ALIA and the Sustainable Development Goals 2017-2019

What has ALIA done?

Throughout February 2017-October 2019, the Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA) and library partners were active in promoting and advocating for the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

This advocacy came primarily in the form of attending and hosting events, as well as creating and/or submitting to relevant resources.


In September, ALIA hosted meetings of library leaders to create new stretch SDGs.

In May, ALIA was represented by ALIA Fellow Janine Schmidt AM at a roundtable held at the Queensland University of Technology.


In December, to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the National Library of Australia held a public forum featuring speakers from the ACT Human Rights Commission, the UN Information Office, Amnesty International and Australian Lawyers for Human Rights.

On 30 October, Newcastle Regional Library, NSW, ran an SDGs Summit, with some 40 participants and speakers representing IFLA, the UN and local government.

Earlier that year, on 11 October, ALIA past-President Vicki McDonald spoke as a keynote speaker at the Library and Information Association of South Africa’s conference. Vicki spoke about ‘Inspiring possibilities through knowledge, stories and creativity'.

In August, ALIA past-President Vicki McDonald gave a presentation to the Danish Library Association's guests about Australia's activities in relation to the SDGs and spoke to IFLA delegates at the main Congress. 

One of the more significant events was the 2018 ALIA Asia-Pacific Sustainable Development Goals Summit held at the Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre on 29 July. The summit had attendees from across the Australia and the Asia-Pacific and resulted in the development of a shared understanding of what lies ahead for libraries, and a list of 34 actions for attendees to undertake.

In June, Past-President Vicki McDonald attended the IFLA International Advocacy Program Global Convening meeting in New York, where she highlighted the work of ALIA and Australian libraries to support the SDGs.

On 13 March, ALIA's CEO represented the Association at the second, invitation-only Australian Sustainable Development Goals Summit at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.   


In November, ALIA CEO presented on the SDGs to delegates at the SWITCH conference in Penrith, NSW, and the APO Forum in Melbourne, VIC.

On 23 March, ALIA hosted a presentation about the Sustainable Development Goals at ALIA House which featured representatives from the Medical Council, Engineers Australia, Speech Pathology Australia, Australasian Veterinary Boards Council, Australian Property Institute, Australian Computer Society, Surveying and Spatial Sciences Institute, Universities Australia, National Archives of Australia, and senior library leaders.

Across 16-17 March, the STEAM into Sydney conference took place and featured a presentation of the How public libraries contribute to the STEM agenda report, which related to Goal 5 Target B: Enhance the use of enabling technology, in particular information and communications technology, to promote the empowerment of women.

The work of libraries to further the SDGs were featured in the first Australian National Voluntary Review, as well as the IFLA updates in February and May 2017. 

In May, ALIA Members approved an addition to the Constitution at the Annual General Meeting.