The Daily Tar Heel

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Monday May 29th

UNC Libraries hosts virtual sustainability-themed collection

Library staff and RAs sit at a sustainability-themed book booth in front of Hinton James Residence Hall on Thursday, March 24, 2022. Photo courtesy of UNC Library Communications.
Buy Photos Library staff and RAs sit at a sustainability-themed book booth in front of Hinton James Residence Hall on Thursday, March 24, 2022. Photo courtesy of UNC Library Communications.

Alongside resident advisers at Carolina Housing, University Libraries has created a book collection focused on environmentalism, sustainability and the climate crisis. 

The virtual collection — titled "Sustainability Now!" — varies from nonfiction works like Greta Thunberg’s “No One is Too Small to Make a Difference” and  Leah Thomas' “The Intersectional Environmentalist,” to fiction novels like Barbara Kingsolver’s “Prodigal Summer.”

It is currently available on OverDrive, a digital platform that grants students access to e-books, audiobooks and videos. 

Several RAs approached University Libraries looking to promote books related to sustainability. In response, Undergraduate Library staff compiled 35 titles from their existing OverDrive collection and bought an additional 15 for "Sustainability Now!," according to an emailed statement from Director of Library Communications Judy Panitch. 

The collection is inspired by Green Games, a student-led competition that seeks to promote sustainability on campus through various programs, contests and events. Activities are hosted by residence hall community student leaders, according to the Green Games website.

For each event hosted, communities get a certain number of points, depending on the activity, as well as two points per resident in attendance. 

Green Games events include “Bring Your Own” socials, where residents are encouraged to bring their own utensils to events where food is provided, as well as service programs that incorporate volunteer work or environmental education.

Panitch said a sustainability-themed book booth featuring 40 print works and a mobile check-out station were arranged outside Hinton James Residence Hall as part of Green Games on March 24. It was hosted by RAs and University Libraries staff.

Katelyn Ander, the Media Center manager and co-manager of the University Libraries' OverDrive collection, said in a statement that she hopes to continue partnering with student groups to build more highlighted collections within OverDrive.

“Sharing both print and digital books as part of this year’s Green Games was a great way to connect students with information that really matters to them and to help them know more about collections like OverDrive,” Ander said.

Junior Adaeze Ibeanu, a Hinton James resident adviser and information science major, assisted with the booth. 

For her, planning programs for Green Games is about directing students toward on-campus resources. 

“While I do care about promoting sustainability and environmentalism on campus, I think it just ties into this larger role of an RA leading residents to resources,” Ibeanu said.

Ibeanu said her work at the booth also tied into work and overall goals in her major. 

She said one resident who came up to her at the booth did not realize that UNC Libraries carried non-academic books, which allowed her to shed light on the variety of fiction books available through Undergraduate Library and Manning Library. 

“It was just so great because students don’t even know that there are — I don’t want to use the term ‘regular books’ — but popular books on campus as well," Ibeanu said.

The "Sustainability Now!" collection contains a total of 62 items that can be filtered by subject and text difficulty, among other options. 

OverDrive also houses several other collections, such as “Asian American Voices”, “Personal and Financial Wellness”, “Black Health & Wellness” and “Celebrating Indigenous Peoples”. 

The "Sustainability Now!" collection can be accessed here.

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