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Libraries Week 2023 - tips for Going Green

Libraries Week 2023

This week we're recognising Libraries Week; a national campaign that takes place each year and gives us a chance to showcase and celebrate what libraries have to offer.

For 2023 there is an overall theme of Green Libraries and sustainability, so we've come up with three great ways your knowledge and library service can help you be more sustainable, as we try to be greener too:

1. Borrow, don’t buy

Your average paperback book generates a carbon footprint of around 1 kilogram. Borrowing physical books from the libraries in our local NHS network helps to reduce emissions by giving you access without the need for a new copy. This can be especially valuable if you’re on a university course where multiple people will need the same book on a reading list (and that’s without looking at the carbon footprint of large textbooks!).

2. Virtual resources

NHS Core Content subscriptions cover around 3000 journals, as well as e-books, point-of-care tools like BMJ Best Practice, and multiple databases. All this content is available online, along with almost all our workshops and many of our 1:1 or small-group teaching sessions. This helps to cut down the time you spend travelling to get to us (and us to you). Although internet use and technology have their own carbon footprints, virtual resources may still have less impact on the planet by reducing the need for travel, and the demand for energy-intensive resources like plastic and fossil fuel.

3. Evidence for the environment

Our mediated searching service can help you pull together evidence to support sustainable changes to processes and policies. Searches run by other NHS library services have underpinned green projects in trusts all over the country, including transitioning away from single-use plastics, and finding ways to manage the environmental impact of medical gases.

To access our service, get in touch with us at, and don’t forget our QI team ( can help you put that evidence into practice.


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