Delivering Carbon Literacy In Worcestershire’s Libraries

Delivering Carbon Literacy In Worcestershire’s Libraries written by Heather Sykes, a project led by students Lauren Balukonis, Adam Marsh, Amy Ngan, and Blake Pedersen.

Background

We all need to make drastic measures in order to meet the UK’s plan to be β€˜net-zero’ by the year 2050. Groups such as the Carbon Literacy Project (CLP) are providing accredited training on climate change and the impacts of carbon emissions. The CLP program teaches about the steps to take in their daily working and studying life in order to cut their CO2 emissions. The University of Worcester offers this training to its students, staff and Sanctuary Housing and Platform Housing. For adults and families to be able to access the course, research was carried out to reduce time spent. This means those with less time to spare can still join in.

There are 21 libraries in Worcestershire ranging in size. The Hive is one of these and is the first fully-integrated university and public library. The Hive has worked hard to keep its building as green and clean as it can. If you ever get the chance to visit or talk to a member of staff, do it! They are very friendly and more than happy to help. The staff can explain all the clever ways in which the library was designed and built to be an eco-friendly space. It is a special building in the city, both for students and members of the public. So, the library wanted to offer carbon awareness to its users to support the research, they wanted to especially as their demographic has such a great range.

What did we do to Teach Carbon Literacy?

Interviews took place with library customer managers and customer advisors. This was along with observations about library spaces during visits to regional libraries. Surveys shared on social media with library users gained useful insight, whilst library customer advisors helped to collect information on the library. Information about the structure, programs, as well as the use.

This data then enabled pilot training to be developed for adults and families. It took place in The Hive as part of the Earth Day celebrations. Then, feedback on the carbon literacy training was the final element of the research. 

Students Amy Ngan and Blake Pedersen led the ‘lecture style’ CL training session for adults.
Family Sessions on carbon literacy at The Hive library

For the 23 of April 2022, ten sessions had been set out to take place. But due to Covid, these were cut to four sessions: two for adults and two for families. The sessions were tailored to suit the needs of each group. The adult sessions were made and given in a lecture style with hands-on activities and talks. The family sessions split into three parts. To be made up of a story time, a drawing activity, as well as a birdfeeder craft.  

What we Learned

Interviews, informal talks with library managers and staff, and library users’ survey data taught lots of things. We therefore learnt about the different people who use the library. As well as when each age group used the libraries, which session types are needed, and the best times to deliver the carbon literacy training. It became clear which learning styles and program lengths are best. In general, the four key findings were:  

  1. Different ages show a need for both adult and family sessions.
  1. The best time to deliver Carbon Literacy Training is outside school and working hours.
  1. There is not one preferred learning method (audio, visual, interactive, reading or writing).
  1. The preferred training length was a shorter taster session.

Therefore, what we recommend:  

  1. Worcestershire Libraries should pilot and deliver the training through the county.
  1. The libraries should place more focus on promoting the training sessions to get more stuck in.
  1. The Worcestershire libraries should develop partnerships with other organizations or groups.
  1. The Hive and Worcestershire Libraries should offer the accredited training at no or minimal cost to the participant to help everyone to join in.

Watch a video of the students presenting their research. Click the video below in order to watch.

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