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One way that libraries can become sustainability leaders in their communities is by offering high-quality environmental programs, either on their own or in conjunction with other community organizations. Below are some resources to get you started. For resource lists and eco-craft ideas, see the following pages:
Nic Marks: The Happy Planet Index
Statistician Nic Marks asks why we measure a nation's success by its productivity -- instead of by the happiness and well-being of its people. He introduces the Happy Planet Index, which tracks national well-being against resource use (because a happy life doesn't have to cost the earth). Which countries rank highest in the HPI? You might be surprised.
Environmental issues provide the backdrop for an array of novels, from suspense to romance to comedy. This bibliography includes books for young adults and adults.
Exploring Environmental Science with Children and Teens
Despite the abundance of resources on the subject, in the classroom science often takes a back seat to the study of math and English. That gives public and school libraries as well as museums the opportunity to jump in as venues for informal education, sharing the wonders of science with children and their caregivers. In this intriguing book Harrington focuses on environmental science, offering a selection of unique programming ideas that not only entertain but also arm children and teens with information about environmental issues. Cost: $50 (from ALA Editions)
Faculty Sustainability Book Club Suggestions
Suggestions from GRNSCH-L, an e-mail list for sustainability professionals working in higher education.
It's Not Easy Being Green, But It Sure Is Fun: Sustainability Programming at the Ann Arbor District Library
Full citation: Cantu, Ann and Beth Andersen. 2003. “It's Not Easy Being Green, But It Sure Is Fun: Sustainability Programming at the Ann Arbor District Library.” Public Libraries 42,(4): 240-4. Case study of a month-long series of sustainability programming for children and adults at the Ann Arbor (MI) District Library. Includes details of the planning process, which included community members, as well as potential pitfalls and lessons learned.
Millburn Central School to Facilitate Solar Energy Activities
Describes a program at Millburn Central School in Wadsworth, IL that integrated energy activities into their school library media center. This article originally appeared on the North Suburban Library System web site, but is no longer available there. This link points to the version cached by the Internet Archive's Wayback Machine.
Organize a Local TEDx Event
Think of TEDx as hosting an awesome dinner party, with great food, inspirational videos, brilliant speakers and mind-blowing conversation. By organizing a TEDx event, you will have the opportunity to create a truly unique event that will unleash new ideas, inspire and inform.
Princeton Environmental Film Festival
This annual film festival, sponsored by the Princeton, NJ Public Library, features environmental documentaries and is designed to encourage discussion about the environment. The festival is planned by librarians and community members.
Rockrohr, Phil (2019). "Climate Change and Sustainability. American Libraries, October 9, 2019.
Library programs focus on critical components of 21st-century science. Features climate change/sustainability programming examples from a number of libraries.
WEBINAR RECORDING: How to Start a Seed Library
At a seed library, patrons can check out seeds for free. They then grow the fruits and vegetables, harvest the new seeds, and "return" those seeds so the library can lend them out to others. In April 2013, New Dream hosted a webinar about how to start a seed lending program at your public library. Topics include funding models, obtaining starter seeds, patron orientation, and more. The webinar features speakers from seed libraries around the country.
Williams, Beth Filar. (2012). "Green Teen Programming." Young Adult Library Services 10(2), 29-31.
Provides ideas for green teen programming in school and public libraries using crafts, gardening, peer education, career counseling, and social events. Also suggests ways to use sustainability in all types of programs for teens.