A new IFLA report highlights greater understanding of the contribution of libraries to delivering the UN 2030 Agenda among local governments, in a wider range of areas, than in national reviews of SDG implementation.

Front cover of Helsinki's Voluntary Local Review, showing the Oodi Public Library

Voluntary Local Reviews represent an increasingly important part of overall efforts to monitor the implementation of the UN’s 2030 Agenda and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Responding to the call in the 2030 Agenda for all stakeholders to play their part, local and regional governments have been ready to step up and show what they are doing. In this, they have drawn on the fact that, often more so than national governments, they are able to bring together actions in different policy areas.

70 such Reviews have now been published, with the encouragement of organisations such as United Cities and Local Governments. Key findings have regularly been promoted during sessions of the High Level Political Forum.

With many public libraries in particular directly forming part of local government, local decision-makers are often well placed to see the strength and diversity of ways in which libraries contribute to local development.

This is reflected in the report, with over half of Reviews referring to libraries (compared to around a quarter of Voluntary National Reviews). There are cities and regions referring to libraries on each continent where reviews have taken place.

Moreover, Voluntary Local Reviews refer to a wider range of SDGs in talking about libraries than national equivalents. As such, it is not only the work of libraries in supporting education and culture that is recognised, but also our institutions’ efforts to promote inclusion, sustainable behaviours, social cohesion and health.  

IFLA hopes that this report can provide support for libraries and library associations around the world in their own work to reach out to decision-makers and ensure that they are giving our institutions the recognition and support they need to deliver on their potential.

Read the report on our publications page.