Little actions can add up in a big way, and as a family, you can take many such actions to help our planet. A good place to start is in your local public library, where you can participate in activities to learn about sustainability. Hillsborough County public libraries celebrate the support of our county government and families like yours who help our community grow and thrive by taking part in sustainable initiatives.
Libraries promote sharing! Work or study together in library meeting spaces or take a class with friends. Read, renew and return library books, media and other items to encourage borrowing and cut down on waste. You can even borrow educational kits, read-along titles that are hardcover books with full audio recordings, and tablets equipped with learning activities. HCPLC.org/Books
Recycle and reuse
The library has cooking oil recycling stations. Bring your reusable bag each visit. Hillsborough County periodically hosts electronic shredding events in order to prevent waste from destroying animal habitats as habitat loss is one of the main causes of extinction. You can learn more about endangered species in library books, eBooks, DVDs and streaming films. Endangered Species book list: bit.ly/endangered_species_kids
Collaborate on group projects and complete homework assignments using public library computers. Electronic typing on tablets and laptops has replaced a lot of note-taking. You can borrow a laptop at a number of libraries such as the C. Blythe Andrews, Jr. Public Library and the Maureen B. Gauzza Public Library to take notes instead of using paper. HCPLC.org/Books/Laptops
Because your local library offers online renewal and notification of holds, you can plan to combine a library trip with other errands. You can also bring your library items back any time as the library no longer has late fines for overdue materials. Both the Bloomingdale Regional Public Library and the Jimmie B. Keel Regional Public Library have electric car charging stations. HCPLC.org/About/Sustainability
Turn off lights and electric appliances and unplug items like your cell phone’s charger when they are not being used. Several local public libraries such as the Jimmie B. Keel Regional Library and the North Tampa Branch Library have solar panels on the roof in order to harness the energy of the sun. Many libraries have upgraded their lighting systems in order to reduce carbon emissions.
Sustainable food choices
Meat-free meals are encouraged in many places and ways such as Meatless Mondays. And now there are many more meat analogues that taste good, are healthy and are reasonably priced. Did you know the public library offers many vegetarian and vegan cookbooks for all ages and in both print and digital formats?
- Let’s Go Veggie book list for kids: bit.ly/kids_go_veggie
- Vegetarian and Vegan Cookbooks: bit.ly/plant_forward_cookbooks
Fun fact: Turning off water when brushing teeth could save up to four gallons of water! Rainwater barrels and rain collection for watering plants is an option that is growing in popularity, and Hillsborough County offers extension classes about water conservation using the barrels. Your local public libraries have water bottle refilling stations as well as smart irrigation systems that sense how much water is needed.
Instead of throwing away old clothes and toys, donate them to a local thrift store or second-hand store. You can also search for costumes and kids dress-up clothes at thrift stores. Your local branch accepts donations of old books and magazines, and library staff can direct you to places to safely donate technology and other household items.
Learn ways we can help make a better planet for us all to inhabit. Earth awareness book list: https://bit.ly/earth_awareness
You can use library resources to find information about protecting the environment. Your local public library is available to help with your sustainability goals.
Originally published in April 2022 | All photos provided by Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Library.