Executive Summary – Brookens Library
The development of this strategic plan for Brookens Library coincides with the 30th anniversary of the Brookens Library building—the building was dedicated on May 19, 1976. The last quarter of the 20th century brought an unprecedented amount of change in libraries as we saw card catalogs first “freeze” and then disappear, computers become ubiquitous, and the internet become the gateway to information. During the same period of time, state funding for higher education began to erode even as inflation in the prices of library resources (many of them now in digital format) continued unabated.
Library policies and practices have not kept up with the rapid technological change or with the change in budgetary realities. In addition, librarians have generally been unprepared for changes in user behavior, in particular the degree to which college students have embraced the web and the various digital tools that are now available to them.
The timing of this strategic planning process, then, could not have been better. It provided an opportunity for the library to re-imagine its future as it enters its next thirty years. The central themes of this plan are people working together creatively and using technology ingeniously to provide excellent library resources and services to the UIS community. A question hangs in the air—does the building still matter? The answer is an emphatic “yes.” The library is the campus building that best embodies the spirit of learning, discovery and reflection that define a liberal arts education.
As the UIS strategic plan was bold to state as its strategic intent that it would be one of the best small public liberal arts universities in the nation, so we in the Brookens Library say that we intend to be the exceptional library that defines a great public liberal arts university—an environment that inspires learning and serves as the heart of the campus intellectual community.
University Librarian and Dean of Library Instructional Services
April 28, 2006
Brookens Library Strategic Plan: Executive Summary
- Mission StatementAt the heart of the intellectually rich, collaborative, and intimate learning environment of UIS, Brookens Library selects, organizes, preserves, and provides access to and instruction in the use of information resources for research, discovery, and lifelong learning.
- Vision StatementWorking together creatively and using technology ingeniously, we provide excellent information resources and services to the UIS community.
- Guiding ValuesBrookens Library strives for excellence in all of our endeavors. We value:
- Communication that is open, creative, consultative, and responsive to individual differences and to user and organizational needs;
- Flexibility in our services and in the use of our resources to provide for functionality and innovation;
- Creating an environment of discovery that facilitates learning and that meets
the patrons where they are;
- Patron-centered service that assures a positive and unified atmosphere; and
- Accessibility by making our diverse services user-friendly.
2) Strategy for the Future
- Statement of Strategic IntentBrookens Library will be the exceptional library that defines a great public liberal arts university—an environment that inspires learning and serves as the heart of the campus intellectual community.
- Environmental AssessmentThese environmental factors present challenges and opportunities for Brookens Library:1. Enrollment growth and new general education curriculum will create increased demand for library materials and services as demand from existing customer groups continues unabated.2. Online learning—the growing number of students enrolled in online programs and courses places unique demands on the library.3. Information technology—the library must adapt its services to patrons for whom the internet is the first stop in seeking information.4. Physical space—the current library space does not meet the expectations of users and does not provide adequate space for collections.5. Budget—Pressures of inflation in the cost of library materials, salaries for skilled knowledge workers, and renovations to the physical space require additional funding at a time when state funding for higher education is static or declining.
- Competitive/Benchmark AnalysisThe Brookens Library exceeds the libraries of IBHE and COPLAC peers on most measures captured by the ACRL (Association of College and Research Libraries) statistics. Only two out of eight peer libraries had greater volume counts, and only three had greater total library expenditures. Significantly, the peers that exceeded UIS on these measures also reported library renovations and/or expansions in the past ten-fifteen years.Compared to the libraries of the private liberal arts colleges selected for benchmarking in the UIS strategic plan, the UIS library held over 100,000 more volumes than the nearest competitor and also had a larger total budget than the other libraries. Again, the libraries closest to UIS in total volumes and library expenditures had undergone renovation and expansion in the past five-fifteen years.
- Key Strategic IssueThe overriding strategic issue facing the Brookens Library is how, with limited financial resources, to provide excellent library resources and services to the growing student population that includes undergraduate and graduate students who may live on campus, commute, or receive their UIS education online.
- Strategic Goals1. Excellence in Information Resources through Superior Access
- Brookens Library will adjust, adapt, and expand its collection in alignment with the priorities of UIS.
- The Library will put into place technological solutions to help our users locate and retrieve information quickly and efficiently.
- The Library will demonstrate its commitment to partnerships that enhance the services it can provide.
- The library will pursue alternative funding sources for critical initiatives and maximize the impact of its spending through cooperative purchases that lower costs.2. Services that Anticipate and Respond to User Needs, Preferences, and Trends in Higher Education
- Discern real user needs and respond to them in a timely and efficient manner.
- Design services that anticipate user needs and preferences.
- Monitor trends in higher education and scholarly publishing for innovative practices the Library should adopt.
- Promote Library services through a vigorous, active, and ongoing marketing campaign.
- Enhance outreach to the local and regional community.3. Active Participation in Curriculum Development and Instruction
- Create an academically successful and information-literate student body.
- Expand reference/point-of-need services.4. Physical and Virtual Spaces That Are Open, Inviting and Inspiring
- Improve physical spaces.
- Improve virtual spaces.5. Faculty and Staff Members Who Are Innovative, Collaborative, and Exceptionally Customer Service Oriented
- Develop a program of customer-service training for new and current library employees.
- Continually review library policies and processes to test for alignment with mission and strategic intent.
- Increase support for faculty and staff professional development.
- Encourage staff to develop innovative and cost-effective solutions.
- Continue to actively pursue collaborative relationships.6. Communication that Facilitates Service, Access, Learning, and Assessment
- Develop and support an effective internal communication system.
- Promote the centrality of the library to the mission of the campus
- Stretch Ideas1. Integrate access tools to support patron research with goal of one search box access to resources.
2. Find ways to fulfill all resource needs for our distance learners.
3. Assign a personal library advisor to each UIS student.
4. Offer librarian office hours in academic departments, student commons areas, and other areas outside of the library building.
5. Merge Access Services and Reference service points.
6. Investigate the possibility of a minor in Information Studies.
7. Create an internet café on Level One of the building.
8. Seek funding for the renovation of Brookens Library.
3) Resources Plan for Achieving Strategic Goals
- Resources NeededWe estimate that $14,682,000 will be required in one-time costs, of which $14,000,000 is the current estimate for a total renovation of Brookens Library. Recurring costs associated with this plan total $392,967 representing costs for new staff, inflation in the prices of library resources, equipment replacement, and software licenses.
- Resource Procurement StrategyThe Library plans to seek grants and other private funding for many of the start-up and other one-time costs associated with this plan; however, recurring funding will be required to insure the long-term viability of new library services. In general, UIS needs to protect the investment that it has already made in building an exceptional library and extend that commitment into the future. Partnerships with the other two University of Illinois libraries allow the Brookens Library to enhance the number and quality of electronic resources that we provide to the UIS community. These partnerships and other consortial relationships must be sustained.
4) Monitoring and Evaluation
Performance results are included under each thrust as part of the Strategic Goals statements in Section 2.