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Embracing the Library


We unplugged our TV a month ago & canceled our broadband internet. While we still (obviously) go online, our overall screen time - both TV & computer - is, happily, a fraction of what it once was...and we're saving $50/mo to boot! Falling back in love with the library has kept our minds seriously occupied, with no more than 3 or 4 books checked out at a time. While I was always a used book lover, roving the aisles of my hometown's Powell Books with my dad as a kid, our local library system is so well connected that just about any book I want to read is there, saving me both money and space on the bookshelf for the books I want to have forever (which I'll buy *after* reading them at the library). And while I'm up to my ears in memoirs, I've also fallen madly in love with checking out cookbooks - something I'm betting a lot of other folks haven't contemplated either! Too many times I've bought a cookbook after a quick flip-through at the bookstore or online review, and then been disappointed at the poor quality of instructions, recipe results, or sometimes particularly bougie cookbook writers who expect everyone to have expensive equipment and provide not alternate items or instructions (i.e., the bakers who start everything with "using your stand mixer attachment..." - which cost an average of $300-500 - and not providing any conversions). Wanting to try some vegan recipes, I checked out several based on reviews, and am so glad I started with the library! Two literally went back the next day when I saw them loaded with either processed fake meat or a million ways to create fake chicken, fake beef, etc. But then I struck gold with Vegan Richa's 'Everyday Kitchen' cookbook with loads of clever recipes, easy-to-understand instructions, and TONS of flavor in them - with alternatives for the #glutenfree crowd to boot. And now, I've saved money by not buying anything. I can eventually buy her cookbook OR simply copy down my favorite recipes and add them to my recipe binder! AND? This is as sustainable as it gets. A lot of us hoard books (y'all, we asked for Powell's gift cards on our wedding registry) even though they're never reading most of them again. And the library? Greener than an e-book too (but for those who just can't stand a real book? The library lends e-books out too).

"E-readers don’t require trees, ink, or glue—nor do they take up as much space and weight as a traditional book. An e-reader represents not just one book but an entire bookshelf, so having more books on the e-reader reduces the environmental burden per book. On the other hand, e-readers consist of electronic components (such as the screen, lithium-ion battery, and CPU)—all of which require extraction and transformation of different resources (copper, silicon, and rare earth elements, among others). They use electricity to recharge, and the data centers and servers that host electronic books before they’re downloaded also consume resources and energy. What’s more, an e-reader has a shorter lifetime (around three years) than a paper book. And even though recycling electronic products continues to become easier, the practice is still not widespread and is much more problematic than recycling paper books." - from Anthropocene
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