Go Green at the library this Libraries Week!

Posted on: 2 October 2023 in Issue 6

Discover how our Libraries are celebrating Libraries Week 2023 by ‘Going Green’ and inspiring learning for all.

The University Libraries team and the Sustainability team are joining forces to take part in a week of activities from 2nd – 8th October to celebrate Libraries Week. Libraries Week is a week-long celebration of the nation’s much-loved libraries, this year the theme is Green Libraries to encourage staff and students to continue working towards being more sustainable and support the climate action cause. Throughout the week we will be encouraging staff and students to be more sustainable with our top tips, book recommendations and giveaways!

How to be sustainable at the Library

We are taught to be conscientious in our studies but it has also become vitally important to be environmentally conscientious. Day to day it can feel like you aren’t making a difference but with every little sustainable action you make – the difference can become seismic. So as a University community, let’s set a good example and make our campus green. Here are our top tips on how you can practice sustainability while in our libraries.

Reusing is just as good recycling

As a student you are always on the go. Library sessions can be made easier with hot cup of coffee or cold bottle of water at your side. We may be preaching to the converted but having a reusable coffee cup or water bottle can drastically minimise environmental waste. We have water fountains and hot water taps located around both libraries so it is easy to re-fill then re-charge while in the middle of a study session.

You can also cut down consumption and re-use by borrowing books from the library instead of buying new books from larger chains! Our libraries house 1000s of books, both for study and leisure so you’ll always find something to read. Be sure to check out the reading displays in the entrances of both the Harold Cohen and Sydney Jones, the library team regularly curate themed reading lists such as Black History Month, LGBTQIA+, Booker Prize shortlist and many more!

Save energy

Getting into easy energy-saving habits is vital whilst in the Library. Some communal spaces may have motion sensor lights but where you have control, remember to switch them off when not needed. Switching off plugs at the socket also prevents energy wastage as items use energy in standby or sleep mode.

Make use of recycling facilities

Students and staff alike use a whole lot of pens. If you were to stack them on top of each other, one by one - it is highly likely they will reach the International Space Station. Therefore, we ask that when you are finished with a pen or if you have a whole bunch exploded at the bottom of your bag – please, dispose of them in our pen recycling stations which are located at the Help Desk of both libraries.

We also have paper recycling bins across both libraries (practically on every corner). So, when you’re frustrated and scrunching that essay into a ball then tossing it away – remember to aim for the correct bin!

The Libby app

A typical paperback book has a carbon footprint equivalent to watching 6 hours of TV. It would be sacrilege to suggest you stop reading books, we would never! On the other hand, we can’t ignore the environmental impact our actions have, even when it comes to reading. But, there is an alternative. The Libby app is a free reading resource that any University of Liverpool student can use. Libby contains e-books, audiobooks, magazines and more. We constantly update Libby with new books, seasonal collections and online versions of our monthly book displays. It is great way to reduce your carbon footprint while finding your own reading happiness. Libby is available to download on both the App Store and Google Play

Visit the Library Garden

Ensuring healthy lives and promoting wellbeing for all is essential to sustainable development, so we always encourage students to study or relax in the outdoor space at the Sydney Jones Library Garden. Being outside amongst nature is proven to reduce stress and relax your mood, so not only is this green space increasing biodiversity on campus, it is also contributing to human wellbeing. The University of Liverpool Brett Gardens is open daily from 10am-6pm.

Plan a route to campus using active or sustainable travel

When visiting the Library, try to choose active or sustainable travel methods. It can help you save money, while also being important for our net-zero target. Students can hire a bike from the Guild for a full academic year for just £60 or one semester for £40. Bikes can be securely stored in the free cycle pods across campus. The University and the Guild work closely with Peloton, a local bike co-op to offer bike maintenance sessions, beginners’ bike events, city bike tours and Joy Ride bike events. If cycling isn’t an option, a student bus pass is the cheapest way to travel, and the Guild offer a discounted Arriva bus pass that covers the Merseyside region at a student friendly price. 

Complete the Sustainability in Action Course

‘Sustainability in Action’ is an online course in Canvas open to all of our UG and PGT students. The course has been designed by student interns to be an engaging and interactive introduction to The UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and upon completion of a series of short assessments, receive HEAR accreditation. Participate in the module at your own pace, and learn how to be more sustainable through fun activities and engaging content, when you feel like taking a break from your usual studies.

Read books on sustainability

Since our red brick building first opened in 1881, the university has made it its mission to support the advancement of learning and ennoblement of life. This mission has not changed, it has only adapted to the challenges of our times. Becoming a more sustainable society is a great challenge and we are all in this together. To find solutions for these problems we look hopefully to you, the new generation of academics with bold ideas and the knowledge to implement them. You may not be studying environmentalism or eco-engineering but some reading on the subject can go a long way. Browse our library catalogue and you will find various books on sustainability that will help you make small differences to your carbon footprint while giving you a larger understanding of the big picture. And make sure you always check our libraries for books/resources before buying from larger chains. Here are our recommendations:

Watch Fundamentals of Sustainable Living on Kanopy.

Listen Quitting Plastic on LIBBY.

Read The Sustainable(ish) Living Guide by Jen Gale

This Changes Everything by Naomi Klein

There is no Planet B by Mike Berners-Lee

The New Climate War by Michael E. Mann

The World Transformed: An Untold History by Peter Frankopan

Silent Spring by Rachel Carson

How Bad Are Bananas? By Mike Berner-Lee

The Road by Cormac McCarthy

The Children of Men by P. D. Jame

Consumed by Aja Barber 

It’s not that Radical by Michaela Loach

Cradle 2 Cradle by Braungart and McDonough 

Donut Economics by Kate Raworth

Going Zero by Kate Hughes

Saving the Planet without the Bullsh*t by Assaad Razzouk

Zero Altitude: How I learned to fly less and travel more by Helen Coffey

Ministry for the Future by Kim Stanley Robinson

The Lorax by Dr. Seuss

Flight Behaviour by Barbara Kingsolver

For more ideas, check out News From Nowhere’s top 10 sustainability book recommendations here or visit the sustainability book display currently in the Sydney Jones Library.

If you have read a good book about sustainability please suggest it via our book suggestion form.

Find out more

Join in the #GreenLibrariesWeek conversation and make sure you follow @livunisustainability and @livunilibrary on Instagram for details of how you could win some of our eco-friendly goodies.