The Future is Now at Anythink Libraries

Submitted by B. Maggie Foster.

Hands holding a seedling in dirt.John F. Kennedy once said “Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.”1  When the staff at Anythink Libraries, located in Adams County, Colorado, realized that they may not have a future, they turned to the people who could help: their community. The locals realized that poor funding would force closures, so they voted to increase funding and expand services. The regenerative spirit of the community has led to where Anythink Libraries is today – boasting seven locations, community gardens, and outreach/mobile services. 


Watering the garden at Anythink Wright Farms.

Anythink Wright Farms, home to the administrative branch of the district, features many sustainable initiatives, including the use of recycled materials, daylight harvesting, and ground source heating and cooling. The one-acre park on the property is home to Explore Outdoors, which provides children in the community an opportunity to connect with the natural world through activities, such as climbing, building, performing, and exploring. The Studio at Anythink was recently featured in an article by DEMCO Interiors – The Studio at Anythink: Empowering Customers to be Creators – and features a digital creation lab with state-of-the-art video, audio and design equipment and software. Geared towards teens from the community, the programming offered at the studio provides them an opportunity to develop critical thinking, communication, and collaboration skills, important to the 21st century. 

Additional features of the Anythink Libraries include energy-efficient buildings, large computer labs, Gold LEED status on at least two additional locations, and the first carbon-negative library in the United States. According to library director Pam Sandlian Smith, “At every step, we have made our decisions based upon long-term sustainability. While the short-term costs may be higher, over the lifespan of the library, we are much more energy efficient and giving our community a higher return on their investment…”2

Excellent programming, combined with “green” initiatives, and partnerships with local organizations, has truly brought Anythink Libraries into the future. For more info, contact Stacie Ledden, Director of Innovations and Brand Strategy at You can also follow Anythink on Facebook and Twitter

Anythink Library Building withe bubbles.





The Sustainability Spotlight is a weekly series that highlights community-driven, environmentally sound, and economically responsible programs and projects in libraries and other organizations. You can find more projects in the Sustainability Spotlight Archive or visit NYLA's Sustainability Initiative to learn more about how you can get started with sustainability in your library.