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Whistler2020 on the Ground

Quite literally green

Public Services Librarian

The Whistler Public Library celebrated its 24th anniversary just last month. As a vibrant hub of the community the library has been affectionately dubbed "Whistler's Living Room" and strives to meet the needs and interests of the local population it serves.

The mission statement of the library states it best: "The Whistler Public Library is a gateway to knowledge, supporting lifelong learning, community engagement, and a culture of sustainability."

Increasingly, sustainable living has become an important goal of our community. Bricks and mortar evidence of this worthy goal is the innovative new library, which was built in 2008 and was recently awarded with Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certification.

The library was bursting at the seams prior to the move. There was simply no more room for growth. Of the many benefits afforded by the new building top of the list was space - glorious space. The new library has become a place to gather and be; a place to while away an afternoon. Comfortable seating, a fireplace, study carrels, a computer lab, a dedicated children's programming room and a meeting room allowed the library to reach its full potential as a home away from home for locals and visitors alike.

More space didn't just translate into more room for people in the library; it also meant more room for more books (and audio books, DVDs, magazines, newspapers, music CDs, videogames, maps, large print and material in other languages). It goes without saying that the new building was built to be green, but would it surprise you that the library's collection is, too?

The most obvious example of this is the Sustainability Collection, which was created when the new building opened. The aim of the collection was and continues to be to inspire and offer practical guidance to make homes, neighbourhoods, communities and the planet more sustainable. Starting out with a few key publications about the Natural Step framework, adopted by the Resort Municipality of Whistler to guide our community's journey towards sustainability, the collection has grown by leaps and bounds over the last two and half years.

The Sustainability Collection addresses the integrated nature of sustainability thought and action and covers local, regional and global topics in a variety of formats, which include books, audio books and DVDs. Browsing the collection you will find titles on: reducing consumption, renewable energy, green building, eating locally, ecology, sustainable business practices, green investing, recycling and much, much more.

The collection includes classics titles such as Silent Spring by Rachel Carson and Desert Solitaire by Edward Abbey. As well as titles that have shaped our water cooler discussions of the environment like The 100 Mile Diet: a Year of Local Eating by Alisa Smith & J.B. MacKinnon, Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things by William McDonough & Michael Braungart, and of course Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth .

New titles are always being added and most recently include The Legacy: an Elder's Vision for Our Sustainable Future by David Suzuki, The Zero-Mile Diet: a Year-Round Guide to Growing Organic Food by Carolyn Herriot, the updated edition of The Renewable Energy Handbook by William H. Kemp and the audio book versions of all of Michael Pollan's popular titles including In Defense of Food and The Omnivore's Dilemma .

The collection also includes a small but growing number of documentaries. All are worth viewing such as Food Inc. about the industrialization of food production , Garbage Warrior about sustainable housing, and Whale Wars about Japanese whaling ships.

Community input is essential for the Sustainability Collection to remain relevant and to be a valuable tool as we move toward living more sustainable lives. Suggestions for new titles are always welcome and can be made in person or online at the library's website (

For more information about the Sustainability Collection or the Whistler Public Library please contact, at or 604.935.8433.