The Library and Sustainability

Earth and Environment Graphic

Greening the Library

The DeWitt Wallace Library and its staff are committed to working toward a more sustainable Macalester community. The list below reflects some of our most recent efforts to conserve campus resources and model responsible green behavior.

Book Graphic

Printing Awareness

Each year the library works with ITS and the Sustainability Office to raise awareness of printing on campus. During the Printing Awareness week, the library is putting the spotlight on printing by sharing the current amount of paper being used, along with alternatives and tips for cutting down, such as:

  • electronic notetaking on PDFs
  • checking print preview before simply hitting “print”
  • printing multiple pages per sheet.

Check out these tips for using less paper:

  • Set your printing preferences to print duplex.
  • To reduce the amount of toner used when printing, consider acquiring Ecofont software. Ecofont prints fonts with tiny holes that use less toner. According to the Ecofont company’s website, results for Ecofont Arial 12pts show ink and toner savings of 28%. More information at


Onesies are notebooks made from paper with printing on only one side. The library collects one-sided paper from all around campus to create these notebooks as part of its sustainability efforts. When available, request your free Onesie at the library service desk. Donate your one-sided paper at our branded Onesies collection boxes at the library service desk, near library copiers, or at any branded collection box across campus. If you would like to help the Onesies project you can contribute your one-sided paper (without confidential info) to any of these boxes.

Reduce Direct Mail Waste

The library has also begun a direct mail waste initiative. Library staff receive a lot of bulk mailings from publishers and others that often go directly to the recycling bin. We are embarking on a project to keep this mail from coming in the first place. Staff place unwanted mailings in a designated bin and, prior to recycling, student workers investigate and follow the necessary steps to remove names from mailing lists.

Promote Electronic Publishing

We promote and maintain the Digital Commons electronic publishing archive for the Macalester College community and are transitioning many of our reference and periodical collections from printed copies to electronic versions. The library also posts our internal documents in moodle.

Donations to Better World Books

Whenever possible, books weeded from library collections are donated to Better World Books, an organization promoting literacy initiatives worldwide. Books unable to be accepted by BWB are sent to a recycling facility.

Other Energy-saving Efforts

In addition to the above policies and projects, the library also uses automatic turn-off lights in the stacks to save energy, leaving only safety (perimeter) lights on overnight. Recently, all large-sized fluorescent bulbs were replaced with ones using slightly less energy. Signs are posted on restroom hand-dryers to remind students that these can be turned off manually.

The library recently added a flat-screen TV to staff training space, and encourages staff participation in “webinar” training and professional development opportunities. This reduces the amount of air travel by staff.

Many library staff are opting for laptops instead of desktop workstations when they are up for replacement computers. According to information shared at the Nov. 2009 Educause conference, laptops use up to 80% less energy than desktop workstations.

The library’s sustainability team plans to build on the above successes and to continue to promote sustainability within our facility and across campus.

Last modified Friday May 30, 2014