NPL Becoming an “Urban Green Lab”

by Kate Wingate, RP Circulation Assistant

Once the NPL Sustainability Committee formed in 2021, we were fortunate to connect with Urban Green Lab (UGL). Urban Green Lab is a Nashville nonprofit whose mission is to teach communities how to live sustainably. Through their Lab Certification program, UGL “officially recognizes community institutions... as Nashville-approved “Urban Green Labs.” A lab is any workplace that proves its commitment to the practice and training of sustainable behaviors and explores new ways for making decisions that better protect our people, profit, and planet” – otherwise known as the “Triple Bottom Line.”

Selva Ibrahim (EP Circulation Assistant, left) and Kate Wingate (RP Circulation Assistant, right) at Urban Green Lab's Sustainability Roundtable on March 17, 2022.

Through a series of Zoom meetings with the Sustainability Committee, Jackie Goodwin, UGL’s Sustainable Workplaces Manager, oriented our team to the sustainability landscape in Nashville and led us through an assessment so we could see what areas we needed to focus on. She then helped us develop a targeted strategic plan to take to NPL’s administrative team. The committee’s strategic plan has both inward/staff-facing initiatives, such as working toward re-starting recycling at NPL branch locations and educating NPL staff about how to live more sustainably at work and at home, and outward/public-facing initiatives, such as creating sustainability programming for adults, teens, and children, and adding sustainability and environmental education materials to the catalog.

In addition, NPL is in the process of joining UGL’s Nashville Sustainability Roundtable, which is “dedicated to guiding workplaces to be more sustainable. Members of the Roundtable attend bi-monthly meetings at rotating workplaces to exchange best practices, troubleshoot obstacles, and share their own journey to sustainability.”

At the end of the year, we will meet with Jackie to assess what we’ve accomplished, and to celebrate our certification as Nashville’s newest certified Urban Green Lab!

This article originally appeared in Nashville Public Library's April 2022 issue of their newsletter, Sustainability Committee News.

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