UCC Library has enjoyed significant success in green library initiatives, achieving international recognition for efforts in managing waste, increasing recycling, saving energy, replacing its transport fleet to electric vehicles and leading on a culture of green library service provision. The library successfully campaigned to raise awareness and enacted changes leading to a 9% annual reduction in energy use – enough to travel around the world 24 times in an electric car. This contributes significantly to the University’s achievement of being the first University in the world to be awarded multi-annual Green Flags.
Despite this, the challenge of sustaining this success looms large. In the context of longer opening hours, increased demand for library buildings and services, more technology-rich, energy-hungry spaces and the wider implications of the student affordability and energy crises, continued success in this area is far from guaranteed. This paper examines the challenges to maintaining excellence in sustainable libraries, and outlines the future direction for UCC Library’s commitment to green library initiatives.
Attendees will hear of the authentic conversations and difficult decisions that must occur at the senior library leadership level, in partnership with our buildings and estates colleagues, to provide a top-class library service that meets the academic mission of our university while also achieving our goals in sustainably-conscious library services.
The paper is co-presented by a member of UCC Library’s senior leadership team alongside UCC’s Energy Manger, providing insights into the challenges of managing energy consumption and reaching energy saving goals across a large campus. The presenters also outline UCC Library’s vision to become Ireland’s SMARTEST Green Library, the ambitious plan which advances our efforts to deliver responsive, sustainable library services. Attendees will learn the challenges of sustained efforts around green libraries, discover some potential solutions, and be inspired by UCC Library’s vision for future directions.