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Strategic directions

The Library has a history of engaging in periodic reviews. We initiated a comprehensive strategic library review in the fall of 2011. It has been an iterative process of building on our strengths, engaging with our users and each other, and being strategic and forward-looking.

The Library review runs in tandem with the University’s Mid-cycle Review and other strategic planning activities across campus. It informs an annual planning and priority-setting process that will enable the Library to ensure our staffing, budgets, resources and services are appropriate for the evolving university environment.

From the Library review, emerged four strategic directions:

The Library review campus consultation document (PDF) provides further detail.

Advancing research and scholarship

Advance research and scholarship by partnering with researchers and scholars in the production, dissemination, and preservation of knowledge.

The Library’s role in supporting research and scholarship throughout the research cycle is evolving around four emerging themes:

  • the stewardship of digital content
  • increased collaboration and engagement with the academic community
  • the integration of special collection resources within curriculum and scholarship
  • resultant new roles for library staff

Our goals:

  • play an integral role in managing research data
  • invest in institutional repository development and Open Access hosting
  • retain our liaison librarian model while evolving staff roles to match new directions
  • consider emerging specializations that are relevant to support research in the future
  • systematically assess collections and services in support of research in existing and emerging areas
  • build and share expertise on the continually-evolving research management tools that enable scholars to organize, share and collaborate
  • be a responsible steward of unique and local collections

Enabling student success

Enable student success by providing measurably effective education, outreach, and information services and resources.

The Library’s commitment to student success has been articulated in our long-standing mission to promote lifelong learning, heighten intellectual curiosity, and enhance creative and critical thinking skills. The Library aims to collaborate broadly with campus partners to build an integrated approach to enabling student success.

The Library’s role in enabling student success is evolving around five emerging themes:

  • supporting deep learning and academic success
  • assessing library services and resources
  • enhancing awareness of library resources, services and programs
  • collaborating with faculty, staff, services and departments on campus
  • offering seamless, convenient access to library resources and services

Our goals:

  • support deep learning and academic success by participating in the education of students and the development of information seeking skills that support scholarly research and lifelong learning
  • make assessment a normal part of library staff’s work practices, undertaken regularly in support of priority setting and yearly planning
  • make students, faculty and staff acutely aware of the library services and resources that are useful to them
  • regularly review and enhance the Library’s outreach and marketing strategy through engagement with our users
  • communicate more effectively how the Library enhances students’ academic success, especially to incoming students
  • collaborate regularly with faculty, staff and other groups on campus who interact with students and enable their success
  • enable intuitive, seamless and convenient access to the Library’s resources for users

New skills for new times

Foster creativity, collaboration and pro-active skills development, and expand the infrastructure for staff training and development.

The Library recognizes staff as its greatest resource, and maintains a long-standing commitment to staff training and development. To enable staff to respond effectively to emerging campus needs, the Library invests in skills development and expands its training infrastructure to positively impact staff at all levels. Library staff need to be able to incorporate new skills and knowledge through frequent re-evaluation of how they approach their work. Staff training and development is evolving around six themes:

  • priority-setting
  • fostering a culture of collaboration and sharing
  • managing change
  • enabling staff innovation
  • planning process for skills development
  • enhancing training processes

Our goals:

  • ensure that priority-setting skills are learned and practiced at every level
  • foster active collaboration and partnerships among management, supervisors and non-supervisory staff
  • facilitate knowledge sharing, skills sharing, and collaboration across departments, committees and peer-to-peer
  • ensure that change management skills are learned and practiced at every level
  • establish mechanisms and resources to allow staff to pursue new ideas and ways of thinking
  • maintain a formal, ongoing commitment to assessment, identification and development of knowledge and skills as part of an overall planning process
  • develop succession-planning guidelines
  • ensure that staff trainers have well-developed training skills
  • create a central repository of training materials and training opportunities to enable staff to access appropriate training at the time of need
  • develop a formalized follow-up process for all staff training that involves reflection, practice and assessment

New spaces for new times

Address critical space needs and establish a framework for agile space management that is responsive to ongoing campus needs.

The Library is rapidly reaching capacity, an unsustainable situation given the need to continue purchasing print books. Waterloo Library and campus study space placed below average in the Council of Ontario Universities Inventory of Physical Facilities, which compares available space to required space based on student populations.

The Library needs creative solutions to address space needs in the short term and a flexible framework for space management in the long term. We are committed to improving and optimizing library spaces with a focus on four areas:

  • collection space
  • user space
  • service points
  • staff space

Our goals:

  • secure new high-density storage for valued, but lesser-used, materials to allow for a decade of collection development
  • designate the open stacks for the most active items in the print collection
  • create a user-focused environment with high-quality research, study and learning spaces
  • establish targets and an action plan with campus partners for providing the appropriate amount of research, study and learning space across campus
  • design instructional spaces to optimize the teaching and learning experience
  • optimize service points to enhance user and staff experience
  • design staff work spaces to be flexible, pleasant, ergonomic and functional