Think global, act local


United Nations 2030 Agenda and libraries

The agenda is a framework of 17 Sustainable Development Goals which span economic, environmental and social development. Libraries are key institutions to help achieve the goals.

Public access to information enables people to make informed decisions that can improve their lives. Access to information has been recognised in the SDGs under Goal 16. The target is 16.10: Ensure public access to information and protect fundamental freedoms, in accordance with national legislation and international agreements

Libraries provide information and ICT infrastructure, helping people develop the capacity to use information effectively and preserve information to ensure ongoing access for future generations. They provide an established, trusted network that can reach out to the population.

Libraries and access to information contribute to improved outcomes in the SDGs by: promoting literacy, including digital literacy; closing gaps in information needs, providing delivery sites for Government programs and services, advancing digital inclusion by providing ICT; serving the research and academic community; and preserving culture and heritage.

While the SDGs are universal goals, each country will be responsible for developing and implementing national strategies to achieve them and will be expected to track and report progress. As these national plans are developed, libraries stand ready to serve as partners to help meet the goals.

What is ALIA doing?

Download Australian libraries support the Sustainable Development Goals.

ALIA is already in discussions with the Federal Government Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) about libraries:

·         supporting the freedom of access to information outcomes;

·         providing examples of success, which can be used as part of Australia’s reporting; and

·         helping to communicate the 2030 agenda to the general population.

The ALIA Members approved an addition to the Constitution at the AGM in May, 2017. A new Object related to the Sustainable Development Goals has been added. Read more

ALIA has also has signed an international advocacy agreement with IFLA. By signing the agreement with IFLA, ALIA has committed to carry on advocacy work on how libraries are helping Australia, and the rest of the UN Member States, achieve the SDGs.             

Sue McKerracher, Chief Executive Officer of ALIA, said: 'In the context of the UN 2030 Agenda, ALIA believes that increasing access to information and knowledge across society, assisted by the availability of information and communications technologies (ICT), supports sustainable development and improves lives.'

It's an exciting time to think global and act local.

MAY 2017

IFLA update

Download IFLA report 

Australia is featured in the international update for libraries. This compilation includes activities reported to IFLA by participants from the four regions (Africa, Asia Oceania, Europe, and Latin America and the Caribbean) before the end of May 2017. 

How public libraries contribute to the STEM agenda

Download report 

This particular document relates to Goal 5 Target B: Enhance the use of enabling technology, in particular information and communications technology, to promote the empowerment of women.

The STEAM into Sydney conference took place on 16 and 17 March, 2017, alongside the IFLA Public Libraries Section mid-term meeting. Organised by Section Chair, Marian Morgan-Bindon, and Secretary/Information Coordinator, Jan Richards, the event was booked out within a couple of hours, demonstrating the strength of interest in the Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics agenda across the globe. Determined to make the most of the stories generated through the conference presentations, Jan and Marian worked with ALIA to produce a summary, How public libraries contribute to the STEM agenda.

As an easy to read, highly illustrated document, this report has already proved to be a valuable advocacy tool, helping library managers explain to local, state and territory governments what can be achieved by investing in makerspaces and technology programs. For some politicians and their advisers, it is difficult to understand the link between libraries and STEM. This report not only makes that connection, but also provides examples of inspirational activities, from Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Norway and Sweden.

The report is the first Australian publication specifically designed to show the impact of libraries in contributing to the UN 2030 Agenda.  The report has been shared with the Australian Government through the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the Ministry of the Arts. Further reports are planned over the coming months along with advice to library managers about how they can use them as conversation starters with local councils and their communities.


UN Sustainable Development Goals 

IFLA survey on UN Sustainable Development Goals 

Read more about IFLA and SDGs