Realising the Opportunity: Libraries in Sustainable Urban Development

IFLA Metropolitan Libraries Section (MetLib) Satellite Meeting

Around 75 librarians, urban planners, academic researchers, and economists will come together to explore how libraries contribute to sustainable urban development. Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 11 directly addresses Sustainable Cities and Communities, while some of the other SDGs relating to Good Health and Well Being (SDG 3), Quality Education (SDG 4) (SDG 13), both touch on key determinants of sustainable urbanisation and represent areas where libraries play a supportive role.

Libraries serve as a destination and a gathering place, bringing people together in the urban centre and in local neighbourhoods, often serving as a third space that is both welcoming and a refuge. The library provides flexible programming that identifies and addresses local needs in areas such as literacy, digital skills, employment support and cultural affirmation, all issues contributing towards community engagement and the fulfilment of individual potential and rights. The library may serve as a partner agency for other urban actors, providing history, documentation, digital support, etc.

Looking across these questions, the meeting wishes to identify factors contributing to the library’s value as a partner in sustainable urban development as well as barriers to such a role. Are there ways that libraries could enhance their ability to contribute to urban development and policymaking? How can urban policy-makers and development specialists better realise the potential of libraries?

The program now has its speakers confirmed for the morning sessions, including a recorded Keynote by Carlos Moreno, Pantheon Sorbonne University on the 15-minute city and libraries. Other speakers include Aat Vos (Architect & Creative Director at includi), Hanne Vogt (City Librarian Cologne), Chad Carpenter Project Leader, Architecture LEED AP, New York (Snohetta) and Karen Beach (Deputy Director) of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Library Foundation. In the afternoon sessions the meeting’s participants will be encouraged to dig deeper into the topics raised in the morning through a series of parallel workshops which will also include other themes of relevance to the meeting.

The full programme of the event will be published soon and people interested in attending will be invited to register.

See the satellite meeting website for full details.