by Jacqueline Breidlid, Per Eide, Katharina Portugal

Under the motto “Inspired and Engaged on Sustainability” the IFLA Environment, Sustainability and Libraries Section (ENSULIB) with the Management and Marketing Section (M&M) and the Preservation and Conservation Section (P&C) held a Satellite meeting from 22–23 July 2022. The general aim was to inspire and engage libraries to work on sustainability and to broaden libraries’ awareness of sustainability within the library framework. The Boole Library in the University College of Cork, Ireland, hosted the Satellite meeting. The library itself has a strong focus on sustainability and was shortlisted for the IFLA Green Library Award in 2019.

Open Science, Case Studies, and Marketing

The programem was designed in a way that there were three different main topics. After a warm welcome by the hosts and organisers, Alan Carbery and Elaine Harrington the first day started with a keynote titled “Libraries as a Lever for Sustainable Change”. Pat Mehigan and Martin O’Driscoll elaborated on how the University College of Cork and the library are committed to sustainability, how they engage students, and how they balance comprehensive services with resource-efficient operations.

The first session, chaired by Harri Sahavirta (ENSULIB), focused on Open Science and Sustainability. In six presentations a comprehensive and multi-layered look at how Open Science can contribute to sustainability was provided. Speakers from Italy, Switzerland, the UK, the US, and China offered a high-quality insight in their work and current projects.

The second session, chaired by Jacqueline Breidlid (ENSULIB), presented case studies on sustainability and libraries. The audience learned about a green platform as a coworking option (Wikidata) and was presented with sustainable best practice examples from public libraries in Austria. Furthermore, the carbon footprint of libraries in Finland and how libraries can act as agents of climate change literacy was shown.

The first day of the Satellite Meeting was accompanied by a lunch with a great view in “The Hub” of the UCC, a guided tour through the Cork University College Library and a drinks reception in the Lavit Gallery.

The third session, chaired by Jeannie Bail (M&M), on the next day focused on how to best market sustainable libraries. It started with the keynote by Loida Garcia-Febo titled “Leaving no one Behind: Marketing Sustainable Libraries” followed by practical approaches on how to tackle green marketing and examples how sustainability can be used for political advocacy.

IFLA Green Library Award 2022

Finally, the stage was opened for the finalists of the IFLA Green Library Award 2022. The 10 shortlisted projects and libraries in the categories “Best Green Library” and “Best Green Library Project” were presented – in presence and virtually. The winners of the IFLA Green Library Award 2022 are:

Best Green Library
“Revamp of Choa Chu Kang Public Library” (Singapore)

Best Green Library Project
“La Médiathèque de la Canopée : a Pilot Library for Sustainable Development for the Parisian Network” (France)

Special recognition

for a project that was carried out with minimal resources and big impact:

“The Neighborhood Path” (Colombia, Cali, Comuna 1 Cultural Center Public Library)

The Satellite meeting gave an overview of how libraries, both academic and public, from different parts of the world are working to adapt to the challenging times that lie ahead. Many extraordinary examples of how libraries can function as a catalysator of sustainability for the local community were presented. Providing access to up-to-date and verified information about climate change and sustainability is vital, teaching the community hands on skills and the knowledge to live a sustainable life is decisive, and giving the communities a media collection, both digital and physical, to explore, reflect and acquire knowledge on sustainability, the environment and on the Sustainable Development Goals is precarious for reaching the 2030 agenda of the United Nations.

There was and is no doubt, that libraries can and should be a significant tool to reach the SDGs, but therefore libraries must be put on the political agenda. Libraries must market themselves as an indispensable institution for a sustainable future and a driving force for sustainable development.

These two days have highlighted all of this once again, it was an exciting conference where ENSULIB members, paper-presenters, and runners-up to the IFLA Green Library Award had the chance to mingle and to exchange ideas – all while being hosted in the inspiring setting of the UCC-Library, which had truly internalised the concept of sustainability.

The full papers of all presentations will be published in the IFLA Repository.