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2017.09.18
Library Media Digitization Goes Green

In the old days before all the digital platforms and media channels were available, tapes and cassettes were the key media items for enjoying movie and music. Our HKUST Library has been spending great effort in promoting sustainability through their operations. One of the initiatives in last semester was disposing older magnetic media cassettes (audio and video) while disassembling and recycling of the plastic components.

This was the first major weeding exercise for cassette materials in the Library. For VHS, under Hong Kong law, the digitization can only be done if there is no new version available for sale, among other restrictions.  The Library's Collection Development team has worked for some time to identify and replace those items which are still needed for the Library collection. Even there are still some VHS cassettes in the Library collection, over time, digital versions will be obtained for those still in high use, and another batch will be sent for recycling.  In the meantime, viewing stations and player-equipped rooms are available for users who no longer have playback equipment of their own.

In the last several years, the bulk of the Library's budget goes towards electronic materials, with almost 500,000 ebooks and over 50,000 ejournals in the collection.  Also, many current media purchases are already in electronic format for online access. The Library has been a campus leader in efforts to reduce, reduce and recycle paper at the University.

  • In offices, paper is collected for reuse of any blank sides, with a stock of reused paper in one feed tray.
  • Only recycled paper is used in all public and staff printers and copiers in the Library. A paper recycling bin is provided by every copier and printer.
  • All Library computers use double-sided printing by default. They encourage double-sided copying and printing for public users by reducing the fee compared to single-sided printing.
  • A full recycling station is provided in the Refreshment Zone of the Learning Commons, by the vending machines.
  • Several earlier actions have found new homes for outdated and duplicate Library print materials - many through donations to a sister University in the Mainland, and some through the Library's Book Sales.

Edward F Spodick, IT and Services Infrastructure Manager, shared with us, “The HKUST Library has been designed with sustainability in mind from day one - and our staff work hard to fulfill this mission objective in ways both obvious and unnoticed, large and small.  This includes the building, the facilities, the collections, and the services.  Some of the best ideas have come through user feedback, collaborative planning, and active listening.  And we always welcome your comments and suggestions at library@ust.hk.”

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