September 2019

Finalized 2019-2023 Strategic Plan

We now come to an important juncture in our 2019-2023 strategic planning process. Many of you will recall that we kicked off our effort last December: the campus plan was imminent, and we launched our process with a focus on contributions from our divisions. The first phase of our planning process was capably led by co-chairs Clara Chu and Merinda Hensley, with major contributions by Jen-Chien Yu, and I would like to thank them again for their outstanding work. Clara, Merinda and Jen, along with members of the Library Strategic Planning Team (LSPT), produced a strong document that shaped our spring retreat. The outcomes of the retreat helped members of the Library’s Executive Committee and the AULs to refine and complete the strategic planning document. I am pleased to share that final document with you today. We must use that document to shape our work and the ways that we communicate to our constituencies.

What happens now that we have a finalized strategic plan? Like many of you, I’m a strategic planning skeptic: I like to say that I prefer strategic acting to strategic planning. Through your collective work, we are well-prepared to act on this plan and to use it for meaningful guidance in our work. As you conduct your work, please try to situate it relative to the strategic plan. Specific ways or types of work should include the following:

  • In annual reports, both for your units and for you as individuals, please organize your reporting around the Library’s new strategic plan and consider ways that your work advances that plan.
  • Our investments should be driven by ways that they advance our strategic goals. Both the Executive Committee and the Budget Group will give attention to ways that requests for new positions relate to our strategic plan. Please address the relationship of your request to the strategic plan when requesting positions.
  • We will evaluate new requests for funding in the context of the strategic plan. Notable examples include Innovation Fund proposals and supplemental travel requests.
  • Our strategic plan should also factor significantly into other types of external funding. This will include priorities in Advancement and grant funding requests.

Needless to say, though the relevance of a request or initiative to the strategic plan will be an important criterion, it will not be the only one we use to evaluate its priority or importance.

Writing this also gives me the opportunity to note that, because of the improved budget situation in the state, we have additional budget flexibility. I do expect us to be filling new positions and funding new initiatives, and the relationship of those investments to the strategic plan will be particularly important.

There are several other important ways that we will use the strategic plan.

  • We will use the strategic plan to guide us in highlighting work for our constituencies, both internally and externally, including with vehicles such as Friendscript, LON and the State of the Library.
  • The strategic plan highlights the importance of the Library building project, but it is equally true that the priorities of the building project should take our strategic plan into account.
  • The Executive Committee will consider the plan as it determines funding priorities and may ask in-house funding initiatives to prioritize the themes of the strategic plan in calls for proposals.

Finally, as I noted last year, a key use of the strategic plan will be to shape our message in the annual report as part of our budget reporting process with the Provost. This is a critically important function for the strategic plan. While the format for the annual report and budget request changes from year to year, one constant has been the provost’s request that we communicate our work and priorities relative to our strategic plan. I hope you will contribute to that process by considering ways that your work advances our strategic interests, ways that we can measure our success in doing so, and efforts we must undertake to be successful relative to our strategic goals.

Thank you all for your work in shaping the strategic plan! As you can see, it will be a critically important tool in guiding and communicating our work in the coming years.

John Wilkin
The Juanita J. and Robert E. Simpson Dean of Libraries and University Librarian