25 Ready-to-Use Sustainable Living Programs for Libraries

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Complete with step-by-step instructions, this book will walk you through planning, organizing, and running sustainable living programs at your library.  

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, library patrons of all ages are becoming ever more interested in sustainability and self-reliance topics. And libraries are enhancing their programming to embrace these timely concerns by organizing instructional workshops, forming gardening clubs, creating community gardens, building beekeeping exhibits, teaching patrons about reducing waste and sustainable food sources, and more. Drawing on real-world initiatives from public, school, and academic libraries across the country, this all-in-one guide walks you through how to plan, organize, and run sustainable living programs at your own library. Complete with a materials and equipment list, budget, and recommendations for age ranges and type of library, the programs you’ll learn about include

  • Mason jar hydroponic gardening, straw bale gardening, growing vegetables outside in winter, and a variety of other gardening activities;
  • sharing fixing skills and fostering sustainable culture through repair events;
  • family-friendly programs such as how to make rolled beeswax candles and glycerin soap;
  • upcycled jewelry for teens and adults; 
  • a hands-on canning workshop;
  • making herbal tea blends;
  • how to start a food waste collection, the basics of composting, raising chicks and chickens, and more homesteading programs; and
  • coordinating gardening and sustainability programs with local experts. 

Introduction: Building a Sustainable and Self-Reliant Lifestyle

Part I        Gardening Programs
1.    Coordinating Gardening and Sustainability Programs with Local Experts
Anna Frantz
2.     Growing Vegetables Outside in Winter
Nancy Griffiths
3.     Growing Culinary Mushrooms
Rose Simpson
4.    Mason Jar Hydroponic Gardening
Celeste Tapia
5.    Straw Bale Gardening
Ellyssa Kroski

Part II        Preservation Programs
6.    Hands-on Canning Workshop: The Basics of Pickling
Kate McCarty
7.    Fermentation 101: How to Make Sauerkraut
Elizabeth Peirce
8.    How to Make Lilac Syrup
Kristin White
9.    Preserving Foods through Dehydration
Maria Portelos-Rometo
10.    Making Herbal Tea Blends: A Hands-on Program about Common Herbs and Their Uses
Martha Napolitan Cownap
11.    You’re Sup-herb! An Introduction to Herbal Medicine
Velya Jancz-Urban and Ehris Urban

Part III    Pioneer Crafts Programs
12.    Repair Events in Libraries: Sharing Fixing Skills and Fostering Sustainable Culture
Gabrielle Griffis
13.    Steps to Sustainable Grab & Go Kits
Lauren Antolino, Marissa Lieberman, and Veronique Paillard-Baumann
14.    How to Make Rolled Beeswax Candles: A Family-Friendly Program to Light Up Your Day
Jennifer Gargiulo and Celeste Tapia
15.    Upcycled Jewelry: Sustainable Programming for Teens and Adults
Colleen Ellithorpe
16.    The Surprising Power of Hand Sewing: Use a Rugged Old Skill to Mend, Extend, and Uptrend Clothes and Accessories
Ellen Lumpkin Brown
17.    Melt-and-Pour Glycerin Soap: A Fun Do-It-Yourself Project for Kids and Adults
Dana Brigandi
18.    Lather Up: Cold-Process Soapmaking for Beginners
Allison Cicero Moore

Part IV    Homesteading Programs
19.    Library Rooftop Bees and Pollinator Education
Derek Wolfgram
20.    How to Start a Food Waste Collection Program: Compost Saves the World—From Garbage to Garden 
Lynne Serpe
21.    Composting at Home
Catherine Johnson and Maggie Pinnick Andrejko
22.    How to Prepare for Raising Chickens: Basic Facts to Raise Chicks and Chickens
Angela Hogg
23.    All about Chickens: A Hands-on Workshop
Jennifer Murtoff
24.    Urban Homesteading: Discover and Activate Your Inner Urban Homesteader 
Zack McCannon
25.    How to Start a Hobby Farm
Ellyssa Kroski

About the Contributors

Ellyssa Kroski

Ellyssa Kroski is the Director of Information Technology and Marketing at the New York Law Institute as well as an award-winning editor and author of 60 books, including Law Librarianship in the Age of AI for which she received AALL's 2020 Joseph L. Andrews Legal Literature Award. She is a librarian, an adjunct faculty member at Drexel and San Jose State Universities, and an international conference speaker. She received the 2017 Library Hi Tech Award from the ALA/LITA for her long-term contributions in the area of Library and Information Science technology and its application. She can be found at: http://www.amazon.com/author/ellyssa.

"Helpfully, each chapter includes a table which notes the program’s recommended age range, type of library, and estimated costs, for easy reference. The book recognizes that these sorts of programs may be new to library workers, and the step-by-step instructions are targeted towards beginners. Additionally, many chapters contain talking points, learning objectives and points to emphasize, particularly pertaining to safety concerns ... [This is] a useful collection of ideas for libraries."
— Library Journal

"The step-by-step instructions cover all you need to know to plan, prepare and run the programs. It even lists recommended next projects so you can build on your program. The programs cover a range of ages, different libraries, and from basically free to run to a few hundred dollars there is something for everyone ... I would recommend this book to library staff who organize events, are interested in sustainable living programs, and who would like to help their communities to learn more sustainable and self-reliance skills."
— Journal of the Australian Library and Information Association