Showing the green way: Advocating green values and image in a Finnish public library
Vallila Library is a medium sized public library and belongs to the Helsinki City Library. It was the first public institution to seek and receive the EcoCompass environmental label (2011). We created our own environmental strategies and policies, and reviewed such activities as recirculation and recycling. However, we could not decide alone on what kind of greener actions should be adopted; we are not independent actors. It was not always clear what kind of actions should be taken and what to measure. The greatest challenge was nobody had spelled out the concept of ‘green library’: we were forced to view the issue on a broader scale. It seemed that the best option was to show others the road to becoming green(er). Our commitment to environmental responsibility shows that we consider green values to be important. We offer easy access to information on ecological issues and arrange events that focus on environmental issues. We have to tell the world (and decision makers) that libraries are responsible actors and promote environmental sustainability. Commitment to green values may increase environmental sustainability and help libraries to take a new and visible role in changing society.