Aligning libraries’ performance with Sustainable Development Goals: a methodological proposal
In September 2015, the United Nations (UN) Member States adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development setting the global, national and local framework for putting that responsibility into action (United Nations, 2015). The new global Agenda is formed by 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SGDs) which must be implemented by all countries until 2030, so that "no one will stay behind". The 169 associated targets are monitored and reviewed using a set of global indicators (Sustainable Development Solutions Network, 2015).
Sectorial organizations worked on bringing their potential contributions to sustainable development to the attention of Member States and the UN. In the post-2015 process, the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) continued its active engagement towards promoting libraries within the UN 2030 Agenda and consolidated it in one of the Key Initiatives under the Strategic Directions set for 2016-2021 (IFLA, 2015). It should be stressed that access to information has been recognized as a target under SDG16 (target 16.10), culture and ICT have also been included in the SGDs (target 11.4 and targets 5b, 9c, 17.8, respectively) and universal literacy is recognized in the vision for the UN 2030 Agenda (IFLA, 2018a)
In Portugal, initiatives to promote library and information services within the 2030 Agenda are still modest, as research intersecting Information Science with Performance Evaluation and Sustainable Development is not yet sufficiently developed (Ochôa & Pinto, 2019). However, in November 2016, a team of researchers at the Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities of Universidade NOVA de Lisboa (NOVA FCSH, Portugal) started a research project entitled Public Libraries and Sustainability: Gathering Evidences of Contribution to SDGs (Project PLS) aimed at the development of a framework for evaluating libraries’ contribution to SDGs and tailor it to Portuguese public libraries (Pinto & Ochôa, 2018a).
Based on the methodology developed on this Project, this paper discusses the role of strategy alignment and impact evaluation practices in the processes of gathering evidence and advocacy towards libraries’ contribution to the UN 2030 Agenda.