##Seeking Suggestions and Expectations

We are excited to inform that we are in the process of developing guidelines for creating green and sustainable libraries. As we strive to build a greener future, we believe that libraries play an important role in advocating environmental consciousness and sustainability. We invite you to share your valuable suggestions, advice and expectations to shape these guidelines.

These guidelines aim to provide a set of concrete recommendations and best practices that can be applied to libraries or information centres of any size and type. By implementing these guidelines, libraries can demonstrate their commitment to environmental responsibility, increase awareness of green and sustainable issues, inspire active change in their communities, ensure DEI (diversity, equity and inclusivity) and foster a more sustainable future.

Background of the Guidelines

The concept of “green library” has been discussed since the 1990s. Since then, libraries have been undertaking various activities in order to minimize the negative human impact on the natural environment, and a green library is associated with the concept of a sustainable library working toward this aim. Sustainable development is development that “meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs” (Our Common Future, Brundtland Report, United Nations). The UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development adopted in 2015, with the core 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), calls for immediate action by all countries in global and local perspectives to tackle climate change and preserve our oceans and forests. In 2022, the IFLA Environment, Sustainability and Libraries Section (ENSULIB) published an updated definition of a “green library”, which takes into account the sustainable principles into the environmental, economic and social aspects of the green library development. In this definition from the IFLA ENSULIB Section, a green library is a synonym for a green and sustainable library, which should have a clear sustainability agenda including green buildings and equipment, green office principles, sustainable economy, sustainable library services, social sustainability, environmental management and commitment to general environmental goals and programmes. 

In the recent decades, libraries to various levels have demonstrated their commitment and contributions to environmental sustainability, created awareness of social sustainability and leadership in environmental education through libraries as exemplars for sustainable buildings and practices, libraries as educators for promoting sustainability literacy and libraries as enablers for supporting sustainability research and activities. There are lots of literature, toolkits, bibliographical materials and best practices devoted to the topics related to green and sustainable libraries. However, there are no professional guidelines or international standards in the global library field that direct and represent the development of green and sustainable libraries worldwide. IFLA is the voice of libraries worldwide and the most important global association for libraries. It is indispensable for IFLA to offer the guidelines for building and developing green and sustainable libraries. 

The Scope

The scope of the guidelines or international standards for developing green and sustainable libraries includes relevant recommendations on global consistency and accountability, knowledge sharing on best practices, enhancement of the impact on sustainable goals and DEI through policies, as well as support of libraries in their vital role as community leaders in sustainability. 

Intended Audiences

The intended audiences of the guidelines are librarians, community stakeholders, local government agencies, policy-makers at national and regional levels, both formal and informal educational institutions, and other interested individuals and parties. 

We value your expertise, innovative ideas and diverse perspectives. Your suggestions will help us in shaping comprehensive and practical guidelines that can be implemented by libraries of any size and type.

To contribute, please email your suggestions, advice and expectations to petra.hauke@hu-berlin.de or nipun@um.edu.mo by 15 September 2024. Kindly feel free to include any relevant case studies or success stories of green initiatives that have been implemented in your library.

Thank you for your support!


Project Team of the IFLA Guidelines for Green and Sustainable Libraries