Knowledge Matters blog

Behind the scenes at the British Library

07 July 2022

Launching the Green Libraries Manifesto

Green Libraries Manifesto 1 (1) - clocktower-SMALLER
From climate crisis focused community workshops to imaginative and practical carbon saving initiatives, libraries are already engaged with tackling climate emergency and doing their bit in facilitating positive climate outcomes. Today at the CILIP (Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals) annual conference, we saw the next stage in stepping up the shared effort of libraries to do more for our planet and for all of us, by launching the Green Libraries Manifesto.


At the launch of the Green Libraries Manifesto (left to right): Sarah Mears MBE, Programmes Manager, Libraries Connected; Maja Maricevic, British Library; Rabeea Arif, Projects and Programmes Manager, CILIP; Claire Buckley, Environment Sustainability Consultant, Julie's Bicycle; Sue Williamson MBE, Director, Libraries, Arts Council England.

By signing the Manifesto, libraries will commit to a set of common principles, which will enable us to have much greater impact by working together than we can on our own. As well as committing to building new partnerships, the principles emphasise the need for all libraries to put sustainability at the heart of their work and planning, to embrace innovation that will help them to change their current practices, and to grow and share knowledge. The Manifesto also emphasises the role of libraries in supporting young people, especially in supporting their role in providing environmental leadership in their schools, communities and workplaces.

The Manifesto is an initiative of the Green Libraries Partnership, started earlier this year by CILIP, Libraries Connected, Julie’s Bicycle and the British Library. The Partnership is also running a small Green Libraries Fund to support small-scale exploratory programmes within public libraries in England, and is conducting a survey that would broaden our understanding of the work already under way in the sector. 

Our own work on the Partnership has been inspired by activity across the Living Knowledge Network, including a workshop run with our Network partners to explore views and activity related to climate. From the festival of written word focusing on climate in Wakefield to the strategic and collaborative approach taken by Scottish libraries in the run up to the COP26, this workshop seeded the idea that we can do even more by sharing our ideas and resources. And it made us realise that our collective voice in supporting climate action will be stronger if we work together.

The Green Libraries Manifesto will provide a flexible cross-sector platform to inspire and help libraries to do more, in ways that are appropriate to their own means and local area. As the founding member and a signatory of the Manifesto, we are committed to working across the sector, including continuing to champion climate-related work within the Living Knowledge Network. We are also committed to reducing our own carbon emissions, empowering our staff to take action through our Staff Sustainability Group, and to involve all our users in researching, debating and contributing to positive climate action.

Maja Maricevic

Head of Higher Education and Science