Recycled Reads, the Austin Public Library’s bookstore, has recently finished a project partially funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). Our project, Sprouting Green Weeding Practices in Libraries, highlights the story of Recycled Reads and encourages other libraries to take on more sustainable weeding practices. A big part of our mission is to inform library users about the positive impacts of weeding, especially when ex-library media is repurposed and recycled. Even more, we focus our programming and events on the education of sustainability literacy to our customers and to the general Austin Public Library population.
The main goal of this project is to get libraries to join in on a conversation about weeding. We are arguing here that maintaining an accurate, lively collection through weeding is just as important as selecting new titles and planning innovative programs. To take it a step further, the material removed from a library is the responsibility of that library. Librarians need to take a “womb to tomb” approach to collections and ensure that library materials are not tossed in the landfill when there are other options for recycling and repurposing.