Borrowing magazines and books instead of buying them is the obvious first thing that springs to mind when I think of the ways in which libraries are green. Less trash, less paper, less ink. But, the libraries of today are so much more. Video games, toys, CD players, games, DVDs and downloadable books are now commonplace. Items that may have been watched or played with maybe twice after being privately purchased can now be used by many residents.
Museum passes are one of my favorite green library perks. Back when the family first moved to Connecticut, I had no clue what to do around town. Consequently I spent my weekends traveling far and wide. Since I discovered my library's free museum passes, my traveling has been far more local. Less pollution and my money is being spent locally.
Over December vacation (AKA cold and trapped at home for two weeks), the kids and I grabbed a library pass and headed over to Hartford. We discovered the Harriet Beecher Stowe House. Lots of new and interesting facts were learned during our free kids tour. For example, did you know that Harriet's son was Andy Samberg's doppelganger?
In my spare time, the library has proved to be a great place for me to do a little guerrilla greening. My passive aggressive self just loves to tack notes to the bulletin board outlining how to dispose of CFL bulbs or discussing the importance of composting. It is also a great place for me to strategically place my pre-read magazines like Mothering, the natural family magazine. (Shhh...don't tell the librarians it's me)
The librarians of the past in their cardigan sweaters and pointy glasses may not have planned to show love for the earth and your pocketbook through their libraries. Let's hope that in the era of budget cuts and zero growth, our librarians of today (in their seasonal sweaters and bright skirts) will be able to continue with their missions and change with the times.
Have you hugged your librarian today?