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Green Libraries Week

Go Green at the library this Libraries Week! 2-8th October 2023.

Libraries Week is an annual showcase and celebration of the best that libraries have to offer. Each year we pick a theme and explore the innovative and surprising things that libraries are doing to support their communities.

In 2023, Libraries Week became Green Libraries Week! Between the 2nd and 8th October, we celebrated the work going on in libraries across Scotland and the rest of the UK focused on sustainability and climate change. Check out our highlights below:

Scotland’s Green Libraries Gathering

In a Libraries Week first, we simply couldn’t contain our excitement to seven days, so instead we started our celebrations early on Friday 29th September with Scotland’s Green Libraries Gathering, taking place at the heart of Scotland’s Climate Week.

Benefiting from a range of inspiring environmental insights shared throughout a full day of workshops led by the National Library of ScotlandGlasgow Women’s LibraryScottish Book TrustUniversity of StrathclydePaperboats and many more, Scotland’s Green Libraries Gathering marked the perfect early start to Green Libraries Week. Watch the entire event above and discover how both the CILIPS Research Fund and our Green Libraries Scotland Grant Fund are strengthening library sustainability across Scotland.

Green Libraries Scotland Grant Fund – Seeds to Success

Green Libraries Scotland Grant Fund, Seeds to Success Project, Donna Baird, St Ninian's High School Librarian.

Speaking of the Green Libraries Scotland Grant FundSchool Librarian and GLS Grant Fund recipient Donna Baird caught up with CILIPS at the start of Green Libraries Week to share her experience of applying for the Fund. Donna shared the serendipitous timing of the Fund with an idea she already had, emphasising the positive change that will grow from the library amongst the wider school community.

Donna’s funded project, ‘Seeds To Success,’ will enrich her school’s new Support for Learning space and adjacent garden with Kinder boxes decorated by pupils, for which the children are selecting books to support their emotional, sensory and environmental needs. Creating a safe and welcoming space for pupils to read outdoors and relax, Seeds to Success is encouraging mindfulness and the wellbeing benefits that both reading and nature can bring for young people, staff and parents.

We hope that this wonderful example will encourage anyone who has been contemplating applying for library funding of any nature. Donna’s words of wisdom are sure to inspire or give the necessary nudge forward!

Glasgow Women’s Library x Green Libraries Week

#GreenLibrariesWeek Glasgow Women's Library visit, 2.30pm Thursday 5th October.

Especially for #GreenLibrariesWeek, we enjoyed a free tour of the wonderful Glasgow Women’s Library garden to discover how their innovative Net-Zero Handbook offers a practical plan for carbon reduction, environmental care and climate justice.

Led by GWL Green Creative Cluster champion and #CILIPS23 speaker Gabrielle Macbeth, our lucky attendees learned firsthand about the transformation of what was once a litter-infested urban space into a welcoming statement to all library visitors, simultaneously serving as a link in a nature network for pollinator insects and local birdlife. We were also amongst the first library professionals to engage with GWL’s new Net-Zero Handbook, an impactful climate call-to-action that will provide the foundation for the Library’s sustainability initiatives in subsequent years and from which libraries of all sectors can take inspiration.

Visit CILIPS Instagram to see what a ‘reely’ good time we had!

Sustainable BSL for Libraries

‘Can we help?’ CILIPS Membership Officer Kirsten embraced the annual challenge of growing her British Sign Language knowledge by practising a few sustainability-themed signs in the inspiring setting of Glasgow Women’s Library. Watch along on CILIPS Instagram and grow your inclusive climate literacy. Why not learn a few sustainable signs of your own and continue the conversation with library users?

National Poetry Day

What more inspiring combination could there be than National Poetry Day landing at the heart of Green Libraries Week on Thursday 5th October? Kirsten and Leah from the CILIPS team ‘wasted’ no time in sharing some sustainable sonnets by iconic Scottish poets Kathleen Raine and Edwin Morgan, while our friends at North Lanarkshire Libraries even composed their own eco-haiku. Wow!

Rain falling, the earth needs us to be haste, don't leave it too last, North Lanarkshire Libraries #Library5

CILIPS West Branch,Ok, here’s our #Library5 eco haiku…. Story of the age A battle for our planet We can turn the page #EcoPoetry #NationalPoetryDay

CILIPS Library Litter Pick

Compostable bin bags were at the ready as we called on libraries across Scotland and beyond to roll up their sleeves and clean up their acts, getting stuck into the sustainability spirit by joining our nationwide library litter pick.

Had the weeds in their library gardens grown a little too tall? Could their readers’ nearest bus stop do with sprucing up? We came together to highlight the unique role that libraries have in inspiring environmental action within our communities by removing rubbish and having fun. Bonus points were awarded to all those who also inspired their library users to take part!

For anyone who really couldn’t leave their desk on this fun Friday afternoon, there was still an opportunity to play a part in the CILIPS litter pick by tackling digital carbon footprints – deleting bulky files, refining email signatures and following the guidance shared in this recent Jisc report. Thanks for litter picking, library people!


Libraries Week just wouldn’t be the same without our legendary series of annual challenges, motivating our members to showcase the great (green) activities taking place within their own libraries. From green scenes and sustainable shelfies, environmental reading recommendations, eco-hacks and more, check out this year’s challenges below and follow #GreenLibrariesWeek on X and @librariesweek on Instagram to see everything that the CILIPS community shared…

Library5 Day One - Green Scene Showcase. ‘If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need,’ said Cicero (and CILIPS agrees)! From tiny pot plants to growing gardens and everything in between, share a snap showcasing your library’s green scene…

It’s sustainable shelfie time! Libraries are leading the way when it comes to climate literacy - what books do you have on offer to help readers learn more about environmental action? Add your eco reading recommendations below…

Something borrowed but nothing new… libraries are the original recyclers and continue to set sustainable examples for their communities. What reduce/reuse/recycle action is taking place in your library today?

National Poetry Day is the perfect time to celebrate the mountain of nature-loving poetry that exists in Scotland and around the world. Recycle your favourite lines here for us all to enjoy – or if you’re feeling especially ambitious, why not write your own eco-haiku?

It may be our final #Library5, but library-led environmental action will continue to flourish. From seed growing top tips to impactful craftivism, what eco-hack can you share with our followers to show how libraries and sustainability are always entwined?

Green Walls for Green Libraries Week

If, like us, you were green with envy to glimpse the gorgeous Green Walls created by libraries around the globe as showcased in this brilliant blog post by Alex Jovanovic, our Robert Gordon University CILIPS placement student for 2023, then Green Libraries Week was the place to be. Llanelli Library in Carmarthenshire, Wales, chose this week to showcase that they are now host to a dynamic external Green Wall of plants, using a special system used to create a planted area on a vertical surface. Echoing the findings of Alex’s research, Welsh Libraries highlighted that there ‘are many environmental benefits to Living Walls including bringing significant biodiverse value with native planting, air purification, sources of nectar and food, and investment value as people are drawn to more natural spaces, and the interest they provide’. A gorgeous example of Green Libraries Week taking root across the whole of the UK!

An external green wall made of plants at Llanelli Library in Carmarthenshire, Wales.An external green wall made of plants at Llanelli Library in Carmarthenshire, Wales.

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