Taking steps to become a more sustainable library

Libraries are founded on principles of sustainability – borrowing rather than owning books, providing a record of knowledge gained by past generations, giving individuals the opportunity to learn and develop, and providing a hub at the heart of the community that brings people together.  But there is a drive, particularly by younger generations, for the services we use and the products we buy to be more socially and environmentally responsible.  So what can libraries do to appeal more to these potential visitors and future employees?

Prolonging the life of existing library furniture

Repair and refurbishment used to be a given but for a long time now traditional thinking has been ‘out with the old and in with the new’.  Attitudes are changing though and facilities are now much more readily available to enable libraries to prolong the life of their existing assets.

In our award winning Renew Centre, Premier remanufactures and refurbishes office furniture from task and meeting room chairs, individual and bench desks to soft seating, reception and canteen furniture, cupboard and shelving.  Not only does this enable libraries to repair existing furniture that might be broken or damaged but also to repurpose furniture that might no longer fit requirements.

Furnishing a sustainable library

Buying reused used to have a bit of a stigma attached to it but that’s no longer the case.  From large multinationals and central government offices to sole proprietors, NHS hospitals and local councils, buying used is a growing trend.

Not only can reused furniture reduce your carbon and water footprint and prevent waste, it can also save you money and make your budgets go further.  Good quality used furniture can be indistinguishable from new furniture to your staff and visitors.  It can also come with warranties similar to those of new furniture to give assurances for your purchasing decisions.

Premier’s office furniture retail channel, Office Resale, stocks a wide range of high quality used furniture from top brands at a fraction of the cost of buying new.  This includes not only desks and operators chairs but also a range of soft and breakout seating as well as bespoke requests.

Maintaining a collection sustainably

Dust creates an unpleasant environment and deteriorates collections whilst also providing health hazards.  Shelf and book cleaning – if carried out in a methodical and professional manner with the right tools – can help maintain the quality and extend the life of a collection, ensuring visitors can appreciate them for many years to come.

Premier offers a book and shelf cleaning service delivered at times that suit you.  This dedicated service will help prolong the life of your collections whilst improving the experience of your library visitors and protecting staff from health issues.

Refurbishing a library sustainably

If you are refurbishing your library, there may be the opportunity for reuse – not just of furniture but of floor and ceiling tiles. There may also be the opportunity to convert to LED lighting to not only reduce your energy consumption but to also save on lighting costs.

Premier offers sustainable interior services with our interior solutions being carried out in line with the waste hierarchy.  We not only adhere to environmental regulations but also follow best practice, delivering both environmental benefits and financial savings to our clients.

Clearing a library sustainably

Moving, changing or even closing a library can be carried out sustainably, not only providing environmental and social benefits but reducing the financial cost of the clearance.  Effective auditing and stock control may allow you to directly reuse assets and prevent waste in the first place.  Selling or donating unwanted furniture, IT and electrical equipment will give your library assets a new lease of life and minimise waste.  Remanufacturing, refurbishment and repair – as we mentioned earlier – can allow you to redeploy existing furniture.  Books, journals and non-reusable furniture and IT equipment can all be recycled.

Premier offers a sustainable clearance service designed around the waste hierarchy.  We provide clients with a full and comprehensive report outlining the project savings from reuse, resale and rebates, donations and charities supported, and the carbon savings achieved by using our service.

So there are many small steps that any library can can take towards being a more sustainable facility – whether that’s for local residents, students, the general public or a specialist audience.  If you would like further assistance to become a more sustainable library, contact Premier Libraries on 020 8976 2100.

Premier Workplace Services was acquired by Crown Workspace in 2018.