From architectural features like green roofs and carbon-neutral buildings to recycling e-waste and the provision of seed libraries, libraries globally are involved in an array of green activities and practices to support the environment and sustainability in their communities. This presentation shares important elements from The Greening Libraries Report, funded by ALIA and developed by the presenters, to explore what Australian libraries are doing to be more green. The research team reviewed published literature on the topic and examined library websites to develop a literature review and case studies identifying challenges and highlighting exemplary practices in Australian public, national, and academic libraries. We also used the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) to frame the discussion on more comprehensive sustainability practices related to diversity and social equity.
The report revealed growing interest in greening practices in different types of libraries around the world, and that sustainability is a priority in our field. From developing eco-friendly policies to playing an educative role by offering environmental literacy classes, the greening of libraries takes place in different ways depending on the community and type of library. For example, Noosa Library Services promotes sustainability through the Noosa Seed Library, which is a joint initiative with Permaculture Noosa and the Cooroy Community Permaculture Garden, funded by the Queensland Government and the State Library of Queensland. Library members can borrow seeds to plant, grow, and harvest produce, and are also encouraged to harvest seeds and return them to the library for other members to use. The National Library of Australia is committed to the ACT’s Environmental Policy and uses that to improve environmental sustainability across all operations and embed sustainable development principles into major projects. A designated person oversees the implementation of the policies and monitors progress and reporting of key points in the policy. The six libraries across Charles Sturt University’s campuses have a similar focus with the university-wide Learning in Future Environments (LiFE) Framework, which benchmarks, evaluates and identifies areas for improvement to shape Charles Sturt's sustainability action plan. LiFE underlies processes and procedures throughout the library, including sustainable ICT and procurement and supplier engagement, and LiFE principles are embedded into annual performance plans for senior staff. The Grove Library near Perth in Western Australia was one of the first public buildings in the country to integrate environmentally sustainable design features like salvaging 80% of the demolished building. Woollahra Libraries, located in the eastern suburbs of Sydney, has a strong focus on supporting gardening and green concepts in the community, with a quite literal example being the large garden wall within their Double Bay Branch. They also support the Council’s Garden Awards with school holiday programs and an e-reading list to help novice and expert gardeners.
In addition to examples from these case studies, specific recommendations featured in the report and the literature will be shared during the presentation so delegates will leave with some greening ideas for their own libraries.

Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2022
EventALIA National Conference 2022 - Canberra Convention Centre, Canberra, Australia
Duration: 16 May 202219 May 2022
https://www.alia.org.au/conference (Conference website)


ConferenceALIA National Conference 2022
Abbreviated titleDiversity
OtherALIA provides the platform as a meeting point for all Library and Information professionals, from all sectors and all areas of Australia and the international community. The National Conference provides unparalleled opportunities to become stronger as professionals and as an industry with engaging programs and a forum to collaborate, network and build partnerships amongst our colleagues, peers, industry leaders and corporate partners.
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