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ALIA releases report on library support for Sustainable Development Goals

The Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA) has launched a report investigating how Australian libraries contribute to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).

The report highlights the important role libraries play in working across government, the private sector and the community to create effective change, and aims to create a model for SDG implementation in Australian libraries.

The report comes after the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA), of which ALIA is a member, contributed to the negotiations around the targets for the goals, and lobbied for public access to information to be incorporated into the SDG targets.

In the report, ALIA chooses 10 of the 17 goals that it believes ‘best relate to the Australian experience’ and where it can highlight ‘the strongest examples of library contributions nationally and in each of our states and territories’.

ALIA CEO Sue McKerracher told global development platform Devex that sustainability is ‘part of the DNA’ of librarians. ‘The good thing about libraries is we cut across various government jurisdictions,’ said McKerracher. ‘We are a bit about education. We’re a bit about breaking the poverty and its cycle through literacy. We’re about health and wellbeing to help people live better and more fulfilling lives. And we’re about culture and preservation. So it is important for us to talk to government.’ ‘The SDGs are a framework for us to have conversations with various government departments we usually wouldn’t,’ she added.

In addition, ALIA is collating case studies of its work to support Australia’s report to the UN—the Voluntary National Review of SDGs, and is holding the Asia-Pacific Sustainable Development Goals Summit in July to discuss SDG implementation across the region.

‘We have gathered case studies, but we also have data that we need to start reconfiguring it to match up with the Sustainable Development Goals—and we can report them in a way that supports other people,’ said McKerracher. ‘Part of it is looking at data—what do we know, what can we generate easily and what we can supply to national reporting.’

The report was launched at Australia’s second Sustainable Development Goals Summit, held in Melbourne on 13 March.

Read the full report here.


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