Sustainability Action Agenda: Borrow a book instead of buying one!

Oct 15, 2013 - 10:20 am

The Leaf For a Leaf reading program was initiated by Austin Public Libraries through a grant from Austin Energy to promote borrowing from the library instead of buying new books.  The message was simple – taking advantage of library resources reduces the number of trees that are cut down to make paper.  To date, more than 500 people have participated in the program, reading over 2,500 books.

In addition to reading activities, Leaf for a Leaf events were designed to educate the public about how trees improve air quality, minimize harmful environmental pollutants, and enhance our surroundings.  The program was held annually from late fall through early winter, which is the best time to plant trees in Central Texas.

Multiple Leaf For a Leaf events were held in 2011 and 2012 at neighborhood libraries, with free classes taught by staff from the Parks & Recreation Department’s Urban Forestry Program and community non-profit organization TreeFolks.  At these Forest Stewardship Classes, community members learned how to maintain healthy trees, proper planting and pruning techniques, and received tips for identifying diseases and insects that harm trees.  Tree seedlings and mulch were given to participant, who came away from the program equipped with the knowledge, tools, and contacts to help make Austin a greener city.

TreeFolks continues to offer helpful guides for planting trees, tree selection for Central Texas, and tree care at: And you can still check out your favorite book to read instead of buying a new one at your neighborhood branch library.  Find the location nearest you!"We'll trade you a leaf for a leaf" logo

Find out more about the sustainability initiatives being tracked as part of the Sustainability Action Agenda and decide how you will take action to secure a bright, green future for Austin.