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Marcos Martinez's picture

Efforts for a "Greener" Library

What are some "green" programs or efforts your library is doing? (Ex. recycle paper, harvest solar energy, host workshops on water conservation for patrons to attend, etc.)

If you would like to share information on what others are doing, that would be great too.

I am interested to know what others are doing, and to make this a great opportunity for members to share and discuss ideas.

Steven Carr's picture

Here in Arlington Virginia, the County government began an initiative called Fresh AIRE to reduce the County's carbon footprint. 

More information here:


Our Central Library has been one of the biggest energy consumers in the inventory of County properties (we're open so many hours, lots of people, etc.).  So we focused on what we could do to reduce our energy consumption.  The results are here:


We also circulate Kill-a-watt meters which are very popular with our customers.  You can plug an appliance into it, and it will detail the energy consumption.


Our Plaza Library in the County office building is also developing a sustainability collection, geared towards helping homeowners improve their energy efficiency, as well as assisting builders and developers in meeting County recommendations for LEED and other energy saving initiatives.

Several of our branches are also drop-off points for compact fluorescent light bulbs...our trash and environmental services have provided secure containers which we fill and call for emptying.  This has proven very popular.

We also have a County Store in which we sell a number of things to promote home energy savings - CFL bulbs, water bottles, grocery bags, trees you can grow from seed...anything to promote the green agenda. 

The Library also invested in training - I have earned a LEED accreditation - one of the first librarians in the country to do so.  This allows me to provide assistance on county projects (we have a number of LEED certified projects finishing up, or in the works) and to be part of the design team for our own new projects (we have a LEED certified branch opening in October).

We've hosted the LJ Design Institute (Going Green) which was an outstanding venue for libraries to learn very practical methods for conserving resources.  (The next one is scheduled for Dallas, TX). 

Amigos has scheduled an online conference on October 7th called "Going Green @ Your Library".  I'll be presenting a session on Sustainable Services: the Heart of Going Green.  This will look at how we can work smarter and conserve our most expensive resource...the human kind!  More information: http://greenlibs.amigos.org/

Steve Carr - LEED-AP, CPM




Marcos Martinez's picture

Steve, those are some very cool things you and your area are doing. Thank you for sharing.



William Lull (non-member)'s picture

Nice precedents, Steve.