“#Libraries4Future”: NSK joins international initiative calling upon libraries to actively participate in tackling global climate crisis
On 19 September 2019, the National and University Library in Zagreb joined Libraries4Future, an international initiative calling upon libraries to take active part in tackling the global climate crisis. In this way, the Library acted upon the recommendation of the Environment, Sustainability and Libraries Special Interest Group of the International Federation of Library Associations and Organisations (IFLA ENSULIB), and as the central library in Croatia, it invites all other Croatian libraries to sign the Libraries4Future declaration and participate in its implementation.
According to the Federation’s statistics, there are currently more than 320,000 public libraries and over a million parliamentary, national, university, research, school, and special libraries in the world. The recently adopted IFLA Strategy 2019-2024, as well as previously issued guidelines for the global library community, urges libraries to take one step further in fulfilling their traditional role as the guardians and promoters of cultural and scientific heritage, advocates of literacy and providers of free access to information, by organising programmes and activities that will contribute to as successful as possible implementation of the UN 2030 Agenda and its sustainable development goals.
In their efforts to raise public awareness of the important social role of libraries in today’s society as the centres of local communities, libraries are trying to become better recognised as indispensable partners of governments and other public administration bodies in the Agenda’s implementation. Although all of its 17 goals are closely interrelated and it is difficult to single out any one of them as the most important, Goal 13, Climate Action, easily emerges as the most fundamental, and an essential precondition for the attainment of all the other goals.
The Libraries4Future initiative, which was prompted precisely by the need for urgency in responding to the global climate crisis, calls upon libraries around the world to take active part in the ongoing public debate on climate crisis and the related public developments and events. Apart from emphasising the significance of bringing library spaces, equipment, activities and programmes in line with the standards of sustainable development, the initiative highlights that libraries, as public spaces providing educational opportunities and free access to information, also have the task of countering attempts at climate change denial by serving as platforms enabling informed public debate, and providing access to reliable data and well-established facts specifically in relation to this issue. Furthermore, also in compliance with the current UN development strategy, which insists on social inclusion as a vital prerequisite for its successful implementation, the initiative urges libraries to organise programmes and activities that promote social interaction based on equality and non-discrimination and thus contribute to the strengthening of social cohesion, which in turn constitutes the basis for the united actions of all members of local communities regarding the global climate crisis.
Apart from acting as partners of governments and other bodies of public administration, libraries are also called upon to act as partners of civil society associations and organisations, whose activities are in line with the implementation of the 2030 Agenda. The Libraries4Future initiative thus openly supports the Fridays for Future global movement, which demands from all holders of political power to commit themselves to taking urgent and efficient action in resolving the present climate crisis.
By joining the Libraries4Future initiative, the National and University Library in Zagreb shows its support for the Global Climate Strike, which will be taking place all around the globe from 20 to 27 September 2019, and also wishes to bring attention to many successful activities and programmes through which it has so far promoted the significance of the preservation of both Croatian and global natural heritage, as part of its Green Library for Green Croatia project – exhibitions Burnum – The Archaeological Treasures of Krka, River Krka: Secrets of the Underground, The World’s Best Green Libraries, online exhibition Krka Then and Now, workshop The role of libraries in achieving the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, programme NSK Green Festival, the marking of Earth Day 2018, the world’s first international conference on green libraries Let’s Go Green!, and many others. Also, for its many efforts in organising special programmes and activities promoting the preservation of the natural environment and the standards and principles of sustainable development, the Library received the 2018 IFLA Green Library Award.