4 Ways Libraries Help You Reduce Overconsumption

This Earth Day, we’re showing some extra love to libraries.

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As literary lovers, we’re hard-pressed to think of a place we love more than the library. Not only do we love being surrounded by more books that we could read in a lifetime, local libraries do incredible things for their communities. Besides the free books (and newspapers, magazines, movies and music), libraries can help you with research, give you access to online classes, provide free entertainment for children and adults alike, and let you live a more sustainable life.

That’s right—a trip to the library is a great way to celebrate Earth Day, and using your library regularly can help you reduce your product consumption overall. While the most dramatic impact will come from large-scale changes, individual choices still matter. And one of the easiest ways you can make a difference is by taking advantage of your library!

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Borrowing books is good for the planet.

Most people use the library because it’s free, but a bonus benefit is helping the planet. Whether you use a little free library or your local libary, by borrowing items, you’re reducing your product consumption, and therefore your carbon footprint. The less we buy, the less companies need to manufacture and ship. This in turn reduces deforestation and pollution.  

Libraries help even more by serving as a place where people can return books to be reused by someone else, making them a wonderful resource for sustainability!

Fun fact: On average, each library book is borrowed about eight times per year, and most books will be borrowed between 40-80 times!

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And borrowing ebooks is even better.

Ebooks have a lot of benefits, and sustainability is one of them! Because ebooks are digital, they are much better for the planet than paper books—they don’t need to be manufactured or shipped at all. And while you can read ebooks on a device you already own, even a dedicated ereader creates less pollution over its lifetime than buying paper books.

Plus, you can borrow ebooks from anywhere—that means you don’t even have to drive to pick them up!

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Some libraries let you borrow a lot more than books.

While we usually associate libraries with books, many modern libraries let you borrow other items.  Movies, music, newspapers and magazines can all be found for free at most libraries.

Some libraries also have a “Library of Things.” These sections let patrons borrow tools, lawn games, board games, musical instruments, craft supplies, telescopes, cameras, and more.

Your local library may also have a seed library and gardening supplies you can borrow!

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Libraries can further your education.

If you really want to improve the world, being a well-educated person is an excellent place to start. Libraries provide free classes, access to research databases, and of course, books on just about any topic you can think of to help you better understand and appreciate the world around you.