With my gut feeling I’d like to say, of course we are but I’m not that sure anymore… Yesterday I listened to a very interesting session (Session 184 Libraries inspiring and facilitating change towards sustainability). Sadly only a handful of us were there; I’m not sure was it due to a last-minute change of location, conference fatigue, over-lapping sessions or is it that we’d like to think that when it comes to libraries, we are already doing all we can do about being environmentally friendly and sustainable. After the session, I’m not sure if that really is the case, do we really know enough about the ecological footprint of libraries? As it was said in the session: is it more ecological to acquire one book and transfer it from one place to another than to acquire several copies and to keep them more ”local”? In addition, what is the true ecological impact of digital collections as, after all, they require technological gadgets that quickly become outdated. Is that our responsibility or are we just providing the digital material?
When I processed the session afterwards by talking an idea came to mind, something that IFLA could do next year to promote sustainability: I think the water spots have been an excellent and necessary thing here at IFLA, I’ve just noticed that a lot of plastic cups have been used (I do hope they are recycled). Maybe next year IFLA’s Welcome package could include a re-usable water bottle that could be refilled between sessions instead of using all those plastic cups.