Green Libraries Are More Than Just Buildings

By Aulisio, George J. | Electronic Green Journal, January 1, 2013 | Go to article overview

Green Libraries Are More Than Just Buildings


Aulisio, George J., Electronic Green Journal


Abstract

Many colleges and universities across the United States have adopted sustainability in their curriculum and operations. Academic libraries need to support the mission of their university and therefore must also play their part in sustainability education and operations. The library and information science literature makes it appear that the hallmark of a "green library" is an environmentally friendly building. There are very few academic libraries in the United States that are LEED certified. The author argues that a green library is something more than just the architecture. By using example initiatives and providing recommendations for green library operations, it can be determined that a green library does not necessarily entail a green building, but it does involve a green mission.

Defining green libraries

The phrase "green library" is prevalent in library circles and seems to pervade the library and information science literature; for examples, see Antonelli (2008) and Brown (2003). Although the wealth of literature on how academic libraries contribute to sustainability, the phrase "green library" colloquially refers to a library building that is certified as an environmentally friendly building. This trend implies that a green building is a necessary qualification for a library to be considered a "green library." According to the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE), as of 2013, there are thirteen LEED certified academic libraries in the United States (AASHE, 2013), a U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) certification that stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. The certification serves as a way to "provide building owners and operators with a framework for identifying and implementing practical and measurable green building design, construction, operations and maintenance solutions" (USGBC, n.d.). The exclusivity of the term "green library" is an unfortunate side effect of the allure of a new and environmentally friendly building. A likely unintentional implication, it is still harmful to those libraries that are serious about sustainability and are working to incorporate it into their mission despite the building they are housed in. A green library is not an exclusive club for those fortunate enough to have LEED certification. The author proposes that we shiftthe trend and use the term "green library" to refer to any library that promotes sustainability through education, operations, and outreach.

In their comprehensive literature review, Jankowska and Marcum (2010) identify four major areas of environmental and sustainable issues in the library literature: "(1) Sustainability of scholarship and collections; (2) Green library operations and practices; (3) Green library buildings; and (4) Measuring and improving sustainability" (p. 161). I posit that a true green library is one that promotes sustainability by leading by example and attempts to incorporate sustainability into all aspects of academic librarianship. By engaging in these activities, librarians can support an ethical and academic mission of working within a sustainable lifestyle that will fully envelope their campus and beyond.

The importance of learning about sustainability

Sustainability is "meeting the needs of present generations without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs" (United Nations, 1987). Educating students about the importance of sustainability can be found in the curriculum and operations of many colleges and universities across the United States (National Council for Science and the Environment, 2003; Wright, 2002). As of this writing, 665 College and University presidents have signed the American College and University Presidents' Climate Commitment (President's Climate Commitment, 2012). The commitment states that, "colleges and universities must exercise leadership in their communities and throughout society by modeling ways to minimize global warming emissions, and by providing the knowledge and the educated graduates to achieve climate neutrality" ("Commitment Text," n. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Green Libraries Are More Than Just Buildings
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

    Already a member? Log in now.