Hampshire Libraries climate change strategy

Hampshire County Council declared a Climate Emergency in June 2019, recognising that our changing climate is the biggest long-term issue facing Hampshire.

Green Libraries Partnership

Green Libraries Partnerships

In 2022 we signed the Green Libraries Manifesto and are a member of the Green Libraries Partnership.

The Green Libraries Partnership was developed in response to COP26 and the long-term climate commitments made by libraries and local authorities across England. We have made the most of our membership of the Green Libraries Partnership – applying for funding, attending events and using the resources – it’s a fantastic resource.

Exterior of Bridgemary Library

Bridgemary Green Library

Bridgemary Library is being transformed into Hampshire’s first Green Library, creating a community space that champions sustainability.

Investing in environmentally sustainable projects like the Bridgemary Green Library is part of the County Council’s wider commitment to becoming carbon neutral by 2050.

Find out more about Bridgemary Green Library

Our climate change priorities

As a library service, serving people who live, work or study in Hampshire, we have identified three main climate priorities.

Illustration representing reducing environmental impact

Reducing the environmental impact of our buildings and the services we deliver

Illustration representing providing information about climate change through books

Engaging and educating our own workforce and customers on climate issues

Illustration representing inspiring change through libraries

Developing our libraries as community hubs and sources of climate information

Our actions

Since 2021 we have been working with these priorities to make changes to our service.

Some of our actions include:

  • understanding how much energy our buildings use and where we can save energy
  • replacing old windows with efficient double-glazing, installing energy-efficient LED lighting with motion sensors and solar panels in some libraries
  • measuring how much of our waste is recycled and finding simple, cost-effective ways to reduce waste and encourage good practice – like our free water refill points
  • created a team of ‘climate change champions’ who meet regularly and lead on green and environmental projects, including clearer bin labelling, reducing wastepaper and printing and improving the outside spaces at some libraries
  • partnered with Natural England to develop a project to help people connect with nature close to home
  • invested in books and in our digital library so library users can access helpful information on climate and nature
  • hosted our first ‘Festival of Climate Change’ with over 40 free events and workshops for library users of all ages
  • introduced online-only membership to reduce plastic waste and reduced deliveries to save fuel. Our vehicles now run on Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil not diesel
  • supported local communities by hosting community pantries and fridges – providing access to low cost or free food in three libraries. Because this food would otherwise be thrown away this also represents a significant carbon saving
  • supported four of our climate change champions to complete Carbon Literacy training and shared that learning throughout our service
  • delivered workshops and courses to help people learn how to mend or upcycle their old clothes or make sustainable alternatives to single-use items like cotton pads or sanitary towels

As a result of all this work, Hampshire Libraries were the only UK library service to be longlisted in the Green Libraries and Grand Scale Projects section for the IFLA Green Libraries Award.

Books about climate change

Our libraries have books about climate change and nature for all audiences

Community pantry and fridge

Community pantries and fridges have been installed in libraries

Solar panels on the roof of Hedge End library

Hedge End library has solar panels installed on the roof