Sustainability and sustainable development are high on the agenda at this year’s World Library and Information Congress. Across our programme, there are plenty of sessions which offer different perspectives on what this means for libraires, and how we can get involved.

This article offers a list of the sessions taking place relating to sustainability and a short summary of what you can expect to year. So mark your diaries!

Tuesday 22 August

08:00-08:30 – Ten ways to engage with the SDGs (link)

This session builds on the experience and inventiveness of colleagues around the world in working with the UN 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals. Looking beyond just applying the goals to pre-existing activities, it will follow the logic of the Agenda as a whole in looking to change how stakeholders operate – and that includes libraries!

11:00-11:30 – UN Update (link)

This interactive information session is designed to enable participants to catch up on the latest developments at the UN at the half-way point in the Sustainable Development Goals process, and with a look ahead to the SDG Summit in September and the Summit of the Future in 2024. It aims both to talk about high-level processes and issues, but in doing so, to give participants useful information when looking to work with local UN presences.

11:30-12:30 – Impact Assessment: A Slice of Current Practice (METLIBS, Statistics and Evaluation) (link)

This session focuses on how libraries are using impact assessment to show progress in addressing local goals and the SDGs. Based on expert inputs from different world regions, participants will hear about impact assessment, their methodologies, barriers, and successes, and share successful examples!

12:00-13:00 – SDG Bookclub (link)

Books are mirrors and windows for children to the world and the future. The SDG Bookclub wants to encourage children and their teachers and librarians to take in all the Sustainable Development Goals. Find out more about the original concept for the book club, and get a sneak preview of the latest chapter, the Dutch chapter, launching after the summer vacation, as well as thinking about how to create your own!

15:00-16:15 – LAC Libraries work on the SDGs: Building a Sustainable Future (LAC) (link)

This session focuses on the work of Caribbean librarians in particular in advancing the 2030 Agenda in their own context, with a view to looking for responses to regional trends. Examples come from Puerto Rico, Curacao and Chile.

15:00-16:00 – Sustainability in practice: library design matters (LBES, ENSULIB) (link)

This session aims at sharing knowledge about innovative practice around sustainability in library building projects. With 3-4 lighting talks and presented papers the audience will gain insight on what worked and what may need to be tweaked. Examples come from Shanghai, London and the Thabo Mbeki Presidential Library and Centre.

16:30-17:45 – IFLA Green Library Award Session (ENSULIB) (link)

The session introduces examples of green and sustainable libraries and projects with strong social commitment. It includes a presentation on an Eco Project in Seoul Metropolitan Library for the SDGs, as well as a Vietnamese-German project to promote sustainable development through libraries, in particular promoting new issues and idea. There’s also reference to supporting education for sustainable development.

Wednesday 23 August

 08:00-09:00 – Get into the Implementation of Voluntary National SDG reviews (link)

This Learning Zone session builds on experience of working on Voluntary National Reviews in order to get recognition of libraries as partners for development. What approaches have worked for colleagues and what benefits can engagement bring?

08:30-09:45 – Law Libraries Powering Sustainable Development Goals (Law Libraries) (link)

This programme looks at law libraries’ role helping to fulfil the SDGs, and in particular at making legal information more accessible for people and civil society at large. It will also make the link with existing work on access to government information, and look to provide practical examples and insights, in particular from Brazil, India, the Netherlands, and Korea.

10:00-11:00 – Demonstrating Sustainability in Health and Biosciences Libraries (HBS) (link)

The importance of ensuring the sustainability of our sector as a means of promoting sustainability in wider society is at the heart of this session, which looks at how libraries promote everything from better healthcare itself to social justice, effective use of technology and more.

Thursday 24 August

 10:00-11:15 – Artificial Reality/Virtual Reality, Meta-verse, Immersive technologies – New methods for Sustainable Communities in Libraries (IT, AVMS) (link)

Immersive technologies can also be powerful tools for advancing several Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly in the areas of education, economic growth, innovation, sustainable cities and communities, responsible consumption and production, climate action, and strong institutions. Find out more in this session!

11:30-12:30: Digital Technologies and Sustainability: Say Your Piece in 7+3 (IT) (link)

This session is directly focused on the contribution of IT and library technology to sustainability goals, for example by reducing their environmental impact, providing equitable access to information, and improving the efficiency of library operations to better serve their communities. The session will be made up of a series of lightning talks.

11:30-12:30 – Innovative ways of working with the SDGs (link)

Half-way through the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda, it is clear that the world needs to do things differently. Business as usual is not an option. Crucially, a lot of the work currently taking place at the United Nations is therefore focused on the key question of how we work with, and towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This session offers experience about new ways of working with the Goals to transform your practice.

11:45-13:15 – Asia-Oceania responses to environmental challenges to the sustainability of library services (AO, E4GDH, ENSULIB) (link)

This workshop session will examine the practices and case studies of how library services have responded to environmental challenges and improve resilience and sustainability in this region vulnerable to natural disasters. Speakers come from across the Asia-Oceania region.

13:15-14:30 – Strengthening library associations – the importance of advocacy impact evaluation and its relevance to SDGs advocacy (MLAS) (link)

The session will address library association roles in advocating for policy or societal change in line with the SDGs, present section work to strengthen commitment and capacity to evaluate advocacy activities; and finally combine the two, exploring how the impact of library advocacy on SDGs could be evaluated. Will include a summary of the MLAS webinars, and on the work of library associations with the SDGs in the MENA region.