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Our Green Library

The University Library takes environmental issues seriously, and sustainability issues inform our decision making and policies.

We are continually looking for ways to improve, and welcome questions and suggestions from students and staff across the university.

Some positive things we have been doing:
  • Work with The Book Rescuers, who sell our withdrawn books with a percentage going to the African Children's Educational Trust. Unsellable books are donated to charity or recycled.
  • Our Collection Development and Management Policy prioritises purchase of electronic resources over paper where available.
  • Installation of a water refill station on the ground floor of the library. Disposable cups are not provided, to encourage users to bring reusable containers.
  • Promotion of and participation in ARU Green - the university's programme to encourage sustainable behaviour. As of November 2019, 38 members of library staff were registered and the library was ranked 2nd across the university for average points per person.
  • A 'Green Guru' at each site promotes wider university, library, local, and national/international environmental issues, news, and initiatives to all library staff. Engagement with wider university sustainability includes attending events such Sustainability Workshops to inform ARU's Sustainability Strategy. The Global Sustainability Institute magazine is available within the library.
  • Opening hours adjusted to match use, saving power overnight at times of year when the library was little used after midnight. Staff switch off electrical devices when leaving where possible/appropriate.
  • Removed fines for overdue items unless they are recalled, automatically renew items where possible, and allow return via post - thereby reducing the need to travel to campus to return items.
  • Flexible working agreements allowing some staff to work from home part-time, reducing travel.
  • Regular cross-site meetings conducted via videoconference.
  • Offer unwanted furniture for reuse elsewhere.
  • Set up a book swap at Chelmsford campus (by the library entrance gates).
  • Purchase sustainably produced stationery and promote environmental awareness via our library marketing items e.g. recycled paper, recycled cardboard pens, reusable bags, Keep Cups.
  • Reuse packaging materials where possible and appropriate.
  • Reduced deliveries between libraries from 5 to 3 days a week.
  • Request non-disposable cups, plates, etc. for catered events.
  • Posters encourage users to take the stairs where possible.

We are considering various ideas to further promote sustainability or reduce our impact - increasing awareness of the option to book online/telephone appointments with librarians, more plants within the library, displays highlighting books on environmental issues, and a shift toward a greater proportion of plant-based food within our event catering.

Please let us know if you have any ideas or questions regarding the environmental impact of the library or role it can play in promoting sustainability.
Page Last Reviewed: 28th January 2020 by Diane Hilton.