Category Archives: Eco-Library

A cool gardening blog…

I recently received a “Like” from the awesome folks at the Soulsby Farm blog!  If you’re looking for solid gardening/farming knowledge that you can pass on to patrons or just use at home, you should visit their blog!

In the first five seconds of reading I learned that worms love Cheerios!  Mind.  Blown.  So, I had to share.  I plan on reading for way more than five seconds!  Lots of great stuff there!


Libraries and Food

I went to Mid-Winter in Dallas last weekend.  I didn’t get to attend many events, but I did attend the second session of R. David Lankes’ two part session “Expect More” which asked participants to creatively re-envision libraries and what we need to do to remain relevant.  It encompassed much more than that, and I’m not doing it justice but it’s not the point of my post anyways.

While there, a person in my discussion group mentioned their library was considering serving meals to patrons on the weekends because they have a high-poverty population and are in the middle of an urban food desert – a common combo.

I thought this was especially interesting given the news surrounding the Seed Library at the Pima County Public Library.  The seed library gives community members a way to exchange open-pollinated and heirloom seed varieties.

Libraries as food education centers, food resource centers and community garden locations.  Are libraries a starting point for helping improve food education and overcome regions that are food deserts?

Here’s a vegetable garden planted the Arlington Public Library (VA).

I plan to keep hunting for other libraries with vegetable gardens and food education programs.  Don’t have a lot of space?  Some folks just use a pick up truck to grow a garden and start educating folks.  Check out the Truck Farm movement!


Kill-O-Watts are these handy little machines that you can plug appliances in to and get a reading of how much energy they actually use.

The Canton Public Library (Michigan) checks them out to library patrons for one week at a time.  They are a hugely popular item at the library.  Read more about the Kill-O-Watt project at CPL here:

Green Libraries and Sustainability Presentation

I gave a presentation on November 5 at the Michigan Library Association Annual Conference with the very amazing Christa Robinson and Joel Wiese.  We talked about green and sustainable strategies for public libraries.  You can view our presentation and see resources here:

Have suggestions for other vendors, blogs, books, websites, etc. that we should add to the page?  Leave a comment or email me!

A Green Themed Teen Activity

And it totally rocks!

I was reading the YALSA listserv over three months ago and couldn’t help but notice an email from Georgia Coleman at the Richland County Public Library in Columbia, SC.

Georgia has had great success with a teen green series that involved making creating crafts from recycled materials.  I was impressed, but skeptical – my idea of being arty is drawing a stick figure with circles for hands and feet.  But Georgia assured me saying, “I’m not a crafty person at all so if I can make them, anyone can!”

There were a total of six events in the series – Georgia was kind enough to provide the descriptions and some images too.

Teen Green – Bottle Caps – Make magnets and jewelry out of bottle caps and a little creativity.

Teen Green – Denim Makeover – See how many ways you can transform an old pair of jeans into something new.

Teen Green – Junk to Jewelry – Make an earth-friendly fashion statement! Learn to create stylish bracelets from recycled materials.

Librarian Made, Teen Approved!Another Great ExampleMore great examples...

Teen Green – Phonebook Furniture – Build green like your library and help us create environmentally friendly furniture from old telephone books.

The Phone Book Chair - My Favorite!

Teen Green – Altered Altoid Tins – Create cool art using Altoid tins.

Teen Green – Canned Jewelry – Got soda cans? Turn them into beautiful jewelry at this nouveau-green program.

An Amazing Rose!Another neat example...

If you need instructions or want to know more, email me at christine dot ayar at gmail dot com and I’ll put you in touch with Georgia.

Thanks for sharing your awesome craft with us Georgia!  It’s amazing!

Goin’ Green for Michigan Library Association

My panel proposal for the Michigan Library Association Annual Conference was accepted.  I’m happy to say the I will be joined by two top notch professionals – Joel Wiese and Christa Robinson – a husband and wife team who specialize in sustainable building and design practices. 

There are lots of libraries in Michigan making efforts to contribute to the green movement including:

Hastings Public Library – they recently installed Solar Panels and have many, many other great features related to their library and the building – they list them here.

Malletts Creek Branch of the Ann Arbor District Library won an award from the Michigan Division of the American Institute of Architecture as a shining example of sustainable architecture.

And libraries such as Canton Public Library are doing away with plastic or paper bags for books and encouraging patrons to purchase cloth bags from the library.  (The library does not make a profit from the sales – they’d rather help the environment!)

So, whether you’re a Michigan library or not, I’d love to hear what your library is doing to help the Green Movement!  What prompted the new green strategies at your library?  How did your staff/community receive the new efforts?  It doesn’t have to be a big thing…even if you just started recycling last week, I’d love to here.  So, please post a note…

Little library coffee shops…

A few weeks ago I had one of those days where I wish I had my camera, but of course I didn’t.  I was at a public library and they had a teeny tiny coffee shop.  At the far end of their circulation desk, they had cordoned off a small coffee area with large coffee and hot water dispensers.  They had built a canopy over the area so it stood out, and it was near the cashier area and easily viewable by the clerks to ensure that people paid.  It was a different spin on the coffee shop idea…a self serve style.  I guess if you were particularly hard pressed for time, space, money and/or personnel, you could also install one of those giant coffee vend machines popular at oh so many public highway rest stops across the country.

In recycling news, I got a cup of coffee recently in a cup from EcoProducts.  They have very reasonable prices for compostable food service products.  If you are working towards making your library green, then you might want to check them out for your coffee/snack shop.