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The basic definition of "sustainable" is the use and stewardship of resources today that preserves them for tomorrow, and a sustainable community is one that is healthy and prosperous over the long term. The three components of a sustainable community are Economy, Ecology, and Equity.  Economy is the management, or stewardship, of the resources; Ecology is the relationship of the community with its environment, particularly the natural environment; and Equity is fairness to all.

For the purposes of this resource on "green" libraries, emphasis is on stewardship of resources and impact on the natural environment.

Libraries by their very nature are "green" in that their resources are shared by the larger community.  But libraries can extend the environmental benefit further through both sustainable practices, which reduce the environmental impact of day-to-day operations, and green buildings, which seek to minimize consumption of resources either in their building or their operation.

This section originated from the American Library Association guide to Sustainability and Libraries and is quoted with permission.

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