We Have Sustainable Shelves

Posted Mar 25, 2021

Do you wonder what happens to all the books from the library that are not viable any longer? The old and unread, the damaged and destroyed, or the outdated and dilapidated (such as those in the image on the left). The American Library Association’s value of sustainability, adopted in 2019, focuses on responsibly recycling discarded collection items. With this in mind, Shorewood Library has teamed-up with one of our major material vendors, Baker & Taylor. Together we are working to avoid depletion of an important natural resource: trees used to make paper.

The Sustainable Shelves program is a new service just launched by Baker & Taylor that helps libraries manage the books removed from the collection through weeding or discarding of damaged material.

All items are packed and shipped, reusing the same boxes that our new materials arrive in. Materials not purchased for resale are sent to a paper-pulper facility where new paper is created, benefitting our delicate environment. The library is credited for the material shipped and we are able to replenish the collection with new materials.

Since starting this program in September 2020, we have shipped out a total of 1,750 damaged, unread, outdated and dilapidated books. We now have a material credit in the amount of $424! With this credit and vendor discounts, we can purchase almost fifty brand new books. More importantly, 1,074 books were sent to be pulped to create new paper, rather than being added to landfill waste or overwhelming our Friends of the Shorewood Public Library book sale, DPW workers, or the Village of Shorewood's recycling facility.

We are examples of sustainability and what it means for the greater good of the library, our patrons, the community and the world. Here at the Shorewood Library, we are working diligently to reduce our ecological footprint.

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