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The aim is to be plastic-free, to see equipment reconditioned and reused, to build public awareness of ecological issues as well as save paper… All around the world libraries are going green.

The book industry is going green, and not just in publishing houses or bookstores. For seven consecutive years, the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA), founded in Edinburgh in 1927, has handed out the “Green Library Award,” sponsored by German publishing house Walter de Gruyter GmbH. 

But what exactly does the term “green library” encompass?  With Singapore’s National Library Board taking the Best Green Library 2022 award, Paris’s Médiathèque de la Canopée La Fontaine was awarded the Best Green Library Project 2022, it involves several aspects. Starting with the quality of the material. The media library located in the very heart of the city has chosen to abandon the use of plastic for protectively covering some of its books (especially those with a short lifespan such as magazines). 

An in-house garden, recycling books and more

The library has also created a “grainothèque”, a seed library housed within a piece of furniture made only from recycled materials, with small envelopes in which visitors can help themselves and deposit their seeds.

The media library has also considered the fate of books that leave the establishment for good, by making sure that the books are given free of charge to associations or recycling companies. It also aims to raise awareness among its visitors: on its website, for example, there is a “green library ideas” tab, with articles explaining in detail the principles of their eco-responsible approach.

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Other green libraries around the world

National Library building in Singapore
Singapore’s National Library Board won the Best Green Library 2022 award. (Photo: National Library Singapore)

This year, another French library featured on the IFLA’s longlist: TOURC’H Médiathèque Mouezh ar gallon in France’s Finistère department in the Breton region. It was singled out for its shared garden aimed at developing biodiversity. 

Meanwhile, in the list of finalists for the Green Library Award, a library in Jette, Belgium, was spotted thanks to its Plantotek project, which enables visitors to adopt a plant. The Valente Branch Library in Boston, USA, focuses on the building’s energy consumption and has implemented a whole range of measures to reduce energy expenses: a tank to collect rainwater and flush toilets, geothermal wells, native and drought-resistant plants, etc. 

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