Goodwill Partner Recycled Reads Provides Model and Best Practices for Library Collection Sustainability
For almost four years, Goodwill Central Texas has partnered with the Austin Public Library's bookstore, Recycled Reads, to sell and recycle books that have been taken out of circulation from Austin libraries. Recycled Reads sells books and media at their bookstore located at 5335 Burnet Road, four days a week. They accept discarded books from the twenty circulating branch locations, the Central Library and the Austin History Center, and books and media donations from the Austin community. Originally created to generate funds for the Library, Recycled Reads is now one of the main recyclers and recycling facilitators of books and media in Austin, helping the city achieve its zero waste goals.
“We love working with Goodwill…[because they] commit to not putting our books in the landfill and…we can see the results in our own community….We are proud to see peoples' lives transformed for the better in Austin and in Central Texas,” says Betsy Evans, Grant Administrative Specialist at Recycled Reads, Austin Public Library.
Libraries are experiencing an increased need to thin their physical collections in order to provide options for newer reading habits like flexible space for computer users and digital material. Such changes outpaced collection disposal best practices available to many institutions so Recycled Reads developed the Sprouting Green Weeding Practices Web-Based Training Project in order to provide easily accessible resources about environmentally and socially responsible collection practices. As part of the Institute of Museum and Library Services (federally-funded) grant project, and in conjunction with representatives with the City of Austin, this web-based training encourages libraries to assume complete responsibility of their material, even after it has been removed from the library shelf. The videos and online training tools promote examination of collection management policies and provide resources to other libraries who want to adopt more sustainable practices. Most importantly, these best practices encourage the development of metrics to communicate success, inspiring the community to become engaged with their libraries and keep material out of landfills.
“With Recycled Reads as our Community Partner, we’re able to keep more than 120 tons of material out of our local landfills every year, and act as a model for green practices to other Goodwill organizations and library systems in the nation,” says Michael Steedley, Goodwill Central Texas eBooks Manager. Recycled Reads provides Goodwil ten to fourteen tons of material each month, creating more opportunities for book reuse and recycling.
For more information about Recycled Reads, please visit RecycledReads.org.
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