On 23 September, 2019, some 20 library leaders, with other guests, gathered at ALIA House in Canberra to debate stretch targets for the sector as part of the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. This roundtable was the next step in libraries’ commitment to being an active force in the delivery of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) in Australia and the Asia-Pacific region.
Following the meeting, we have produced this draft set of stretch targets as the foundation for discussion across the LIS sector in Australia. The targets have been developed through the lens of the people who attended the roundtable, but we want to make sure they encompass other sector perspectives.
The draft targets fit with the 17 SDG goals and 169 SDG targets and are divided into three sections:
- Priorities for Australian library services
- Contribution to society
- Global citizenship
As with the global goals, the library targets are ambitious, yet achievable. They overlap and interlink, for example it is impossible to separate equitable access from open access or digital inclusion, and open access will support our neighbours in the region, as evidence of our global citizenship. These targets are designed to be measurable, using qualitative and quantitative methods, and by assessing impact. They are not new; they all build on the existing library agenda.
Using the indicators and measures described within each target, our intent is to create a statement of our starting point in 2020-2021, an interim position in 2024-2025 and a final position in 2029-2030. We have identified the role of libraries in each section – where libraries have full control over the target; where we can make an important contribution, and where we can provide a strong supporting voice through advocacy.
It is acknowledged for each goal multiple sectors may contribute to its achievement. To facilitate reporting, however, a lead has been identified. The lead is responsible for coordinating the reporting of the target and monitoring progress.
SDG 17 is ‘partnerships for the goals.’ Cross-sector collaboration and partnerships are threaded through this discussion paper and new alliances will be identified as part of the next steps. We will want to work with all three levels of government, including Arts, Education, Health, Foreign Affairs and Trade; with LIS associations in the region and globally; with GLAM (gallery, library, archives and museum) colleagues; with library suppliers; with LIS researchers and with agencies such as the Australian Bureau of Statistics and the Australia Council for the Arts.