Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia had a problem. They had about 50,000 bound volumes of academic journals to store and were running out of space. Most universities are confronted with this problem. Some rent off-campus storage, others attempt to recycle. However, recycling poses problems; covers have to be removed because the glues and binding compounds jam the mechanical shredders.
David Cameron heard about the problem and saw a possible solution. David is a builder and his Blockhouse School Project needed a way to insulate the school to save heating money. The project is transforming an old schoolhouse into a community center. Cameron realized he could solve two problems by using the journals as insulation. Basically, he and his helpers stacked a wall of books and covered them with earth plaster (a mixture of clay, sand, and straw).
The Blockhouse School illustrates one successful way to use old books and journals, but the storage of bound journals is still an issue that many universities must confront.
[Adapted from: Asgarian, R. (2013). Library Discards Find New Life as Insulation. Library Journal, 138(21), 17.]
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