The Hampstead Carbon Challenge

The Hampstead Carbon Challenge

Peggy Thrasher (Dover Public Library, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61350-387-4.ch009
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In 2008, the Hampstead Public Library partnered with the New Hampshire Carbon Challenge to encourage Hampstead residents to reduce their carbon emissions. The multi-faceted month-long initiative included programs, services, and resources designed to educate people and motivate them to take the Carbon Challenge and help the environment. The project provided activity and publicity, which helped the library position itself as an information resource in the community. The partnership provided fresh ideas and enthusiasm to both the library and the Carbon Challenge. The Hampstead Public Library pioneered some best practices for future Carbon Challenges in other locations, and leveraged the knowledgebase of the Carbon Challenge to provide a meaningful and memorable experience for its patrons. The Hampstead Carbon Challenge was a lot of fun for everyone.
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The Hampstead Public Library established a productive partnership with the New Hampshire Carbon Challenge in 2008. The New Hampshire Carbon Challenge later became the New England Carbon ChallengeTM ( The partnership helped to move both organizations closer to their goals. For the Carbon Challenge, our library provided a successful platform for spreading the word about carbon emissions and educating people about simple things they could do to reduce their household carbon footprints. For the library, the Challenge brought the staff and community together and positioned the Hampstead Public Library as an information resource in the community.

The New Hampshire Carbon Challenge is structured around the simple premise that households can make easy reductions in their use of fossil fuel energy and that these changes, when coupled with the actions of other households, can have a significant impact in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and stabilizing the risk of climate change. Households that have Taken the Challenge have, on average, reduced their annual energy usage by 16%, are saving more than $700 a year, and most actions can be implemented in less than an hour. Since many homes and families waste a lot of energy unknowingly and are unaware of how easily they can reduce their energy consumption, the Carbon Challenge also appeals to residents for whom frugality and energy independence are greater motivators than reducing one’s environmental footprint.

The Hampstead Public Library’s month-long Carbon Challenge initiative provided a way for the library to publicize that it is a place for people to get information that will help them make important decisions in their lives. It energized the staff and involved them in a meaningful project. The combination of programs with related services and resources positioned our town to vie for the honor of having more households from Hampstead take the Challenge than any other town. This project helped the library to be more visible, educated our patrons, and helped make a difference to the environment. Working with our community partner, the New Hampshire Carbon Challenge, enabled the Hampstead Public Library to expand its reach and influence.

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