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2 November, 2019 00:00 00 AM
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Role of LIS professionals in attaining SDGs

As a safe and welcoming space, libraries are promoting innovation, creativity to the world’s knowledge for the next generation
Shaharima Parvin
Role of LIS professionals in attaining SDGs

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 25 September 2015. The 2030 Agenda was formed 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) with a total of 169 targets and it is one of the most goal-oriented and significant global agreement to handle the world’s most squeezing difficulties including poverty alleviation, ensure quality education, economic and social development, environmental protection, peace, good governance, etc. to all around the world by 2030.

Education and research are obviously a paramount tool for attaining SDGs and libraries have a pivotal role in addressing this. Today’s libraries are implementing diversified services to meet the citizen’s needs. Libraries can support manifold actions including health, agriculture, civic engagement, education, information literacy and others which are indeed a powerful impact in the community. Public libraries in transition economy countries are practicing digital technology in innovative ways subsuming free access to information, access to ICT, internet connection, information literacy and so on. As a safe and welcoming space, libraries are promoting innovation, creativity to the world’s knowledge for the next generation.

If we explore the role of libraries to achieve SDGs around the world, many initiatives are being implemented by developed and developing countries. In Kenya, Nakuru Public Library’s e-learning programme has been assisting children to get over their fear of maths. This library launched a Math-Whizz programme to improve children’s abilities in mathematics. This initiative leads to ensure quality education which is pertinent to SDGs 4. The Erriadh Public Library in Tunisia assists primarily illiterate women to develop digital skills by launching a computer literacy club. The aim of this initiative is to give those who had left school without skills a second chance to build their ability to find work by giving them the knowledge and support to become computer literate. In addition, this public library focus on building partnerships with like-minded organizations who are offering training to unemployed women in different fields such as sewing, embroidery, etc. The e-Library Nenasala Programme in Sri Lanka is a government-run attempt to increase digital literacy and access to technology among the nation’s poorest residents living in remote rural areas. The National Library of Uganda has an ICT training programme especially designed for female farmers. With the help of this programme, the female farmers are able to access to weather forecasts, crop prices and get supports for setting up online markets in local language.  

There is another initiative which has taken by the Laterbiokorshie Library in Ghana. This library organized massive reproductive health education campaign among school children between the ages 10 and 16 to control teenage pregnancy which is helping to attain SDG Goal 3-Good Health and Well-Being. San Juan Planes Community Library plays a central role in bringing safe drinking water to the entire community via a water treatment project they established in the town’s central square.

We can clearly realize that Library and Information Science (LIS) professionals have been contributing to build the next generation leaders, innovators, critical thinkers, policy makers, etc. through their different activities to attain the SDGs. Besides this, LIS professionals are advocating the United Nations 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals. The International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) is the leading international non-profit institution for LIS professionals which mission is to empower and inspire society by driving access to information, knowledge and culture for all, to support development, learning, creativity and innovation. IFLA in partnership with the Technology and Social Change Group, University of Washington (TASCHA) is made development and access to information (DA2I); a series of reports that monitor the progress countries are making towards fulfilling their commitment to promote meaningful access to information (A2I) as part of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Now libraries are the motor for change so LIS professionals are acting as the gears for change.

According to the Sustainable Development Goals: Bangladesh Progress Report 2018 prepared by General Economics Division, Bangladesh Planning Commission, “Bangladesh has been widely acclaimed as one the forerunners of MDGs implementation” and it became an active participant of the global process underlying the preparation of post-MDG agenda by which has been leading to the adoption of the SDGs with much higher expectations of fulfillment”. Government of Bangladesh is concerned about inclusive and equitable education, quality of education at all level, adult literacy and lifelong learning.

LIS professionals with the government organization play a leading role to promote awareness about the role of SDGs as well as the implementation of the SDGs. It is worth mentioning that the Department of Information Studies and Library Management, East West University, Dhaka, Bangladesh and Bangladesh Public Administration Training Centre (BPATC) jointly organized the 1st International Conference on Information and Knowledge Management (i-IKM) on 25-27 April, 2019 at International Training Complex, Bangladesh Public Administration Training Centre, Dhaka, Bangladesh (http://iikm.ewubd.edu/). The theme of the conference was “Next Generation Information and Knowledge Dissemination to Realize the Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development”. The theme focused on the importance of information and knowledge dissemination to make everyone understand about the SDGs and also their respective roles in attaining those goals. The theme concentrated on the role of information institutions and government sectors in achieving the SDGs. This conference is just a commencement initiative by East West University to build partnership with the government for the achievement of SDGs. East West University has more future plans to explore innovative ideas for the potential benefits of establishing public private partnership in achieving SDGs.

The government of Bangladesh in collaboration with tertiary institutions, non-profit organizations and others has been taking diversified initiatives to make awareness about the value libraries and library and information science (LIS) professionals to SDGs. It should be mentioned here that the Libraries Unlimited (LU) programme which was developed in close partnership with the Government of Bangladesh to improve public access to information and knowledge. This programme aims to develop the public library network, to provide training to the LIS professionals and build public awareness of and access to library and information services for conquering SDGs. However, government along with LIS professionals in Bangladesh should make policies and programmes to sustain the existing issues and deal with the emerging issues of achieving SDGs in future.

The writer is a contributor to The Independent

 

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Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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