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In 2015, the UN General Assembly introduced the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In 2014, in anticipation of the SDGs, the International Federation of Library…
In 2015, the UN General Assembly introduced the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In 2014, in anticipation of the SDGs, the International Federation of Library Associations (IFLA) released the Lyon Declaration, asserting that the right to access information, and the skills to use it, is essential for development. Simply put, there can be no sustainable development without access to information. So, as the world looks toward sustainable development in the information age, what role should libraries play in meeting communities’ needs? Sustainable development, whether on a local or global scale, requires that people have access to information in order to improve their abilities to make informed choices about their lives, livelihoods, and communities. Sustainable development is important for all communities, everywhere, and access to information is just one way libraries can contribute to development initiatives. Libraries, especially public libraries, provide not only traditional access to information but also engaged services and programs that are community centered. This chapter will explore the ways in which the profession at large is plugging into the SDGs, with a particular focus on the work that IFLA is doing to connect libraries to development. It will highlight a specific form of community development – Asset-Based Community Development, which focuses on using the strengths and capacities that already exist in communities of all sizes and economic statuses – as a theoretical and practical model to help librarians understand and leverage their own assets as they collaborate with their communities on building individual and community capacity. It will argue that an asset-based approach to integrating our services into the larger trend of sustainable community development can provide us with both direction for day-to-day engagement with our communities and an important way to reimagine our value.
Librarians have been urged to emphasize social justice and human rights issues in their library mission, but they may find themselves challenged to provide additional…
Librarians have been urged to emphasize social justice and human rights issues in their library mission, but they may find themselves challenged to provide additional services, such as access to legal information for those who cannot afford an attorney. Social justice services in libraries are seldom adequately funded and providing services in this area is labor intensive. In addition, there is an emotional intensity in library services for social justice that is often not considered in the initial enthusiasm of providing services in this area. Yet there seems to be no limit to the need. An interesting and useful perspective on how a public agency such as a library responds in circumstances of limited resources and unlimited demand can be found in the book Street-Level Bureaucracy: Dilemmas of the Individual in Public Service, by Michael Lipsky. In this perspective, lower level civil servants who interact directly with members of the general public exercise a level of discretion in the amount of services provided and how those services are administered. This chapter explores how this can generate tensions between more traditional library bureaucracy and social justice services, such as providing public access to justice resources in law libraries. However, the “street-level” response is evolving into a sustainability perspective as librarians embrace a more social justice–oriented outlook in library service planning.
This paper aims to investigate how public libraries in Cameroon contribute to the achievement of goal 16 of the Sustainable Development Goals, which is “peace, justice and…
This paper aims to investigate how public libraries in Cameroon contribute to the achievement of goal 16 of the Sustainable Development Goals, which is “peace, justice and strong institutions”.
The methodology used is observation, talks with the librarians of public libraries from different regions of the country. Authorities in charge of this domain in Cameroon, that is the Ministry of Arts and Culture. Statistics from these different actors have been collected and used for the study, as well as those available through the National Institute of statistics.
The participation of public libraries in the implementation of goal 16 in Cameroon is remarkable, even if they lack substantial budgets for the achievement of their goals and rely partly on donations. The increasingly widespread use of information and communication technologies, as well as certain paying activities, partly compensates for this lack. Democracy, living together, access to employment and self-employment through the dissemination of information and animation are effective tools that public libraries implement. Users from different origins can gather and discuss freely on national issues. Public libraries are sometimes involved as mediators in the resolution of some social conflicts.
In a period were seeking peace, justice and strong institutions is one of the main national issues discussed in Cameroon, the study provides more visibility to both the authorities and the potential users on the important role played by public libraries in the resolution of national issues.
The study determines the different actors of a national policy in the framework of the creation, and the promotion of the public libraries and their respective roles for a more concerted and better-oriented action.