Oak Street Library Conservation Unit is Certified Green

Oak Street Library Conservation Unit is Certified Green

Have you ever wondered where and how bruised and battered books are restored? The Conservation Unit at the Oak Street Library Facility prides itself on its work restoring historical books and files.

The office there can now add sustainability to its list of specialties. 

iSEE designed the Certified Green Office Program (CGOP) to help employees at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign set an example for students and practice environmental stewardship at work. Simple, inexpensive actions spanning from carpooling with co-workers to using scrap materials can be adopted to increase sustainability. 

The Conservation Unit became the first Gold Certified Green Office last month to feature 21 sustainable actions in its application, and it has no plans to slow down anytime soon.

While the unit’s employees have taken some simple actions — such as turning off lights, reusing packing materials, recycling old appliances, and reusing archive displays — they’ve also implemented some of their own ideas.

The Conservation Unit keeps its Green Certification certificate front and center, right next to the recyclable disposable gloves. Credit: Sam Roberson

They switched out the disposable gloves used to handle some materials for a recyclable version, and employees reuse them whenever possible. They also worked with a paper-making press on campus to develop library conservation materials made from locally sourced agricultural waste. 

When asked how the office comes up with new sustainability actions, Library Operations Associate Kara Hagen said it’s all about having the right thought process and attitude.

“Actions come up organically, and having the correct mind-set is important,” Hagen said. “Once you have the missing piece of how we can reduce the waste, it comes into the day-to-day naturally.” 

Since she’s started, the office set up a cardboard recycling pickup with Facilities & Services for all the supply boxes that come into the unit. Extra paper scraps are taken to The Idea Store, a nonprofit organization in Urbana that works toward social change through creative reuse. 

Currently, Hagen is establishing an inventory of the unit’s supply room to encourage staff to use materials before ordering additional supplies.  

Even if you are working remotely, there are ways to green-certify your office safely and effectively! In consideration of the COVID-19 pandemic, iSEE now conducts all communications with offices via email, no longer requires office visits, and recognizes certified offices at virtual events.

Visit our iSEE Certified Green Office Program page to learn more and get certified!

— Story by iSEE Communications Intern Samantha Roberson