22 February 2017
Libraries included in the recently published Finnish National Development Plan
On 2 February 2017, Finland published its National Development Plan for the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals to achieve the UN Agenda 2030. The implementation of Agenda 2030 in Finland builds on two themes: to achieve a carbon-neutral and resource-wise economy and to ensure non-discrimination, equality and a high level of skills in society.
The plan includes libraries. Libraries are acknowledged in the context of the action plan to prevent hate speech and racism and to promote social inclusion (under focus area 2.5): “The role of public libraries as promoters of active citizenship, cultural diversity and democracy shall be strengthened”.
In the Finnish Library Association, we wanted to be active in sharing information about libraries and UN 2030 Agenda. We made contact with the National Commission on Sustainable Development and arranged a meeting. We were also actively involved in joint operations by Finnish NGO's. Together with other associations we made a statement about the UN 2030 Agenda and how it could be implemented in Finland.
An important element in the background is the new Finnish Library Act which came into effect in January 2017, and which underlined the role of libraries in creating a democratic society. It states clearly that a core task of libraries is to advance dialogue and connections in society.
Library associations play a key role in making libraries visible in national plans and government papers. One way to approach this is to use many different channels to push the message forward. Sometimes only a meeting with the right person is enough. We are glad that Finland is a land of libraries and in general politicians and government officials are very supportive of libraries. Let's keep it that way.