The American Corner and the D.S. Senanayake Memorial Public Library, Kandy, in collaboration with the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA), hosted a comprehensive four-day workshop on “SDGs – Measurement, Evaluation, and Demonstrating Impact of Library Services” for public librarians in the Central Province. The workshop took place on March 4-5 and March 25-26, 2024, with funding provided by the American Corner and the Kandy Municipal Council.

A total of 29 librarians from public libraries across Sri Lanka’s Central Province, representing all three districts—Kandy, Matale, and Nuwara Eliya—participated in this workshop. Dr. Premila Gamage, a professional trainer and Information Coordinator from the IFLA Regional Division Committee for Asia-Oceania, facilitated the workshop.

The primary objective of the workshop was to educate librarians on identifying the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and aligning their projects and programmes with these goals. Most importantly, the workshop aimed to equip participants with the skills to measure, evaluate, and demonstrate the impact of their programmes on their respective communities.

The workshop curriculum was structured to cover various aspects. For the first two days, participants learned about selecting programmes based on SDGs, identifying target communities, and determining the necessary resources for implementation. The next two days focused on accurately assessing the impact of implemented services on the community through data collection and proper follow-up procedures.

Participants engaging in group activities

The resource person effectively explained each module using examples and group activities to ensure comprehensive understanding among participants. Throughout the sessions, participants actively engaged in discussions and group activities. 

Participants presenting on the group activities

At the end of the workshop, participants expressed their gratitude for the enriching experience and noted that they gained valuable insights into delivering services to their communities in a more structured manner. Certificates were also distributed to all participants.

Group photo of workshop participants with Commissioner of Kandy Municipal Council, Chief Librarian of D.S. Senanayake Memorial Library and the IFLA Trainer

The Municipal Commissioner, Deputy Municipal Commissioner, and Assistant Deputy Commissioner of the Kandy Municipal Council commended the organising committee for their efforts and encouraged librarians to utilize their newfound knowledge to enhance the quality of services provided to their communities. They underscored the importance of the topic discussed and urged librarians to continue their valuable work.

“Even though I have conducted outreach programs for the community via my library in the past, they lacked proper planning and execution. However, following this training, now I have a comprehensive understanding of each stage involved in program implementation, from selecting the appropriate community to careful planning and precise impact assessment. As a result, I am assured to deliver more effective services to my community in the future.” – K.G. Rupika Damayanthi- Librarian Handuranketha Public Library (Nuwaraeliya District)

“While we’ve conducted numerous training programs on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the past, we lacked guidance on how to effectively align these goals with the community service initiatives carried out through our libraries. Following this training, now I have a clear understanding of how to implement structured programs that align with the SDGs and how to accurately measure and evaluate their impact on the community.” – W.M.R.K. Weerasekara – Librarian, Hettipola Public Library (Matale District)

Contributed by Inoka Rathnayake, American Corner and the D.S. Senanayake Memorial Public Library, Kandy, Sri Lanka