Project Green: Where We Began

Over the past six years the Riverside Public Library has worked on being economically and ecologically responsible. We formed a Green Committee to track purchasing and use of materials, as well as to examine better ways to conserve, reuse and recycle.

- First and foremost, the library is the ultimate recycling system - check out books, videos, magazines, newspapers, etc. - which are then returned and reused again and again and again. There's no such thing as "one-time use" at the Library!

- Discarded books are sold on our book sale shelves, donated to the Riverside Junior Woman's Charity for their book rack at the train station, or given away to other charities.

- Our staff re-uses paper from the printers for sloppy, or non-official, copies.

- The Library obtained three Illinois Clean Energy Lighting Grants from the State of Illinois and re-lamped the entire Library using energy efficient fixtures and bulbs. As part of the Grant, we gave away lights bulbs and had a program on energy saving tips given by A&M Lighting, as well as a children's program promoting energy conservation.

- We recycle paper throughout the Library, have a plastic and aluminum refuse container in the staff room, we recycle all boxes when we cannot reuse them for other storage.

- Our print font for documents created in the library is now Century Gothic, which uses less ink.

- We are a drop-off spot to retire old flags, recycle eyeglasses & hearing aids, print cartridges, CFL light bulbs, and cell phones.

- DVD cases that are not needed get sold in our booksale or are given to RBHS for their use.

- We have canvas book bags to check out to patrons and no longer offer plastic bags.

- Staff uses thermal cups instead of disposables, along with reusable silverware and dishes.

- Our Youth Services department constantly comes up with clever crafts from paper towel rolls, milk rings, yarn and lemonade containers. (including our Christmas Tree decorations!)

- Expanding e-mail lists for Adult and Youth Services' Programming, info/newsletters allows us to reduce our use of paper. (We offer two printed newsletters per year.)

- Our website offers up-to-date information on programs and activities in the library. Patrons can save gas/energy by renewing or ordering materials online. With online order requests, we have stopped printing postcards to be mailed...a faster and more ecologically-minded solution.

- We moved to paper cups for refreshments at our programs. While Styrofoam is more economical, we will offer hot and cold cup alternatives. We are now asking patrons to "bring their own mug/cup" to our programs. Our movies offer free popcorn, served in reusable, washable cups.

- Tablecloths used at Library events are cloth, and on occasion when we need to use plastic, we always wipe them down and reuse them until they are exhausted.

- Our staff memos are all via email now as well as our calendar schedules, and other in-house information.

- We have installed UV protection on the west windows in the Quiet Reading Room to conserve energy.

- We have eliminated paper hand towels in our lavatories.

- Through a program sponsored by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, ComEd and Ameren Illinois Utilities; administered by the Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance and hosted by the Riverside Friends of the Library and Lights for Learning, our Friends earn funds by selling energyefficient Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs (CFLs) at special prices.

- Whenever possible we offer educational programming. In the past we have hosted a program on cornfed meat, global warming, My Home EQ, Lights for Learning, Brookfield Zoo, etc. We would welcome the opportunity for SEEDS or any other local environment group to present a program at our Library.

Help us, by...

- Registering your email address at the Circulation desk. Alerts for requested items and overdue material will be sent electronically instead of by mail, saving everyone time and resources.

- Registering for children's and adult programs by email. As soon as a new program is added to our calendar, you will be sent a notification.

- Checking our website for our calendar of events -- don't miss important and interesting programs!

- Bringing your own canvas bag to carry your materials, or checking out a canvas bag from us.

- Using a coffee mug from home when attending our programs. We'll provide the beverage!

- Recycling with us. Check our list (upper left of page) for accepted materials.

Again, we welcome input regarding other areas in which we can improve our conservation efforts.