11 September 2020

Five ways to show how libraries support the SDGs

A week today, SDG Action Week begins with an ‘SDG Moment’ at the United Nations General Assembly. Leaders of countries around the world will underline their commitment to delivery and set out their plans.

SDG Action Week 2020 Logo​The Sustainable Development Goals are the highest profile element of the United Nations 2030 Agenda, which sets out a roadmap to a stronger, fairer, more sustainable world by 2030.

With just a year to go, the United Nations is calling for implementation efforts to move up a gear, engaging all key stakeholders. There is a strong focus on ‘acceleration’ actions – investments, initiatives and activities that can unlock progress across a number of SDGs.

For IFLA, a strong and empowered library field providing equitable access to information is just such an acceleration action. As a result, libraries should be part of any wider effort to implement the SDGs, and supported as such.

So a week out from the beginning of SDG Action Week, here are five ways in which you can help show this contribution:

  1. Use our poster on websites and social media! You can download this from our website, and of course translate it (contact us if you need editable files) or even design your own, as the Australian Library and Information Association has done. As  part of the work of the American Library Association’s SDG Task Force, Los Angeles Public Library has produced its own poster, including explanations of how libraries contribute to each goal.
  2. Think of a story you can contribute to the Library Map of the World! If you have examples of how libraries have made a demonstrable difference towards achieving one or more SDGs, share it! It won’t only mean greater profile for your work, but will also help IFLA and libraries around the world in their advocacy.
  3. Organise and present your own advocacy resources: when making the case for libraries, it’s powerful to be able to provide examples of how libraries contribute to progress across the SDGs. That way, you can be ready to convince decision-makers from different departments or ministries. There are already great examples from around the world available on the IFLA website, or you can simply present your examples one by one on social media or through other means.
  4. Take the message to the decision-makers and influencers: with almost all events around the SDGs now taking place online, there is more opportunity than ever to get involved and speak up in support of libraries. SDG Action Week itself is a great chance to do this, helping politicians, UN officials, and wider stakeholders understand what libraries can contribute. We have updated our guide on how to get involved. If you have an event planned, make sure it’s featured on the Action Week map – there’s already one library activity there!
  5. Assess your capacity to advocate around the SDGs: ensuring that everyone understands the difference that libraries can make cannot be taken for granted. It’s important to organise – at the national, regional and local levels – in order to spread the word. Our advocacy capacities grid provides a tool for thinking about where you stand now, and identifying areas where you can be stronger. On this basis, you can look out for some of the great advocacy resources already out there.

Access to information, Advocacy, Development, SDGs, UN 2030 Agenda, sustainable development goals

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