National Libraries Support Efforts to Adopt the UN 2030 Goals

(3BL Media/Justmeans) – Library and information services contribute to sustainable development by helping to ensure free access to information. Library services bridge the digital divide by helping people improve educational and social skills, which are critical for active participation in a democratic society and the preservation of universal civil rights.

Now national libraries are taking up the role of a catalyst to promote the adoption of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for 2030. Some of the libraries highlighted their efforts during a recent presentation at the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) World Library and Information Congress in Columbus, Ohio.

The National Library of South Africa in Pretoria is aligning its efforts with the UN SDGs. Looking at the nearly 27 percent unemployment rate in the economy, the national library is encouraging young entrepreneurs to establish new businesses instead of looking for jobs in a shrinking market. Many of the small entrepreneurs use the library’s Internet facilities, and even conduct their online businesses using the library’s infrastructure.

The University St. Kliment Ohridski Library, one of five national libraries in Macedonia, has launched initiatives to combat poverty by eradicating illiteracy. The library holds public events such as the “living library,” where users can interact with individuals who are marginalized because of their social or economic status, cultural origin, gender, age, beliefs, appearance, or lifestyle.

Some of the important library initiatives for disenfranchised groups include increasing the social and cultural inclusion of the Roma community, offering free library services to members of vulnerable groups, coopering with medical schools and experts to provide health information, combating violence and abuse against women and children, providing nutrition information to school children, and offering information on sexual health, reproduction, and family planning.

Sook Won Shin, chair of the Presidential Committee on Library and Information Policy of the Republic of Korea, said that libraries in the country are trying to bring about a change in people’s perception and establishing that libraries are essential to happiness in life, as well as serve as spaces for learning, creating, and sharing as a community center.

The Committee’s current five-year plan, launched in 2014, is to fulfill public happiness through knowledge and information services, strengthen creative competencies through learning and research, and realize the cultural power of Korea. As of June 2016, more than 13,000 South Korean libraries, including five national libraries, are providing these services.

Source and Image: American Libraries Magazine