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More sustainable libraries

The University Library Service contributes to the sustainability aspirations of the University, enhancing our library buildings, creating effective learning spaces, and introducing more efficient working processes.


More sustainable library buildings

The computer bar at Trevithick Library

The computer bar at Trevithick Library

The refurbishment of the Trevithick Library has allowed us to improve heating, cooling and lighting efficiency in partnership with the University's Estates division and School of Architecture. 

The Library service has also worked in partnership with the University's Estates division to replace over 600 inefficient, 30-year-old fluorescent light fittings throughout the Arts and Social Studies Library with new, higher-efficiency, higher-quality lighting. 

The new tube life is also approximately three times that of the old fluorescent tubes, thus also reducing lamp replacement costs, embodied energy and landfill. 

The work (£180,000 investment) was funded as part of the University's carbon reduction commitment programme, and is predicted to save around £25,000 per year in energy costs, and 125 tonnes of CO2, and save an additional £7,000 per year in maintenance costs.


More efficient library catalogue terminals 

We have replaced 100 older standard library catalogue search PCs with "Sun ray" thin client terminals, each consuming about one tenth of the power of the original PCs.

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Saving space and transport with electronic journals

Out of 16,000 University journal titles, only 1500 are not available electronically. Online content allows direct access from the desk - reducing time, space, transportation and paper, while allowing better availability, electronic searching and data manipulation. The growing availability of eBooks means that lower numbers of print copies can be purchased for some popular titles.

Through the use of electronic resources, the IT server virtualisation programme and making available more efficient printing and photocopying services, we aim to minimise the environmental impact of library resources while maximising the value and ease-of-use of our services.

Electronic inter-library loans

Secure Electronic Delivery (SED) is now the default for our inter-library loan service, which is replacing the previous default paper-based service. This development is leading to a major reduction in transport carbon (and waiting time) between Cardiff University and other institutions. Online requesting is also now being introduced, ultimately leading to a reduction in the number of printed forms used.

student using a photocopier

Ask A Librarian Live

Ask a Librarian Live is an instant messaging service that connects library users with a member of library staff,  without needing to physically travel to one of the University libraries, saving travel carbon and time. The service is available through the Libraries page and the student intranet.

Services For Distance Learners

There is a range of Library services available to distance learners, reducing the need for them to travel long distances to and from the University.

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More efficient printing and photocopying

  • Duplex (double-sided) printing and photocopying is enabled by default in all multifunctional printing and photocopying devices (MFDs) in all the libraries and open access IT rooms. 
  • The MFDs also initiate a 'power save' mode when not in use.
  • All printer cartridges and toner bottles are recycled.
  • Your account on the myPrint network printing system enables you to track your usage, and therefore impact, of printing and photocopying. 
  • Please also see our tips for more sustainable printing.

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Responsible disposal of obsolete books and journals

We dispose of damaged/unwanted/obsolete paper books and journals responsibly, using a variety of methods (e.g. donations, recycling), which result in none going to landfill.

Educational Awards in Sierra Leone (EASL)

Since 1999, the Library service has provided community health information for poverty alleviation in Sierra Leone - part funded by the Department for International Development's DelPHE (Development Partnerships in Higher Education) scheme and the Welsh Government. This has included working in the local communities, and developing locally-appropriate health information to help fight extreme poverty and hunger, to reduce child mortality and to combat disease. The partnership also provides educational support for school students and 'EASL: Educational Awards in Sierra Leone' has now become an officially recognised charity.

Find out more about EASL...