December 2018

Strategic Planning

The Library’s strategic plans have been an effective vehicle for guiding and aligning our work with the University’s strategic agenda. In recent years we adopted a Framework for Strategic Action (2015) and prior to that we adopted a set of Strategic Initiatives (2011).

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is poised to release a strategic plan, with the intention of building on the last University strategic plan and carrying us through 2023. On the website for that University-wide planning process are a number of significant background reports and recommendations prepared by groups of faculty and staff over 2017 and 2018. While a final report will not be available for several weeks, we have a fairly clear sense of the direction the new plan will take. Moreover, based on discussions in the Council of Deans, we can expect to see goals that echo those of the last strategic plan:

  • Foster scholarship, discovery and innovation
  • Provide transformative learning experiences
  • Make a significant and visible societal impact
  • Steward current and generate additional resources for strategic investment

As in the last strategic plan, with these goals there are many areas where we can propose University Library work; in addition, we are likely to see Library-led initiatives (e.g., Illinois Experts) and work associated with the Library (e.g., data support and Open Access) called out specifically.

With the new plan coming soon, it is time for us to begin preparing our next Library strategic plan. After conversations in the Executive Committee and with the Cabinet, I am announcing a process to create a 5-year plan spanning 2018-2023. That new plan should reflect priorities found in the campus plan (available soon), directions or priorities we established in the Framework for Strategic Action, and any new Library priorities that we identify through our planning process.

We will begin our planning work in early 2019, and I am asking our administrative Divisions to play a key role in the process. Each Division should define and discuss priorities consistent with the University’s strategic plan, as well as specific Library priorities. To facilitate the Library’s planning, I am asking each Division to identify a representative who will serve on a Library Strategic Planning Team, and be able to bring forward to that group feedback from divisional conversations. That person may be the Division’s coordinator, but need not be. Each Divisional representative will work with her or his Division to identify priorities, and I am encouraging cross-divisional conversations, as well. Once Divisional representatives have been appointed, the Library’s Executive Committee will appoint a chair, who will convene these Divisional representatives as the Library Strategic Planning Team for the first phase of work. This Team will be responsible for producing a document to help facilitate broader Library discussions.

In the Spring semester, we will organize a strategic planning retreat. At the retreat we will use the document prepared by the Library Strategic Planning Team to help shape our discussion. While we do not yet have a planned format for the retreat, I expect that the retreat will center around discussion and prioritization of Library goals. In the work that is put forward, we will see significant areas of activity that align with two related themes: those that support the University’s strategic plan and those that that help us advance specific Library work such as the Library Building Project.

After the retreat and with a report made to EC and Cabinet, we will work on a draft strategic plan, to be finalized in the Fall. In addition to using this document to guide our work through 2023, we will use the document as part of our budget reporting process with the Provost.

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