Pacific Libraries consider UN Sustainable Development Goals at Fiji Summit

by Kirsten Thorpe

I recently attended the Pacific Libraries Summit in Fiji which was organised to bring together key regional stakeholders, library practitioners and INELI-Oceania innovators to advocate for the role of public libraries in the region. One of they key questions at the forum was How do libraries connect to the United Nations 2030 Agenda and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)?

INELI Oceania – a network of innovators across Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific

I had participated in INELI (International Network of Library Innovators) Oceania in Cohort 1 over 2014 to 2016. The Pacific Libraries Summit brought together members of Cohort 1 and Cohort 2, who were just completing their program. INELI Oceaniais a leadership program which aimed at developing innovative emerging leaders in public libraries throughout Australia, New Zealand, and the South Pacific. INELI Oceania was based on the highly successful International Network of Library Innovators (INELI), a project of the Global Libraries initiative of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Indigenous priorities with Libraries  and the UN Sustainable Development Goals

I was most interested in questions of how the UN SDGs relate to Indigenous priorities with libraries both here in Australia and in the Pacific. Many questions were raised around key issues such as the preservation of Elders stories, and the preservation of Indigenous languages at the forum. The Pacific Regional Branch of the International Council of Archives(PARBICA) has provided much support in the area specifically for the management and preservation of Pacific archive collections.

Visit to the National Archives of Fiji as part of a day tour of libraries and archives in Fiji

I am looking forward to seeing how IFLA – the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions– pursues the SDGs as priority areas whilst at the same time acknowledging priority areas that need to be developed specifically for Indigenous peoples and libraries. One of the key factors here will be managing the nuances around libraries and Indigenous worldviews and ways of knowing, which are often distinct from mainstream library practice.


Statement of Intent produced from Summit


The Summit produced a Statement of Intentas a result of the summit which looks at strengthening the impact of Pacific libraries as well as supporting Pacific libraries through collaborative networking and advocacy.