Go Green at the Library this Libraries Week!


In 2023, Libraries Week becomes Green Libraries Week! 

Libraries Week is an annual showcase and celebration of the best that libraries have to offer, organised by CILIP. Each year a theme is picked, and the innovative and surprising things that libraries are doing to support their communities are explored. Between the 2nd and 8th October, we are celebrating the work going on in libraries across the UK focused on sustainability and climate change.

Green Libraries Partnership

In the next five years, CILIP want to develop a UK-wide, cross-sector programme focused on the contribution of librarians, information and knowledge professionals to the sustainability agenda. The aim is to encourage libraries to actively reduce their carbon footprint and increase awareness of environmental issues for the wider public by providing accessible resources. CILIP have setup this programme and will be inviting individual practitioners to become part of the Green Libraries Network to share knowledge and best practice, promote active engagement, build new connections and support each other’s efforts.

The Green Libraries Partnership has been developed in response to COP26 and the long-term climate commitments made by libraries and local authorities.

  • CILIP’s vision is of a better future for planet and people, empowered and supported by librarians and library workers
  • CILIP’s mission is to place libraries at the heart of environmental change
  • CILIP’s purpose is to enable libraries to build environmental action within their communities
Libraries in Wales have been playing their part in reducing their carbon footprint and increasing awareness of environmental issues to the general public. This Libraries Week, we are showcasing many of the fantastic initiatives taking place in libraries in Wales.



Llanelli Library in Carmarthenshire is now host to a dynamic external Green Wall of plants, using a special system used to create a planted area on a vertical surface, installed by ANS Global. There are many environmental benefits to Living Walls including bringing significant biodiverse value with native planting, air purification, sources of nectar and food, and investment value as people are drawn to more natural spaces, and the interest they provide.



Solar panels have been installed at Pencoed Library, Bridgend and Betws Life Centre, thanks to a Welsh Government Transformation Capital Grant last year, and on sunny days, they are even exporting renewable energy back to the grid!

This is not the only initiative to support sustainability in Awen Libraries, as there is currently a rolling programme of moving all authority libraries over to LED lighting to reduce energy consumption, and a pilot scheme to remove plastic jackets from the book stock, to see if it impacts on the condition and longevity of the books.





Awen Libraries have started a pilot scheme introducing non-plastic, fully biodegradable library membership cards, therefore reducing the amount of plastic going to landfill! Waterstones Children’s Laureate, Joseph Coelho, recently visited the library service as part of a UK-wide tour of libraries, and was presented with their new eco-friendly library card.



Books no longer used in Awen Libraries are sent to Factory Books – a social enterprise in Ferndale – for resale, donated to children in Africa, or sent for recycling. The library service are also an active member of Books4U, a scheme that provides free access to books across public libraries in South Wales – improving their offer AND reducing waste!

Wrexham Library service will also start to use their new ‘green’ biodegradable library cards during Libraries Week. 



Rhyl Library have been developing a bee friendly garden and during the summer of 2023 they created a bug hotel, teaming up with Working Denbighshire, an employability service which supports Denbighshire residents who are at risk of poverty. After collecting many items such as pallets from deliveries, cardboard boxes, bricks, branches and bamboo canes, the Working Denbighshire participants joined up with library staff to recycle the materials and use them to create a haven for wildlife.



Caerphilly Libraries have been involved with the Hedgehog Highway Campaign launched by Caerphilly County Borough Council’s Countryside team to protect the endangered creatures, hosting four information days in various authority libraries to raise awareness.

Caerphilly Library has also installed swift boxes to encourage the birds to nest, with the hope of installing more if there is success in attracting swifts to the setting.


The plant and seed swaps in Machen and Bedwas libraries, Caerphilly, have been running for a number of years, and are very successful and popular with customers. 



Caerphilly Libraries have also been involved with selling discarded stock to BetterWorld Books so they can be reused for UK and world-wide reading projects.



Some further ‘green’ initiatives taking place in Caerphilly Libraries are the following:

  • Recycling plastic book jackets from old library books.
  • Many libraries are litter picking hubs so community groups can borrow litter picking equipment from the Hub and town libraries. Working in partnership with Keep Wales Tidy to loan litter picking kits to groups.


  • Abertridwr Library were successful in obtaining a Wildlife starter pack from Keep Wales Tidy which has allowed staff member Natalie to create a small garden on an area of unused land at the entrance to the library, which will hopefully generate interest from community members who will be willing to share their gardening expertise.


Sandfields Library, Neath Port Talbot, are creating a project named Lend, Mend & Tend.

LEND> The library will be used to store electrical items for the community to borrow.

MEND>Volunteers and local skilled people will be on hand to repair items to avoid waste.

TEND> The local community will come together to create a community garden on the grassed area behind the library, and local children will also be involved in the planting of wild flowers and wild life friendly plants.  

The libraries provide access to recycling supplies and information.

Sandfields Library regularly plan children’s craft sessions using the upcycle and reuse principle. Recently, the children decorated used milk cartons & turned them into bird feeders. 




Gwynedd Libraries have been involved with a number of community projects to promote sustainability, including a collaboration with Natural Resources Wales on a collection of ‘The Green Library‘ books that can be borrowed with a free packet of wildflower seeds!



Construction and planting of natural gardens have recently been taking place in Bethesda and Dolgellau Libraries, and wildflowers planted outside others, including at Tywyn, where younger library visitors are encouraged to get involved!




Gwynedd Libraries are now using an electric vehicle for their mobile library service in Meirionnydd, with a vehicle becoming available in Arfon in the near future.
Some further initiatives are:
  • Story Sacks and fancy dress available to borrow. This saves users buying new costumes every time and throwing them away.
  • Activities in collaboration with Dynamic Dunescapes held as part of National Dunes Day.
  • A climate group meets quarterly with a cross section of library staff members who discuss ways to improve the library’s carbon emissions and promoting sustainability,


This year, Bedwas Library invited pupils from Ty’n y Wern Primary school to make terraniums, which was a huge success. The Bedwas Workmen’s Hall & Institute will hold an eco-festival this October half term week (28 October-5 November) and Bedwas Library will be holding another plant terrarium event as part of the festival, and present an ecological-themed storytime.

Join Harriet Bradshaw, Trevor Price and Dave Rapley for an engaging and thought-provoking talk about climate issues and to discuss the role they place in protecting our planet. Penarth Library, Wednesday, 25 October 7-8pm. Booking essential.



Of course libraries in Wales offer collections of books to borrow that focus on sustainability and climate change, so be sure to look out for these next time you’re in the library!

Get on the Green Libraries Week Map!

Share your activities for Green Libraries Week by adding your library to the Map to share information about your events and activities. See which other libraries have joined the campaign and what events they have planned.

Keep up to date with Green Libraries Week 2023 by following @librariesweek and share your activities using the hashtag #GreenLibrariesWeek.

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