By Joe Lucia, University Librarian & Director of Falvey Memorial Library
Over the last decades, strategic planning has become one of the central rituals of higher education. Many academics view the planning enterprise with a touch of skepticism because it is often associated with business-oriented values focusing on such dimensions as market share, opportunities for growth and “branding.”
But even the most ardent skeptics of university strategic planning will admit, when pressed, that it is important for any successful enterprise – be it a university or a for-profit business – to have a clear and distinctive mission, carefully articulated and measurable goals, and a detailed awareness of the environment within which the enterprise carries out its functions.
Academic libraries have embraced the planning ethos because it provides at least an illusion of control in an information and publishing universe undergoing continuous transformation as a result of the digital revolution. During my tenure at Villanova, I have produced a number of formal planning documents and I have attempted to make planning part of the ongoing work of this Library. The University will soon begin a round of institutional strategic planning. In anticipation of that, Falvey Memorial Library has recently refined its key top-level goals so that we can join the broader University conversation with a clear picture of where and how we fit into the whole.
Below, you will find the eight goals for the Library recently affirmed by the library management team. I share these here for your review and reaction. Please feel free to e-mail me your suggestions or comments about the goals we have identified. I plan to establish an online forum around these goals to garner additional comments over the coming months. I look forward to hearing from anyone with ideas to share about the library’s agenda for the next several years.
Eight Goals for the Academic Library @ Villanova,
Create Inviting Library Spaces
Create inviting library environments that support a mix of social and academic activities, including information seeking, collaborative learning, conversation and discussion, sustained inquiry, quiet study, writing, digital content creation, group work and project preparation and presentation.
Provide Accessible, Flexible and Authoritative Library Services
Provide authoritative information resources and services to satisfy the intellectual, cultural and scholarly appetites of Villanova students and faculty, with an emphasis upon increasing the visibility, usability and personal fit of the library for our community.
Build a Strong, Academically-Appropriate Collection
Ensure that the library collection in all formats is keyed to recognized academic needs and provides a rich array of resources in support of student learning and faculty research.
Expand Instructional Outreach
Collaborate with deans, department heads and individual faculty members to integrate discipline-oriented information-seeking research skills at key points in the curricula of all colleges.
Establish the Library as a Nexus of Villanova’s Intellectual Life
Refine and enhance the library’s role in supporting a culture of conversation, a perpetual agenda of events, access to the intellectual commons and promotion of the University’s Augustinian heritage.
Engage in Continuous Assessment of Library Services
Evaluate library services systematically and consistently to understand our users, understand our successes, address shortcomings and connect library activities to the evolving needs and priorities of Villanova students and faculty.
Increase the Library’s Value and Impact
Make the library a “learning organization” and a national model for strategic management, efficient and effective work processes, and continuous staff development to maximize the library’s contribution to the overall success of the University.
Cultivate New Sources of Support for the Library
Partner with University Advancement, University Communication, the Alumni Association, Student Government, and external organizations and foundations to develop new sources of support for library services and facilities at Villanova.
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