Charities benefit from former Queen Mother Library

The University of Aberdeen’s striking new library has transformed the skyline of Aberdeen but its predecessor, the Queen Mother Library, has also been making an impact further afield.

The building, scheduled for demolition during 2012, has been stripped of more than 100 tonnes of recyclable material with shelves, office equipment and books donated to charities.

Some of this is now making its way across the globe to begin a new life in orphanages in Moldova and a hospital and mobile library in Ghana.

The largest donation of equipment and furniture was given to Peterhead-based charity New Hope Trust, which collected recyclable material ranging from furniture, packaging, trolleys and shelving to crockery, notice boards, and carpet tiles.

Better World Books purchased a substantial quantity of Remainders – multiple copies of titles formerly published by the University which had been available to purchase via the Online Store and they will donate a proportion of the resale value to Read International.   

The Aberdeen University Students Association (AUSA) took just over five tonnes of items while 34 tonnes of metal and seven tonnes of wood were also recycled.

Louise Reid, General Manager of the New Hope Trust said equipment from the Queen Mother Library would help to expand the charity’s work in Moldova.

“Some of the shelving we were given is going to line a deposit we are creating there which will enable us to work much more effectively,” she added.

“When trucks go over there not everything they contain is needed on the day they arrive so we need to store it and the shelves are perfect for this as they are used to holding a great deal of weight and can be added to as and when required.

“In Moldova some of the office furniture will go to an orphanage where proper facilities are really needed.”

In addition to the charity’s work in Moldova, New Hope Trust is expanding its operations to Ghana where they now have a local representative working in the village of Osonodompe.

“Here we are launching a reading programme and plan to use the shelves to kit out a van as a mobile library which could go out to villages to help teach children to read. We hope this could also be used with street children in the region,” Louise added. “The rest of the equipment will go to schools and hospitals for a variety of different uses.

“A donation of this kind makes a real difference to us and those we work with and we are very grateful when organisations contact us with an offer of equipment rather than sending it away as rubbish.

“We try to get as much out of what we were given as possible and will ensure the equipment is given a new lease of life and used for many years to come.”

Amy Gray, Waste and Environmental Manager at the University of Aberdeen added: “The University has a commitment to reduce waste and support sustainable causes so when a building is no longer needed we aim to ensure everything that can be reused finds a good home or is recycled.

“More than 100 tonnes of material has either been reused or recycled from the Queen Mother Library and we are delighted to know that it will be helping other communities for many years to come.”