Global warming and climate change has been a topic of great concern for the entire world and has harmful consequences for human life across the globe. World institutions are converting their businesses to go green in all sectors of life. Libraries are places of great ideas and deals with general public in almost all the countries.
The modern world is trying to minimize the negative impact of natural environment and maximized indoor environment quality through careful site selection and enhance conservation of resources like water, energy, paper and to recycle waste disposal in order to protect the environment from huge catastrophe.
The concept of green library has been used by different scholars in different lenses. International Federation of Library Association (IFLA) and other associations are working jointly to create a conducive environment that is helpful for the entire humanity.
IFLA has taken commendable steps such as project planning, financial considerations, and designing buildings with energy reduction in mind. These efforts aim to make libraries environmentally friendly and safeguard against non-traditional security threats prevalent in the world today. While libraries in developed countries are actively adopting green practices, developing countries like Pakistan have seen only a few organizations take such steps to protect the environment. These organizations have adopted policies similar to those of their developed counterparts.
Some scholars hold the view that university libraries have been reluctant to adopt sustainability indicators; however, the majority of librarians and stakeholders in Pakistan lack effective policies regarding green libraries. Only a few studies have been conducted by Pakistani scholars on green libraries, including a qualitative paper by Dr. Pervaiz Ahmad, which suggests that libraries in Pakistan should take necessary steps to protect the environment.
He further articulated that there is no policy for green libraries, such as technologies for a paperless environment, biodegradable products, and recycling of waste disposals. Future studies regarding green libraries will further elaborate on the scope of ‘go green’ libraries. For this, the stakeholders and the Ministry of Climate Change should take initiative steps to start awareness programs and educate both the staff and consumers.
The Pakistan Library Association (PLA) and other provincial associations should organize awareness programs. Several economical steps can be taken by librarians at the university and college level, such as using solar panels instead of electricity, using laptops instead of desktop computers, reducing the use of paper for photocopying and printing inside the library, planting trees inside the libraries, and reducing water usage in library washrooms.
Some other necessary steps include using sensors to illuminate areas in the library only when they are in use, encouraging library users to opt for sustainable library collections such as e-books and e-journals, using scanners instead of printing documents, and, above all, utilizing the rooftops of libraries for planting small trees and vegetables to reduce heat inside the library.
The writer is Deputy Director Library at the Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad, he can be reached at email@example.com
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