About the Environment, Sustainability and Libraries Special Interest Group

What is a “Green Library”

Green libraries are environmentally aware and friendly libraries and their aim is to draw attention to environmental sustainability at all levels as examples, educators and enablers.

Green library buildings follow the LEED criteria as far as possible but are also committed to sustainable routines like recycling and decreasing consumption.

Green librarianship consists in green information services, i.e., offering open and easy access to reliable and updated environmental information. Green librarians promote the familiarity and use of this information in their communities as well as the community engagements in environmental issues.

ENSULIB’S Aim and Scope

Libraries are responsible actors advocating globally accepted library values, like literacy, equality, and open access to information, but also IFLA’s global vision and UN’s sustainable development goals in their communities.

ENSULIB focuses on environmental sustainability and addresses environmental threats, like climate change, but in addition, several of the SDGs are included. Our concern is also social sustainability in a broader sense since it is a precondition for environmental awareness – a community must be able to read and make decisions based on reliable information to maintain sustainable development.

ENSULIB’s aim is to adhere and develop further the green library movement, which has so far emphasized the green library buildings and green routines, like recycling and sorting waste. ENSULIB wishes to create a concept of green librarianship, which would take account green information and library services as well as social engagement at the age of disinformation, alternative facts and restricted information skills and literacy.

ENSULIB wishes to encourage librarians to inspire their communities into more environmentally sustainable way of action by providing materials on green librarianship, giving voice to green librarians and library projects worldwide and offering a discussion forum. An integral part of this work is the annually presented IFLA Green Library Award.


This Special Interest Group’s mission is to address:

  • Effects of climate change on libraries (modification of the conditions of storage and preservation, buildings insulation, impacts on library finances and management,…).
  • Applications of environment-friendly practices in libraries (recovery of rainwater, use of renewable energy sources, printing control, paper recycling, etc).
  • Proposed environmental recommendations for the profession (recycling of outdated documents, use of biodegradable materials, etc).
  • Increasing and promoting sustainability-related library resources and services (development of collections on environmental themes, exhibitions, outreach, etc.)
  • Increasing librarians’ own awareness of environmental concerns.

Mailing List

  1. Contact ENSULIB team: ensulib123@gmail.com
  2. Direct access to the page of the general "Environment, Sustainability and Libraries" SIG's mailing list. This is a moderated list, limited in content and purpose to topics related to the SIG's goals. However, any interested information professionals can apply (registration is required).
  3. Direct access to the B_ENSUL mailing list, available only for internal organizational communication among participants in the Group's business meetings as well as among any members who wish to participate by e-volunteering with a variety of online group activities and tasks. Application by email to convenors is required.


For a number of years, Veerle Minner had been concerned that while libraries could greatly contribute to sustainability, many librarians seemed to be paying little to no attention to environmental problems.

In 2008 at IFLA's WLIC in Quebec, she was delighted to find that sustainability was an important theme of the opening speech by then President Claudia Lux.  A few hours later, while Veerle was translating the "Newcomers Session" of the conference, she learned how easy it was to start a Special Interest Group (SIG).  She quickly posted a notice on the bulletin board in the hall, inviting interested delegates to co-create a SIG focusing on environmental issues and libraries. The group gathered in a corridor in front of the Interpreter's Lounge.  At that first meeting, Vincent Bonnet showed up, as well as enough people (minimum 25) to sign the document requesting the creation of a SIG.  Philippe Colomb was also there from the beginning. Vincent volunteered to help with our "start-up". We also needed a sponsoring section. After unsuccessfully approaching a few potential matches, Per Cullhed, chair of the Preservation & Conservation Section, agreed to sponsor ENSULIB.  Thanks to his help, IFLA quickly approved our new SIG.  Thanks to Per's encouragement and follow-up, we were able to offer our first session in Milan.  Besides offering programming at WLIC, our first Satellite Meeting was held in Berlin in August 2017. The first Green Library Award was launched in 2016.  Programs details may be viewed HERE


2019 - 2021       Petra Hauke
2016 - 2019       Harri Sahavirta
2014 - 2015       Philippe Colomb
2010 - 2013       Veerle Minner
2009                  Veerle Minner and Vincent Bonnet



Harri Sahavirta

Filosofian tohtori / Ph.D.
Kirjastonjohtaja / Chief Librarian
Arabianranta and Vallila libraries
Helsinki City Library
Email: harri.sahavirta(at)hel.fi
Term: 2019 - 2021

Information Coordinators

Madeleine Charney

Research Services Librarian
University of Massachusetts, Amherst
Email: mcharney(at)library.umass.edu 
Term: 2016 - 2021

Saima Qutab 

PhD Scholar and Teaching Assistant,
University of Auckland, Auckland
New Zealand
Email: qutabsaima(at)gmail.com 
Term: 2016 - 2021


Philippe Colomb
Deputy Director
Médiathèque Françoise Sagan (Ville de Paris)
Email: philippe.colomb(at)me.com
Term: 2016 - 2021

Sandra Maria Moura Dias
Children's Librarian
Public Library of Sacavém - Ary dos Santos - Loures Municipality
Email: smouradias(at)hotmail.com
Term: 2016 - 2021 

Environment, Sustainability and Libraries

Last update: 24 October 2019