Tag Archives: USA

Australian Libraries and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals 2030

Australian Libraries are ready to talk about the next steps to be seen as an active force in the delivery of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) 2030 in Australia and the Asian-Pacific region.  Led by Vicki McDonald, Chair, ALIA International Relations Advisory Committee who is also who is also IFLA Professional Committee Chair and member of the IFLA Governing Board some 20 library leaders and other representatives from the Federal Government came together at Australian Library Information Association (ALIA) House in Canberra on 23rd September, 2019.  This roundtable came together to debate stretch targets for the library sector to define and measure our actions.

The draft targets fit with the 17 SDG goals and 169 SDG targets and are divided into three sections:

  1. Priorities for Australian library services
  2. Contribution to society
  3. Global citizenship

As with the global goals, the draft library targets that are currently out for consultation are ambitious, yet achievable. The targets developed are designed to be measurable, using qualitative and quantitative methods, and by assessing impact. Importantly they are not new and all build on the existing library agenda.

The draft library targets also define the library sector’s role for each of the SDG goals and targets identified for our sector’s action.  The roles are fourfold.

  1. Advocacy: Libraries of all types have a voice and this action plan defines how Australian Libraries, our Associations and industry partners can raise our voice and be heard. Key pieces of legislation, open access initiatives, and raising the profile of the debate in areas such as copyright and open access are key measures.
  2. Service Delivery: there are key aspects of the SDG targets where libraries can directly make a substantial impact with their actions, which can be amplified with further guaranteed funding. Areas such as digital inclusion, access to information, increased digital presence, and digital access to collections are just a few.  The measures identified for this type of role include case studies, existing quantitive measures and identifies where the sector needs to gather new data.
  3. Research and Advocacy: Our sector needs to make the case for the impact of libraries to deliver benefits in all aspects of society. A key area identified for this research is school libraries and teacher librarians.  Making a case for their important and essential inclusion in the educational experience of young Australians is a priority.
  4. Management: For those SDG targets and actions identified where libraries are in control and deliver, the core role is defined as management. Here libraries can lead the way.  Whether it be in environmental sustainable practices, green design for new library buildings, increased collaboration, or cultural diversity and gender equity these are areas where the sector can lead.  Measures include existing data, case studies and showcasing best practice.

Using the indicators and measures described within each target, the intent is to create a statement of the starting point in 2020-2021, an interim position in 2024-2025 and a final position in 2029-2030.

SDG 17 is ‘partnerships for the goals.’ Cross-sector collaboration and partnerships are threaded through this discussion paper and new alliances will be identified as part of the next steps. Our sector will want to work with all three levels of the Australian government, including Arts, Education, Health, Foreign Affairs and Trade; with LIS associations in the region and globally; with GLAM (gallery, library, archives and museum) colleagues; with library suppliers; with LIS researchers and with agencies such as the Australian Bureau of Statistics and the Australia Council for the Arts.

A discussion paper has been circulated to the library sector for comment until 3 January 2020.  All feedback will be analysed and an executive group of the ALIA International Relations Advisory Committee will produce confirmed stretch targets for the LIS sector with a report scheduled for publication by the end of March 2020.

Following this there will be an investigation into the current position in the LIS sector against the stretch targets, which is planned to be published in the third quarter of 2020 and will set the baseline for further measurement.   An action plan will also be developed and annual updates from 2021 onwards will be put in place.  It is expected that major reports will be published in 2025 and 2030 identifying where goals have been completed, where stretch targets are on track and where there is a need for increased focus. For more information and links to the reports and discussion paper see the ALIA website https://www.alia.org.au/advocacy-and-campaigns/think-global-act-local

So watch this space for more updates on how Australian Libraries are delivering on the SDGs.


Jane Cowell, Chief Executive Officer, Yarra Plenty Regional Library, Australia


Meet the candidates: Kent Oliver

Kent Oliver
Library Director
Nashville Public Library

I am thrilled to be to be nominated by the Public Library Association of the American Library Association (ALA) for IFLA’s Public Libraries Standing Committee.  It has been my privilege to participate as a member volunteer and leader with ALA at many levels.  Part of my ALA experience  includes serving as an ALA Executive Board Member, Chapter Councilor, Council Committee Chairs (most recently the Committee on Legislation) and as President of our associated organization, the Freedom to Read Foundation.  These and other roles provide me insight into the breadth and scope of issues impacting our profession and librarians.  Issues such as copyright, human rights, intellectual freedom, information access and public facilities development are certainly not United States centric and should never be considered as such.

My entire professional library career has been as a public librarian.  I am currently the Library Director of the Nashville (TN) Public Library, 2017 Library Journal Library of the Year.  Prior to joining Nashville I was the Director of the Stark County (OH) Library District (SCDL) in Canton Ohio. SCDL was a winner of the National Medal for Museum and Library Service during my tenure.

I believe the common threads for successful public library services worldwide are collaboration, innovation, advocacy and engaging community and national challenges.  Becoming part of a committee in an organization such as IFLA requires a set of association skills and values.  Those include civility, inclusiveness, respect for process and thoughtfulness. I would bring all of these to the table and embrace the opportunity to contribute to my profession at the global level.

For more information about voting for members of the Public Libraries Standing Committee take the time to read our post.

