Libraries are among the original “green” institutions–collections of book have been used and reused throughout history. Today, we recycle and reuse more than just books.
Since we switched to duplex printing, we’ve saved amazing amounts of paper–between 5,000-6,000 sheets per week (more than a box of paper)! Scanning from the copiers has reduced the amount of paper even more. We also added motion sensors on the lights in the Great Room so that the lights switch off when no one moves in the room within 20 minutes; the lights no longer stay on all night as they had in the past. We recycle batteries and projector lamps. All of the projectors and LCD screens in the law school now have timers so that equipment is off at night.
We’ve also changed how we distribute documents, using PDF attachments with email, rather than printing or copying. We’re moving more of our research aids to online formats, such as our series of LibGuides. Most of our databases are available off-campus, allowing you–our students and faculty–to use them anywhere you have Internet access.
Individually, many of us go green in small ways that collectively make a big difference. Instead of printing library-related and other professional articles, we read them online or save them to peruse later. For example, one librarian uses the Instapaper web service to save readable versions of web articles and Dropbox to save PDF versions of articles, to read anywhere, anytime. We shut off our computers at night and turn off our lights.
We might use a mug from home, wash and reuse our flatware for lunch and carry a reusable lunch bag.
You can help too. Use the bins throughout the library to recycle paper and to recycle bottles and cans. We can all pitch in to make the library even greener!