Sunday 29 July, 2018: More than 50 library leaders from Australia and the Asia-Pacific gathered at the Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre today for the ALIA Asia-Pacific Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Summit. Nearly a third of the audience came from overseas, from as far away as Fiji, India, Indonesia, NZ, PNG, Samoa, Sri Lanka and Timor-Leste. For many, their attendance was made possible by grants from the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA).
The full day meeting involved eight presentations and two workshops. It resulted in the development of a shared understanding of what lies ahead for libraries, and a list of 34 actions ranging from including a Sustainable Development Goal in one's email signature block through to signage for university buildings referencing the SDGs most relevant to the faculty.
Keynote speaker Christopher Woodthorpe, Director of the United Nations Information Centre for the region, inspired delegates with his sweeping overview of the SDGs, while making the point that 65% of SDG delivery relies on local initiatives. Pamela McGowan, Team Leader, Townsville Libraries, and Nina Nakaora, Library Assistant, Suva City Carnegie Library, shared the outcomes of the INELi Oceania Pacific Library Summit, held in Fiji in May 2018, while Opeta Alefaio, Director of the National Archives of Fiji, and Paula Eskett, President of LIANZA, outlined the challenges and opportunities of the SDGs for libraries in their jurisdictions. ALIA CEO Sue McKerracher talked about the Association's report Australian libraries support the Sustainable Development Goals and libraries' inclusion in the Australian Government's Voluntary National Review.
ALIA immediate past-President, CEO and State Librarian of Queensland Vicki McDonald topped and tailed the day with an energetic welcome at the start and an insight into the international advocacy taking place through IFLA at the end of the day. IFLA President-elect Christine Mackenzie gave her perspective on how the SDGs fitted with IFLA's strategic priorities, including the IFLA Map of the World and IFLA Global Vision. She also previewed her presidential theme 'Let's work together'.
Feedback from delegates confirmed the success of the event, which kicked off the Asia-Pacific Library and Information Conference, taking place at the Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre from 30 July to 2 August.