IFLA AO Section + IFLA Strategy: libraries and the UN SDGs in the Asia and Oceania Region
04 June 2021
Inspired by the IFLA Strategy, the IFLA Asia and Oceania Section (IFLA AO Section) is bringing the profile of libraries in Asia and Oceania to a new level, with a dynamic focus on advocacy around the UN Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs).
(Note – as of 26 August 2021, the task of driving forwards IFLA’s global advocacy priorities in the region has been taken over by the new Asia-Oceania Regional Division Committee).
Closely aligned to IFLA Key Initiative 1.1 “Show the power of libraries in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals”, the IFLA AO Section organised a webinar on “Libraries and the SDGs” and a complete makeover of the IFLA Asia & Oceania Regional Newsletter, both of which were enthusiastically welcomed by the library community regionally and internationally.
IFLA Asia-Oceania Regional Webinar on Libraries & the SDGs
The Library and Information Association of New Zealand (LIANZA) hosted a mid-term virtual event for the Asia and Oceania Section’s Standing Committee at the National Library of New Zealand.
The 2-hour event ‘Libraries and the SDGs’ saw great success with guest speakers from the USA, Singapore, India, Fiji and New Zealand, and registrants from a wide range of countries across the region. The webinar highlighted the 17 interlinked Global Goals which serve as our “collective blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all”.
It showcased grass-roots SDG stories from libraries regardless of their locality, size or resource level and provided practical examples of how libraries contribute to attaining the SDGs. Lively discussion ensued in the ‘question and answer’ session.
Felicity Benjes, a staff member of the National Library of New Zealand gave a personal perspective on the event:
I confess I didn’t know much about the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) other than that they existed, and that New Zealand was involved in contributing to them. I was expecting to hear how these were being achieved at a very high-level, perhaps describing international leadership and inter-government support programmes.
In reality, the stories told were grass-roots examples which brought to life the way libraries are contributing in very real ways to the SDGs through serving their communities. There was a project to save bats in Alaska, salary negotiation boot camps for women in New York, the recording of stories, voices, and traditional clothing of the Punjab community in Auckland.
Professor Ramesh Gaur told us of the Accessible Online Book Library in India which provides free access to over 1 million books for people with visual impairment. Those were just a few of the inspiring practical examples reported.”
Read more information on the webinar here.
Watch the recorded event on the LIANZA YouTube channel.
IFLA Asia & Oceania Regional Newsletter
Last week, the Section published its latest Asia & Oceania Regional Newsletter, which included a dozen tangible examples of how the UN SDGs are used in everyday library work. These, along with other regional news, can be found in a newsletter waiting to be discovered by the worldwide library community. Not to be missed!
It is wonderful work done by IFLA’s Regional Office for Asia and Oceania.
Check the newsletter here.
Soh Lin Li, Regional Manager of the IFLA Regional Office for Asia and Oceania, and Tina Yang, Chair of the IFLA Regional Standing Committee of Asia and Oceania, co-highlighted their emphasis on SDG work:
We are excited to work on the UN SDGs in our region; both the Office and the wider Asia and Oceania region believe that we have a lot to showcase and offer to the world as examples.
Alongside this, we are heading towards a makeover of the Regional Section due to the newly formed Asia and Oceania Regional Division Committee. Moreover, we’ll be hosting an SDG-focused session at the upcoming virtual WLIC 2021, so do not miss an opportunity to stay connected with the work of our region, past-present-future.”
What’s coming next
As a basis for effective library advocacy, the AO Section Standing Committee is currently working on the production of a high-quality, high-impact tool in the form of a case-studies booklet to demonstrate to external audiences the contribution of libraries to development in all its dimensions. The aim is to provide at least one case study for each of the 17 SDGs. Members of the Section Standing Committee will contribute case studies from their country, detailing the activity and its impact.
In line with the IFLA WLIC 2021 theme “Let’s work together for the future”, the IFLA AO Section invites speakers to share the initiatives undertaken by libraries in Asia and Oceania to support the SDGs. The speakers will bring forth projects and activities carried out by libraries or in partnership with libraries, addressing community needs and making a significant impact on the life of their community at local, national, and regional levels. This will provide an insight to others from beyond the region to explore the various SDG-related projects and activities that are in place within Asia and Oceania.
Follow the IFLA Asia and Oceania Section online
Read more about the IFLA Strategy 2019-2024
How is your library or library association engaging with the IFLA Strategy? Let us know! Post on your social media, using the hashtag #IFLAStrategy and #WeAreIFLA or send an email to Despina Gerasimidou, IFLA’s Strategic Development Officer at firstname.lastname@example.org.