Net Neutrality No More

By Raymond Santiago

The United States Federal Communications Commission voted to repeal Internet regulations enacted during President Obama’s administration. These regulations assured a free and open playing field for everyone. Known as Net Neutrality, it prevented large telecommunication companies from treating data on the internet differently. Internet service providers (ISP) will no longer be prevented to discriminate or apply different charges based on user, content, application or websites on may wish to visit and use. The possible implications for libraries pose potential threats to the ways we access and provide information to our patrons.

Please see the news article below.

Meet Susan Considine


Continuing our profiles of those standing for election to the Public Libraries Standing Committee we meet Susan Considine. All those who have nominated have been invited to share their story.



Name:Sue Considine
Institution: Fayetteville Free Library.
Country: USA

What experience will you bring to the role of Standing Committee Member?
As an administrator of a busy, progressive public library, Sue has successfully recruited and developed a team of dynamic professionals, support staff and community members who offer cutting edge library services in a state of the art environment to an engaged community. During Sue’s administration the Fayetteville Free Library has received the Library Journal’s Five Star rating for nine years. Sue is a leader of innovation in the library field, pioneering new transformative methods of community engagement including integration of participatory STEAM learning into all library services and launching the first ever Fabrication lab, the FFL FabLab, in a public library. Sue is a passionate advocate for librarians and is committed to the development of the next generation of librarian leaders through the identification of and creation of leadership opportunities in the information field for new graduates and emerging library leaders. Sue is a seasoned national and international public speaker who has presented on contemporary library issues including, future libraries, innovation, leadership, organizational design, team development and more. Sue is a proud recipient of the 2012 NYLA Mary Bobinski Innovative Public Library Director award and both the 2013 Library Journal Mover & Shaker and the WCNY Women Who Make America awards. Sue received the White House “Champion of Change” award and had the honor to participate in a panel discussion, representing the FFL, CNY and Public Libraries, at the White House. In 2015 Sue received the Central NY Business Journal Not for Profit Excellence award and was invited to present on a panel at the first annual day of Making at the US Capitol in DC . Finally in 2016, Sue Considine received the PLA Charlie Robinson award for innovation and excellence in public library leadership.

Libraries at the Crossroads – New Research Released

A new survey from Pew Research Centre highlights the issues currently facing American public libraries and provides food for thought for public libraries globally.

The report show that while citizens believe that libraries are important community institutions and profess interest in libraries offering a range of new program possibilities there are signs that the share of Americans visiting libraries has edged downward over the past three years, although it is too soon to know whether or not this is a trend.

Many Americans say they want public libraries to:
◾support local education;
◾serve special constituents such as veterans, active-duty military personnel and immigrants;
◾help local businesses, job seekers and those upgrading their work skills;
◾embrace new technologies such as 3-D printers and provide services to help patrons learn about high-tech gadgetry.

Additionally, two-thirds of Americans (65%) ages 16 and older say that closing their local public library would have a major impact on their community. Low-income Americans, Hispanics and African Americans are more likely than others to say that a library closing would impact their lives and communities.

Worth a read!



2011 U.S. Public Libraries Survey Available

Virginia's Chesterfield County Public Library

Virginia’s Chesterfield County Public Library

The Institute of Museum and Library Services has made available a preview of the Fiscal Year 2011 Public Libraries in the United States Survey. Now in its twenty-fourth year, the Public Library Survey gathers data from more than 98 percent of public libraries across the country.
In FY 2011, there were 8,956 public libraries in the United States, which served 299.9 million people or 95.3 percent of the U.S. population. Additional highlights are:
Visits and Program Attendance
There were 1.53 billion in-person visits to public libraries, the equivalent to more than 4.2 million visits each day (not including virtual visits).
Attendance at public library programs increased for the eighth year with 89 million people attending 3.81 million programs.

Books and Collections
Public libraries circulated 2.44 billion materials, or 8.1 items circulated per person.
While books continue to comprise the majority of the nation’s public library collection holdings, collections are shifting from print books to non-print and digital materials.

Public Access Computers
There were 261,413 public access Internet computers available at U.S. public libraries
There were 341.5 million usage sessions on public access Internet computers at public libraries.

Financial Health
More than $11.4 billion was invested in public libraries.
Public libraries spent $10.7 billion in operating expenditures.

A high-level overview of the FY 2011 data, supplementary tables, and information by state are available on IMLS website.

Help required by MSc Student

Hartwig Pautz is studying for an MSc in Information and Library Studies at the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, Scotland.   Hartwig has asked for support from colleagues in the United Kingdom, the United States and Germany in writing his dissertation which addresses income generation methods used by public libraries and the potential impact of income generation methods on public library ethos.

Among the outcomes of  his research will be a typology of income generation methods used by public libraries and a critical analysis of the impact of these methods on public library ethos as seen by librarians.  Hartwig hopes that these outcomes will help librarians addressing financial difficulties and building stronger institutions while defending principles and ethos. All results of the study will be made public on Strathclyde University’s open access repository.

For the purpose of this dissertation Hartwig is seeking help. Below is a link to a short electronic questionnaire which seeks to gather information about what librarians think about a set of income generation methods and their impact on the principles of librarianship. The questionnaire consists of 10 questions and should not take more than 10 minutes to complete. The survey is anonymous.   https://strathsci.qualtrics.com/SE/?SID=SV_9BtLwndmU9nPQ6p

Hartwig would like to gather as much information from as many public library staff (library assistants, librarians, managers, public library fundraisers) in whatever function or position as possible working in the US, the UK or Germany.

Any questions should be directed to Hartwig at : prb12163@uni.strath.ac.uk