Harvard College Library News: News from around the libraries

Six More HCL Units Go Green

photo of foliage  

July 20, 2011 – Following last year’s successful effort to achieve at minimum Green Leaf One certification for all staff workspaces in Widener, Houghton, Lamont, Pusey, and Tozzer libraries, six additional Harvard College Library (HCL) units have been recognized by Harvard’s Office of Sustainability for Green Leaf Four, the program’s highest level.

Most recently, the Fine Arts Library (FAL) at Littauer, the FAL Digital Images and Slide Collection at Sackler and the Harvard Film Archive, were recognized with Green Leaf Four certification. Earlier this year, staff members in HCL Technical Services (HCLTS) also reached the program’s highest level. Two units which had already been certified at lower levels – HCL Information Technology Services and HCL Conservation Services – also recently made the jump to Green Leaf Four. Work on certification is underway at Loeb Music Library and Harvard-Yenching Library.

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The recent certifications mean 22 HCL units have achieved at least Green Leaf One certification, with half reaching Green Leaf Four. University-wide, HCL offices account for nearly 40 percent of all offices that have reached Leaf Four. In addition to the recent certifications, a number of other units, including Operations, Human Resource Services, Communications, Office of the Librarian of Harvard College, and Houghton Library, have already reached Green Leaf Four.

“It is encouraging to see the continued enthusiasm and momentum with this program,” HCL Director of Operations and Security Paul Bellenoit said. “As is evident with the additional certifications, the Green Team and staff in the various libraries have continued to work together to achieve success with the goal for all departments to achieve Green Leaf Four by the end of 2011.”

At HCLTS, the effort was led by Administrative Coordinator Murray Barsky, who received guidance on certification from HCL Green Team chair Andy Laplume. To encourage staff to take part in the process, the unit formed a nine-member committee, similar to Houghton Library’s “Greening” the Library Task Force, that worked to develop and implement sustainability projects.

“Among staff, awareness of the program was high, and agreement was virtually unanimous, so the certification process was relatively smooth for us,” Barsky said. “Since we began, we have seen people’s behavior change in many ways. You can feel the difference – there are staff members here who never mentioned anything about sustainability before we started working on certification, and now they will come to my office to express concerns about any number of issues.”

As part of their effort to reach Green Leaf Four certification, the HCLTS Green Committee reduced traffic from Harvard Depository (HD) by promoting the use of Scan and Deliver by staff, reusing boxes and other packing materials when sending materials to HD and increasing efforts to send deaccessioned books to Better World Books for reuse. Another project, Barsky said, will network a photocopier, allowing multiple staff members to use it as they would a scanner, resulting in a reduction in the use of paper.

Fine Arts Library Administrative Officer Louise O’Connell, who led Green Leaf efforts at FAL, Digital Images and Slides Collection and Harvard Film Archive, echoed Barsky’s comments.

“A great number of our employees are very conscious of sustainability, and so were eager to take part in this program,” she said. “We would not have been able to complete this process, however, were it not for the enormous amount of support we received from HCL Operations. Their help, combined with the enthusiasm of staff, helped make this process as painless as possible.”

Staff at Fine Arts Library and Harvard Film Archive are working to install halogen bulbs in employee desk lamps, order recycled office supplies whenever possible, promote the recycling of batteries and other e-waste, such as printer cartridges, and encourage staff to use reusable cups and mugs, eliminating the need for paper cups at filtered-water dispensers.

To receive Green Leaf certification, offices must meet criteria that are increasingly rigorous for each level – from providing recycling bins at all work stations for Leaf One to asking commercial printers to use vegetable-based inks on library materials for Leaf Four. The completed checklist, along with the signatures of the office head or program director and at least 75 percent of staff are then submitted to Harvard’s Office for Sustainability for review.