December 8, 2009

Libraries Greening Communities?

Filed under: blog — Tags: , , , , — tsladmin @ 7:51 am

Last weekend we had an energy audit done on our house, a fascinating exercise to watch. Besides the fact that I was interested to see what our issues are, I was captivated by the equipment used. Being a geek, it was extra fun for me. :)

infrared camera
infrared camera

As the gentleman who performed the audit (Jim) worked, we had a lovely talk about a variety of things, including libraries. We talked about ebooks (he has a Kindle) and libraries (he thinks we’ll be cut out of the picture) and library services in general. Jim mentioned how he tries to work with organizations to improve energy efficiency, including libraries. Apparently he’s worked with Wisconsin libraries to give each one a wattmeter to circulate to residents who want to monitor their electricity (see this example).
Jim is eager to work with Illinois libraries to see what we could do to help patrons who want to do more to make their homes more energy efficient. Chicagoland libraries already circulate museum passes, some libraries still circulate art, and there are toy libraries, so why not this service? Several libraries are offering new gadgets for circulation (GPS devices, Flip video cameras, ebook readers), so lending technology isn’t new, either. There’s a lot of talk right now about green libraries, but can libraries green go that next step and help green their communities?
I love the idea, especially when combined with complementary programs, reading lists, and community connections. Are any libraries outside of Wisconsin offering this type of service? If you’re in Wisconsin, have patrons been using your wattmeter?

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