Libraries are an important part of our communities. They offer a place to meet friends and make connections. I started bringing my child to the library for storytime before she could even crawl. I connected with the other parents of babies in my storytime group. We each checked out stacks of colorful picture books with illustrations of cats, dinosaurs, and monkeys. As my child grew, so did our stacks of books, and the feeling of community. When I needed to work on the weekend I would bring my work and my child to the library so she could read, play, and interact with friends, both new and old, while I kept an eye on her and finished my work. We both left feeling accomplished. During the height of the pandemic, we selected our library books online and picked them up from a brown paper bag labeled with our last name.
Libraries provide a refuge for those who need to get out of the cold (or heat). They provide a physical location to learn more and to expand your horizons. Community members are able to access free Internet and seek out community resources. Libraries offer free online databases, media, and more. Children can attend storytime. Adolescents can join a club. Adults can take a yoga class. The elderly can hang out and learn something new. Libraries are a great resource for everyone in the local community.
Sustainable Library Buildings
It is important for libraries to be sustainable. In fact, there is a whole sustainable libraries movement to help library leaders build libraries that are able to thrive. Building sustainable libraries is about much more than just popping a few solar panels on top of the building. According to the Sustainable Libraries Initiative website, “Both ALA and NYLA have adopted the Triple Bottom Line definition of sustainability. This consists of practices that are environmentally sound, economically feasible, and socially equitable.”
When a community is ready to update their existing library or build a new one, they should place a focus on sustainable design. The way in which buildings are designed can have a large effect on how many natural resources they use up each year. If we want our library buildings to last for decades, we need to ensure they are set up to limit the impact on the environment as much as possible. This includes using large windows to provide natural sunlight. Harnessing solar power is important as well. This can be accomplished either onsite or through a green energy utility program. If the library is located in an area where it is feasible to harness wind power, that can be explored in the planning process as well.
Sustainable Library Furniture
Eustis Chair designs and manufactures hardwood chairs for both public and academic libraries. In fact, around half of our product line is geared towards library use. Wood is the most sustainable furniture material for the following reasons:
- Wood is renewable
- Forests are good for the environment.
- Forests increase CO2 levels
- Unlike plastic and metals, gathering wood does not deplete the world of its resources.
- According to recent studies, wood (and other natural materials) in the indoors can improve happiness and health
- Furniture made from wood with strong joints (such as the Eustis Joint) can last for decades
- You can stain wooden furniture to match existing pieces