Ljubljana City Library held on 20 May 2021 the sixth international one-day professional conference called “Library, the heart of the city” dedicated to green libraries.

In the City Library of Ljubljana, we have the renovated Šentvid Library since 2014, which is located in an area that is almost half covered by a green, forested area. The main motto of the renovated library was: “We live in harmony with nature.” With it, we outlined the concept of a green library.

Šentvid Library participated in the competition for the best green library – IFLA Green Library Award and achieved an extremely high ranking – one of the five runners up – by presenting its realization of the green library concept.

We wanted to give a new impetus to the Green Library by organizing an international conference, which would connect professional efforts on this topic in Slovenia and the wider region. Therefore, we dedicated the traditional biennial professional conference of the City Library of Ljubljana, which is dedicated to a specially selected professional topic every other year, to the Green Library in 2020, but for well-known reasons, we conducted it this year in virtual form.

The program was divided into three sessions parts. In the first, we presented a broader framework for a well functional green library: an international social environment geared to sustainable development, as presented to us by Dr Petra Hauke from Humboldt University in Berlin, Germany, and one of the main founders and currently Secretary of the IFLA Environment, Sustainability and Libraries Section (ENSULIB). Ljubljana as the European Green Capital 2016 was presented by Nataša Jazbinšek Seršen, Head of the Department of Environmental Protection of the Municipality of Ljubljana and Executive Manager of the Green Capital of Europe 2016 project. Dr Matej Nikšič, a researcher at the Urban planning Institute of the Republic of Slovenia and lecturer at the Faculty of Architecture, University of Ljubljana, introduced us to how public buildings and spaces play a city-creating role.

We left the second part to the library profession and the concept of the green library as it develops within it: Zsófia Mikolasek from neighbouring Hungary, Dr Ksenija Tokić and Ana Rubić from neighbouring Croatia and mag. Ana Zdravje (Ljubljana City Library, member of ENSULIB Standing Committee) presented this aspect.

In the third part, we admired the diversity of green visions that have found a place in libraries and other public institutions, such as schools and kindergartens, which are our dear partners. These green visions were presented by dedicated and innovative experts from various institutions from Slovenia and neighbouring Croatia.

All papers are published in a book of abstracts and all presentations are accessible on the library’s YouTube channel. We hope that you will find new ideas, see some inspiring practice or maybe a solution to the problem you have been looking for a long time. We see public libraries as influential in our local communities and beyond, our public spaces are visited and therefore we can gently but persistently shape public opinion in many ways.

We can achieve all 17 Sustainable Development Goals from the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development by working together.