Beyond the annual book sale : a model for an environmentally sustainable post-weeding process

Date
2012-05
Authors
Halpern, Rebecca Katharine
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Social activism is a foundation in librarianship. As community stewards,librarians regularly develop solutions to complex social issues from discrimination in the workplace to open source academic publishing. Increasingly, one of those issues is climate change. As the reality of climate change becomes more apparent, libraries are faced with their role in supporting healthy communities and environmental sustainability through activities like reducing carbon emissions. There has been much work on how to build greener collections and improve library facilities, but little attention has been paid to the role of weeding—specifically, what happens to deaccessioned materials. The Austin (Texas) Public Library developed an innovative, creative, and long-term model for recycling their core commodity. The Recycled Reads bookstore offers a useful example of how an urban library system recycles weeded print and media materials in such a way that 100 percent of their materials are diverted away from landfills. Through stakeholder buy-in and working closely with community and corporate partners, Austin Public Library's Recycled Reads facility is a model any library system could adopt to address environmentally responsible weeding policies.

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