we can bring to the table.
Several of us are local experts in social media and new technology. How can we use this expertise to support sustainability? We can support the faculty sustainability workshop blog. We can also act as consultants on other sustainability media projects.
One of the things I’d like to see the University try would be a building blog for the new science center, describing sustainability features as they’re built in.
Librarians are also scholars, and we can add to scholarly discussions with our research on sustainability in our field. I’ll be presenting on green archives at the Society of American Archivists national meeting in August, and I’m collaborating on a book on the same topic due out next year. So through our work we can continue to spread the message of sustainability to others in our field.
green library, green librarians @kristenyt 2009.06.12
Creative Commons licensed photo, courtesy of StuSeeger
how to get there from here (action plan) Start by providing resources (Fall 2009/Spring 2010) Activate sustainability book budget (immediate) Build wiki and invite participation (Fall 2009) Then use library as space Earth Month displays (Spring 2010?) Build library green team (Fall 2010?) Analyze library building (Spring 2011) Faculty/staff training (Spring 2011) Decrease building footprint (Spring 2011 - ∞) Share expertise Teach archivists about sustainability (Summer 2009) Contribute tech know-how (immediate)
the library as listener …anything else? tweet/ @kristenyt 2009.06.12