Australian university libraries and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

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Topics CAUL Business, Value and Impact

You will have been reading about the work national and international library organisations are undertaking to report against the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Several issues of the CAUL newsletter have featured updates on the work of the Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA) and the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) in this space.  So you may ask – what are the goals and why are they important?

Using the opening words of the SDG web site:

On 1 January 2016, the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development — adopted by world leaders in September 2015 at an historic UN Summit — officially came into force.  Over the next fifteen years, with these new Goals that universally apply to all, countries will mobilize efforts to end all forms of poverty, fight inequalities and tackle climate change, while ensuring that no one is left behind.

Libraries have taken an active role in relating the goals to their activities and developing new programs.

Importantly the activities relating to the goals are about work that is done for their local communities as well as work that is done to assist others nations, such as developing communities.

The broad agenda has many aspects where CAUL member libraries already deliver services, as well as areas where individual libraries have been developing innovative services.

The Australian government has recognised the work of ALIA,  particularly ALIA’s report Australian libraries support the Sustainable Development Goals which is referenced in a Report on the Implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals 2018 produced by DEFAT.

We (Harry and Roxanne) are collecting CAUL statistics and case studies that illustrate how members are delivering activities and programs that support the SDGs. Some statistics, such as how many information literacy programs have occurred in the last year, attendees, attendance in library spaces and use of resources, will be obtained from the CAUL Statistics.

We are very keen to obtain information that we can use for case studies from you on specific SDGs.

If you could provide around 100 words on activities that you consider to fall into any of the following areas we would be very grateful for your input:

Goal 4 Quality education

Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.
Some key areas for case studies could be:

  • Support for development of information and digital literacy
  • Delivery of framework course content (perhaps including VU)
  • Ensuring resource available to all students affordably (perhaps including WSU)
  • Life long learning – making resources available to alumni and open access resources (repositories, presses and perhaps resources for alumni)

Goal 5 Gender equality
Do you have an innovative program such as developing competencies of staff, recognising we are a female profession, or work value assessment?

Goal 9 Industry, innovation and infrastructure
Do you have an activities that foster innovation by contributing to the support of collaborative research, for example through research data training or resources such as advocacy or managing open access research data? Or in another area?

Goal 11 Sustainable cities and communities
Do you have any programs which support your region or city or community that you would like us to highlight?

Goal 17 Partnerships for the goals
Are you conducting outreach to developing countries resulting in capacity building through libraries?

It would be great if you could provide both any ideas on general issues that are sector wide and any case studies/detailed information by 20 August so we can prepare a paper for the CAUL meeting in September.

Don’t hesitate to contact us at to discuss anything.

This message was written by Roxanne Missingham, University Librarian at ANU with input from Harry Rolf, CAUL CPO. 

SDG Activity Feedback Form

Please select all that apply.
Please describe any activities that you consider are related to the goals selected above.
If you have a great case study to share or are interested in providing further information let us know here and we can follow up your response via email.
Author Harry Rolf
Last modified 8 August 2018