2020-2025

Penn Libraries Strategic Plan

Download the Strategic Plan
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Message from the Vice Provost

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In this epoch shaped by environmental uncertainty, a global pandemic and a national focus on racial justice, change is the only constant. During these unprecedented times, the Penn Libraries remains agile and responsive, bolstering the University’s mission of teaching, research and learning, with the evolving needs of our communities at the forefront of our priorities.

The world has changed dramatically since we began writing our strategic plan in Fall 2019, but we are unwavering in our commitment to deliver collections and services at point of need, anytime, anywhere.

Looking ahead, we must continue building our capacity to address the essential information challenges and opportunities in an ever-changing world. We must sharply increase our efforts to acquire and provide digital content, to digitize pre-existing Penn-owned collections, and to make strategic investments in technology. It is critical that we continue to reimagine our physical spaces and services in increasingly virtual environments.

At the same time, we must continue and strengthen the conversations launched in spring 2020 on what we as an organization can contribute to local and national movements to address the inequities of our society.

Libraries are built to serve all people—whether in bricks and mortar buildings or through virtual interactions. In building deep and distinctive collections, preserving knowledge, and increasing access to it, we have the ability to inspire, to offer hope, and to change people’s lives. As we move forward with our strategic plan, we reaffirm our commitment to creating a living and learning environment that is truly transformative, safe and welcoming for all.

Thank you for your support and partnership in advancing knowledge to power Penn and better the world.

Constantia Constantinou
H. Carton Rogers III Vice Provost & Director of Libraries

 

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Our 2020-2025 strategic plan aligns our work with the Penn Compact 2022 pillars of Inclusion, Innovation, and Impact and the University’s goal of advancing knowledge for good.

Through engagement efforts beginning in spring 2019, we have actively met as a staff, and gathered and synthesized information and feedback from across the Libraries and the Penn community. This collective journey led the Libraries to think strategically about such concepts as cultivating knowledge, inspiring inquiry, engaging communities of researchers and learners, and empowering people.

As an organization, we recognize that our success depends on investment in building technical, structural, and human capacity for the changing landscape of Penn and academic libraries. Together, we will construct a unifed approach to library services. We will continue to develop an adaptive workforce with skills for the 21st-century library through recruitment and professional development opportunities. We will foster organizational learning and a culture of mutual respect and professional regard.

Our strategic priorities provide the compass for navigating our future. They are supported by an ongoing investment in building the organization’s capacity and learning, and informed by a commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion. The priorities are also steeped in values identified by Penn Libraries staff.

 

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The Penn Libraries staff value:

 

Communication

Recognizing the importance of relaying essential and accurate information clearly, openly, and in a timely manner for the health of our organization.

 

 

Innovation

Encouraging experimentation and risk-taking in initiating creative approaches to current challenges and new directions.

 

Empowerment

Providing the tools and support necessary to create an agile, adaptable, and resilient workforce.

Respect

Acknowledging the value of every individual within our organization and their contributions to its success.

Collaboration

Sharing information, ideas, and approaches and connecting with colleagues across the Libraries, at Penn, and beyond.

Transparency

Acting with clarity, honesty, and integrity.

 

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Strategic Priorities

Advance

Advance information equity by opening scholarship and resources to expansive audiences.

Penn shines today as one of the top higher education institutions in the United States, with a clear focus on innovative research that yields actionable knowledge. The Penn Libraries plays an essential role not only in producing research but also in making it accessible to the Penn community and beyond. As the information ecosystem becomes more complex and materials become available in a multitude of formats, we aim to increase and streamline access to many of the resources our users need to create, disseminate, and preserve knowledge. We will build and support new and innovative models for digital projects, collaborative scholarship, interdisciplinary research, and teaching and learning spaces. We will also invest in and expand on our open-data foundation initiatives to expose Penn-created content to a broader audience.

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Advance Strategies:


Develop new partnerships, improve workflows, and expand interfaces to open Penn scholarship to local, national, and international constituencies.


Partner in the creation of knowledge in the classroom using digital pedagogy, archival collections, and enhanced informational resources.


Construct new learning, study, and event spaces to physically embody the Penn Libraries’ work in engagement, preservation, and outreach.


 

Engage

Expand global impact through intentional and efective engagements with institutions, individuals, & communities.

The Penn Compact 2022 motivates community members to innovate, be radically inclusive, and positively impact their local, national, and global communities. The Penn Libraries opens our doors to all, from students and faculty across campus, to partner organizations across the Philadelphia region and researchers around the world. As trusted information providers in a rapidIy changing world, we must intentionally shape and strengthen engagement in order to communicate and deliver our services more effectively and achieve greater impact. To that end, we will increase support for learning through active collaboration with teachers and knowledge creators, and inspire critical inquiry and creative expression through our exhibitions, events, and programming.

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Engage Strategies:


Embed librarians at critical points in the research and teaching life cycle at Penn to offer proactive and integrated provision of collections, expertise, and services.


Enhance and expand our digital scholarship support and programming to foster learning and project creation across the Penn community.


Convey our impact and promote our services in ways that inspire stakeholders to engage with us and invest in our future.


 

Preserve

Ensure long-term access to and preservation of the scholarly and cultural record in all forms.

The Penn Libraries’ distinctive collections range from printed books to maps and ancient manuscripts; and from sound recordings and digital images to e-journals and data sets. It’s crucial that we continue to build collections that not only fuel today’s research and teaching but also actively contribute to the global scholarship of tomorrow. We will lead and contribute to collaborative national and international preservation efforts to ensure the survival and stewardship of the scholarly record and cultural resources for generations to come. And we will build dynamic and inclusive repositories that expand diversity, accessibility, and preservation in all formats.

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Preserve Strategies:


Protect the integrity of the world’s cultural heritage by building and safeguarding collections, with a focus on education, access and resource sharing.


Pursue effective models for the preservation and stewardship of digital and material collections through expanded and updated digitization, print retention, and web archiving.


Build collections for current research and pedagogical needs while actively contributing to the global scholarship of tomorrow.


 

Enrich

Build the organization’s capacity through ongoing assessment and development, informed by a commitment to equity, diversity, & inclusion.

The world of information changes quickly. In order to serve the Penn community and other knowledge seekers most effectively, we will prepare for an evolving future through continuous learning and staff empowerment. We will foster a culture of learning, assessment, and best practices that aligns our strategy with the mission of Penn. We will equalize opportunity, develop leaders, and enrich the experience of all members of the Penn Libraries’ community. We will improve communication and collaboration in order to positively impact our work together and successfully support the changing needs of an eminent research university.

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Enrich Strategies:


Invest in continuous learning and staff development to ensure the Libraries’ value to the scholarly enterprise.


Build technical, structural, and staff capacity to support a rapidIy changing teaching, research, and learning landscape.


Promote the value of diversity and diverse perspectives among staff.


 

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Vision, Goals, and Values

The Penn Libraries Digital Strategy 2022-2024 presents a broad vision to plan, implement, scale, and sustain digital technologies and practices that enable Penn students, researchers, scholars, and their collaborators to function skillfully and competitively in a digital world.

Aiming to pioneer change rather than merely manage it, the digital strategy supports a proactive approach that assumes full alignment with the priorities and values of the Penn Libraries’ Strategic Plan 2020-2025 and seamlessly connects the Libraries’ digital services and systems with the University’s research, teaching, and learning mission. The goals outlined by the strategy are to achieve resilient systems, increase agility and capacity for growth, manage change and evolutions in services, and thereby foster innovation.

The following action-oriented values frame the strategy:

Read the complete digital strategy, which includes digital governance principles and additional details on vision, goals, and values.