Sustainability: One More Way HCPL Strengthens Communities

Sustainability is about more than recycling and solar panels

In celebration of Earth Day, I'm excited to share about how Harris County Public Library (HCPL) has joined the Sustainable Libraries Initiative (SLI) and is working towards certification as a sustainable library system.  

When you hear the word sustainable, your mind probably immediately goes to things like recycling, reusable bags, electric cars, and solar panels. While those are all great things, becoming a sustainable organization is about much more than “being green;" it's about applying the triple bottom line definition of sustainability to how we operate and embracing practices that are environmentally sound, socially equitable, and economically feasible.  

Sustainability is about community

HCPL’s mission to enrich lives to strengthen communities is reflective of this approach already because at the heart of the Sustainable Libraries Initiative is a desire to partner in building the resilience of communities by the way we operate as an organization, as well as by providing resources in the form of books, electronic resources, seed libraries, gardening tools, programs, voter registration forms, ESL classes, citizenship classes, literacy, high school equivalency resources and more. These are not things that most people associate with sustainability, but part of building community resilience is ensuring that the people in that community have access to what they need to build resilient lives, both in the everyday and in times of natural disaster.  

This is a journey for us, but every small step towards progress in achieving this certification takes us that much closer to ensuring we take as much care as possible with the resources entrusted to us so that we can leave them in as good a shape as possible for future generations. Read our Sustainability Policy ( and our Purchasing Policy

And keep an eye out for a chance to attend a Repair Cafe near you, Volunteer repair coaches can help return some common household items back to working order and keep them out of the landfill. The next Repair Cafe will be at Kingwood Branch Library on Saturday, May 11, 11 am - 3 pm. With others coming to West University and Maud Smith Marks branches in September and November respectively. 

HCPL strengthens communities by pursuing Sustainable Libraries Initiative certification. Here are some books that might inspire you to build sustainability into your life too!

View Full List