I was deeply involved in writing a strategic plan this summer. Actually—technically—it was a response to Virginia Tech’s long-range plan, but still– it is a vision for the future of our library. Many people contributed to this effort and we knocked it out in 90 days.
We spent time envisioning higher education in the near future and then imagining roles that libraries would need to fulfill. I prefer this to the more traditional (continuous) department-centered approach based on “making what we currently do a little better”— our effort was an attempt to design an aspirational vision.
We thought of future libraries abstractly as…
- a platform for student success and faculty innovation in a global context.
- a hub for strategic partnerships.
- a regenerating entity that adapts to changing user needs and expectations.
More on those ideas:
The library of the future is designed as a conduit for innovation, creativity, productivity, collaboration, and knowledge in a global context. We imagine the Virginia Tech Libraries as a connection to limitless pedagogy, research, and learning possibilities for students and faculty.
The library of the future is engagement-centered and reinforced by joint ventures and programmatic partnerships. We imagine the Libraries as an outwardly engaged organization that creates partnerships and provides leadership in the pursuit of excellence in research and learning.
The library of the future is constantly changing both physically and virtually. We imagine the Libraries’ core functions evolving through emerging expertise in curation, community development, and knowledge production. We curate digital research data and scholarship; we develop and optimize communities for collaboration and the exchange of ideas and discoveries; and we help our users create new knowledge and provide access to the world’s digital scholarship.
Other pieces of the plan that I think are a bit different:
- Adopt a discovery-oriented outlook toward spaces, services, and programming.
- Build a network of services to advance scientific discovery and progress. Virtually and physically align our e-research services to more easily create new knowledge and share it with others.
- Develop the Libraries into an incubator for faculty and student research.
- Support and cultivate experimental pedagogies, innovative curricula and creative outputs of student scholarship.
- Map the learning landscape to develop a comprehensive perspective on the lifecycle of assignments, the development of critical skills, the exposure to challenging content, and the critical growth points within the curriculum.
- Extend the Libraries’ learning focus beyond assignments and classroom-centered support to augment a broader personal and social development enabling students to become knowledgeable and effective global citizens, and encouraging participation in civic and community activities.
- Lead and partner in initiatives that constitute growth of intellectual, entrepreneurial, innovative, creative, and leadership qualities.
- Design and optimize virtual and physical research environments that cross geographic boundaries, support diverse and interdisciplinary research needs, spur innovation and inspire creativity.
That’s a taste of what we’re thinking about here and the direction we’re heading. It’s going to be an interesting next few years.
More to come as we shift into (lean) implementation mode.