Working alongside library leaders from around the world, I’ve realized there is an interesting paradox in terms of organizational goals. While libraries around the world serve unique and diverse communities, at the core of their work, they share very similar visions and principles. Libraries similarly, are also able to adjust strategy and tactics very specifically to their users’ needs while keeping an eye on global interests. Finding ways to link these two levels—global interests and local conditions—can be very rewarding—and sometimes complicated.
For the past year, I have worked with OCLC Global Council and OCLC Research to explore such a link. In the fall of 2019, we began focusing on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to determine how libraries can use the goals as a framework to partner, both with each other and outside organizations, to better address global sustainability efforts.
Then COVID-19 struck. And libraries worldwide had an entirely new set of shared challenges to address locally.