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Earth Day: Think Globally and Act Locally with Your Public Library

Libraries have many reasons to celebrate with their communities in the month of April, including Earth Day, National Library Week, Poetry Month and Money Smart Week. Hillsborough County public libraries also want to celebrate the support of our county government and families like yours who help our community grow and thrive by taking part in sustainable initiatives. The little actions you take every day can add up in a big way, and the library is here to help.

Libraries promote sharing! Work or study together in library meeting spaces or take a class with friends. Read, renew, and return library books, media and other items to encourage borrowing and cut down on waste.

In partnership with Hillsborough County Public Utilities, nine Hillsborough County public libraries offer C.O.R.E (Cooking Oil Recycling Effort) stations. Visit one of these stations to drop off containers of used cooking oil and grease to be recycled or to pick up an empty container to collect used oil.

Your local library helps visitors save money and reduce waste with water bottle refilling stations. These eco-friendly devices can be found at many public libraries throughout Hillsborough County and have saved over 400,000 plastic water bottles.

The libraries are also improving landscaping to enhance the beauty and safety of the outdoor environments and reducing water usage by adding Florida native and drought-tolerant plants and smart irrigation systems. All Hillsborough County public libraries are being upgraded to more environmentally-friendly lighting, and by the end of 2020, nine libraries will have solar panels installed to produce energy and reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

Here are some inspiring titles to get kids thinking about sustainability and the environment:  


earth day“The Pout-Pout Fish Cleans up the Ocean” by Deborah Diesen

Mr. Fish and an increasing number of sea creatures investigate and then decide how to deal with a huge mess in the ocean. With rhymes and cartoonish characters, this story teaches children how to take responsibility for the environment and includes tips to help protect the ocean.

“Anywhere Farm” by Phyllis Root

This upbeat rhyming book explains how a farm can be planted anywhere, including a community garden, using just soil, sunshine, water and a seed.

earth day“What a Waste! Where Does Garbage Go?” by Claire Eamer

Both colorful and easy to read, this book explores the methods of managing garbage and possible ways of managing it in the future, including shredded water bottle filters and Repair Cafes.

“Bee & Me” by Alison Jay

A little girl befriends a lost bumblebee in this beautiful, whimsical, and wordless picture book. The illustrations point out the sadness of a world without bees and the important role these insects play.

earth day“Compost Stew: An A to Z Recipe for the Earth” by Mary McKenna Siddals

Not only is composting becoming more common, but many school gardens feature compost piles, too. This upbeat and descriptive rhyming recipe explains how to make this dark, crumbly, rich, Earth-friendly food.

To learn more about sustainability in Hillsborough County public libraries visit:

Many books are available to borrow from the library introduce environmental themes and nurture an appreciation of nature.

Be sure to check out the library’s events calendar for Earth Day programming and celebrations.


*All photos provided by Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Library.

Jessica Jeffers
Jessica Jeffers
Jessica Jeffers is an Administrative Librarian for the Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Library. She recently relocated back to Florida after spending over 10 years working for the Chicago Public Library System and two years as the Branch Services Coordinator for the Hernando County Public Library System. Jessica is committed to advocating for libraries and their importance in communities. She lives in Odessa with her husband and two children.

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