Libraries and the UN Sustainable Development Goals: The Past, Present, and Future

By Chris Cyr and Lynn Silipigni Connaway

This paper presents initial research from a broader project about the impact of libraries on the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In 2015, the UN launched the SDGs, a set of 17 goals for global development by the year 2030. Libraries helped shape the inclusion of access to information in these goals and are involved in furthering them through providing access to information. The OCLC Global Council has selected the SDGs as its area of focus for 2020, and is formulating a research program that will identify and advocate for the ways that libraries can help further the SDGs. This paper details the history of the SDGs and the role that libraries played in shaping them. It shows examples of ways that libraries have helped further them through providing access to information and information literacy skills. Finally, it offers suggestions for ways that libraries could structure their information activates around the SDGs, based on data from a survey of OCLC Global Council delegates. 

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