Greening libraries: Sustainability in libraries

Group members: Jane Garner, Kasey Garrison, Sabine Wardle, Karen Bell & Sarah Redshaw

This project was funded by the Australian Library and Information Association and conducted by CSU academics Jane Garner, Kasey Garrison, Sabine Wardle, Karen Bell & Sarah Redshaw has led to the publication of the Greening Libraries Report*. The report explores how libraries in Australia and beyond support sustainability in their communities, and identifies six library case studies with exemplary green practices. It finishes with a list of recommendations for how other libraries can use these practices in their contexts.

Greening Libraries was framed by the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals and the six SDGs shown below are of particular relevance to this project. 

United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals that framed the study

Due to COVID restricting the ability of the research team in visiting libraries to gather data, the team had to rely heavily on publicly available information on websites and social media to develop case studies focussed on the following six libraries.

Library ServiceLocationTypeNotable Green Practices
Woollahra LibrariesNSWUrban PublicCommunity green collaborations with the Environment Team
Noosa Library ServicesQLDRegional PublicShared community seed library
The Grove LibraryWAUrban PublicBuilt using Environmentally Sustainable Design
Longwood Public LibraryUSA (NY)PublicCertified as a “Sustainable Library
Charles Sturt University LibraryNSWRegional AcademicLiFE Index to set targets and evaluate performance
National Library of AustraliaACTNationalFocus on the Environmental Policy implemented by the Environmental Management Coordinator

These case studies uncovered a wide range of sustainability practices that can be undertaken by libraries. These have been reported back to the funder in the Greening Libraries Report.

The Greening Libraries Project was funded by the Australian Library and Information Association’s sustainability section ALIA Green and is one of many collaborations with LRG members from CSU’s School of Information and Communication Studies and School of Social Work and Arts.