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Eco-Action Plan

Calgary Public Library
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Innovation Leader: Gerry Meek, CEO, gerry.meek@calgarypubliclibrary.com

Problem Statement

The Calgary Public Library has led and inspired community sustainability since 1912, and built the city’s first LEED facility. However, the community did not immediately think of the Library as a green organization. A big-picture, holistic approach was needed to harness staff ideas and enthusiasm and communicate the Library’s green leadership to the community

Innovation

Developed and implemented an ambitious Library Eco-Action Plan, 2009-2012, to engage staff and community, encourage coordinated innovation and communicate through measurable action the Library’s core value of “environment and sustainable resource management”.

Progress

  • Environmental blog as well as promotional messages on the Library’s web-site that align the Library with green action, e.g., “Library cardholders save 14,119 trees per year”
  • An eco-themed children’s summer reading program, Eco-Heroes, that provided a fun approach to waste reduction and environmental education, and reached over 50,000 school children.
  • Host special city-wide environmental events which include other environmental organizations, e.g., Ecopalooza Fair
  • A “Green Before Green Was Cool” media event during environment week. It included eco costumed characters distributing paper library cards which could be planted. More than 300,000 people were exposed to environmental messages related to the Library though media coverage of the event.
  • Each year, over 50 environmental programs in locations across the city. Events are diverse ranging from Eco Babies, which helps parents find green ways to raise their children, to Bicycle Boot Camp, which promotes eco-friendly transportation
  • Collaboration with green organizations to promote environmental awareness. Resulted in initiatives like public compost pathways at libraries, “eco nooks” , and hosting eco business week
  • Received a provincial award recognizing the Library’s leadership in recycling
  • Elimination of plastic bags at the checkout, and introduction of a stylish, reusable library bag made of recycled material
  • Hybrid library vehicles which promote the Library as a green organization
  • Established green awards to recognize staff who make a significant contribution to waste reduction and the environment