Libraries, sustainability and sustainable development: a review of the research literature

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskriftReviewForskningfagfællebedømt

The purpose of this literature review is to provide an overview of and insights into a selected bibliography of 102 research publications on libraries – of all types – sustainability and sustainable development, including the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

The review procedure is inspired by the hermeneutic literature review method, referring to a circular process of searching, sorting, selecting, acquiring, reading, identifying and refining. The publications are mapped to provide an overview of the research field. Following the research mapping, all publications are categorized as either environmental, economic, social, cultural or holistic according to their usage and understanding of the core concepts of sustainability and sustainable development. Finally, the main rationales behind the core concepts are identified, and their possible implications on the role of libraries and librarians are discussed.

Of the 102 research publications, 45 are categorized as environmental, 9 as economic, 9 as social, 3 as cultural and 36 as holistic. The main rationales identified across these categories are optimization, legitimation, demonstration and transformation. The possible implications behind these rationales are that libraries and librarians should be resourceful, explicit about their motivations, serve as good examples and act as change agents. Increasingly, libraries and librarians are expected to act proactively in relation to the global sustainability agenda.

This literature review provides a unique overview of and insights into an emerging research field, which are needed for future research and discussion about the potentiality of libraries and librarians in solving global sustainability challenges.
TidsskriftJournal of Documentation
Udgave nummer6
Sider (fra-til)1278-1304
StatusUdgivet - 2022


  • Det Humanistiske Fakultet - Libraries, Sustainability, Sustainable development, Sustainable development goals, Literature review

ID: 301451236