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Reading Sustainably

With over a million books being printed each year and many more recycled, there are ways to make reading more sustainable.  

Director of Ryan Library Denise Nelson said the library practices sustainability through the selection and donation of books that pass through our library. 

“This idea [is] that by the time you have a book the tree is dead,” Nelson said. “We cannot bring this tree back. But we can steward the product of the tree as well as possible.” By taking good care of books and using them carefully and wisely, we can ensure the valuable information in the books passes down through generations, she said.

The library staff is careful to select books that will be used by students. When books are no longer being used or they need to be changed out, the library donates what they can and recycles whatever is left over. They’ve partnered with reseller companies Empty Shelves and Cash for Your Books so the donated books can have a future somewhere else. 

Students also agree the future of books remains a printed one. 

Halle Peters, a sophomore education major, has loved reading since childhood when her dad read with her. “Ever since then I just loved reading,” Peters said. “I would spend all my free time in the library.”

Peters also noted that it’s difficult to say what the future of books looks like because of how many books are online now. However, she hopes that “our love for books will let them carry on.” 

Sophia Malak, a junior education major and avid reader, also hopes printed books remain. “I like having my books and it makes me happy to see them,” she said. 

Although Malak recognizes that printing books isn’t the most sustainable practice, she also doesn’t want the world to be a strictly technological one. Because of her experience working in a bookstore, Malak also noted that if everyone switched over to Kindle or online reading it could negatively impact small businesses. 

Printed books may not be the most sustainable, but they are here to stay at PLNU.

Written by: Ally Andre