14 August 2018

How can Russian libraries further development of society?

By Daria Belyakova

Moscow 20 April

The All-Russia State Library for Foreign Literature in Moscow (LFL) hosted a workshop on 19-20 April 2018 connected to Libraries and the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

The event was organised by the Russian Library Association’s International Cooperation Section and the LFL Rudomino Academy with the financial support of IFLA International Advocacy Program (IAP). Thanks to the IAP grant received in November 2017 the International Cooperation Section embarked on organizing two workshops to promote the important role libraries can play in development by contributing to the UN 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The second workshop was held at Tomsk State University Library on 19 – 20 June, 2018.

The objectives of these workshops are:

  • to launch a nationwide campaign to raise the level of awareness on the UN 2030 Agenda and the SDGs, as well as the necessity to secure public access to information in the achievement of the SDGs;
  • to highlight the key role of libraries in achieving the UN SDGs all over the world; to identify the key success factors which will enable effective implementation of advocacy initiatives by the Russian library community;
  • to give workshop participants the knowledge and skills to align libraries, especially public libraries, with development outcomes in their country or region;
  • to increase the capacity of library sector and library associations to leverage opportunities for advocacy activities, at community, national and regional levels.

The workshop in Moscow was led by Kaspars Ruklis, an international advocacy communication trainer and University of Latvia – Riga professor, who had worked with library projects in Latvia, Serbia, Macedonia, Albania, Croatia, Slovenia, Kenya, Ghana, Uganda and Ethiopia.

The workshop participants – library professionals from Moscow and the Russian regions – gained a clear understanding of the United Nations 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals as well as an insight into the five main SDGs aspects – five Ps:

  • People: the wellbeing of all people (Goals 1-5)
  • Planet:  protection of the Earth’s ecosystems (Goals 12-15)
  • Prosperity: continued economic & technological growth (Goals 1-4, 7-11)
  • Peace: securing peace (Goal 16)
  • Partnerships: improving international cooperation (Goal 17)

The discussion focused on various examples of how libraries can assist in turning these goals into reality and be recognized as key partners for their governments. During the brainstorming session participants drafted and presented their own advocacy plans of how libraries can contribute to progress towards the implementation of the UN 2030 Agenda.

The participants were awarded certificates of attendance upon completion of the two-day workshop. They were also encouraged to take an active part in sharing their libraries’ success stories via the IFLA Library Map of the World, which features success stories from all over the world to show how libraries are contributing to the UN SDGs.

A couple of comments from participants:

The workshop helped me obtain quite a few practical skills. I enjoyed its format. For two days we were immersed in a creative environment: we exchanged our views, played games and had fun. Of particular interest and challenge was a role play exercise to make one’s message heard in a mini-presentation (“Making an elevator pitch”). This presentation had to be very concise and compelling enough to be noticed by a person of influence or a decision-maker upon whom you supposedly happen in the lift for a mere three minutes.
Daria A. Belyakova, deputy director, LFL Rudomino Academy

The workshop proved a success – intensive, interesting and thought-provoking.
Yelena I. Zimina, chief librarian, International Contacts Department, Russian State Library

Other participants also gave positive feedback pointing to the workshop’s cheerful atmosphere and the trainer’s truly engaging manners. The workshop was praised for its interactivity and abundance of new and helpful information, as well as for its handouts that some participants thought might come in useful when they return home.

Advocacy, Development, Libraries for development, UN SDGs, UN 2030 Agenda, IAP

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