Strategic Plan 2002-2006


Perhaps at no time in the past has the impact of the external environment on universities and their libraries been so evident as now. The endeavors of learning and teaching, creating and disseminating scholarly knowledge, and extending services both on and off campus take place in increasingly complex times. Technology, economics, demographics, and other forces now frequently present challenges and opportunities that refuse to follow patterns that have been familiar for decades. While this kind of change understandably produces discomfort, the planning efforts of the Purdue University Libraries have helped us to focus on the needs of library users in light of the future.

The Libraries' focus on the future began with our first strategic plan, A Shared Commitment to Excellence: A Plan for the Future, 1992-1997. The value of that plan arose from the vision, mission, and actions created to guide the Libraries through the 1990's and beyond. The actions, which yielded concrete results for the Purdue University community, met user needs and changed the campus discourse regarding the Libraries. Implicit in the planning process and implementation was a significant shift in the Libraries' internal culture toward shared goals, evidenced in such initiatives as the installation of state-of-the-art library information technology and the ongoing development of an information literacy curriculum.

Subsequently, under the leadership of a group of Libraries faculty and staff (Team 2004), a new plan was developed to guide the Libraries into the twenty-first century. A thoughtful analysis of the outcomes, strengths, and weaknesses of the first plan resulted in a reaffirmation of the vision as an image of a desirable future for the Libraries and our clientele, and a recommitment to our mission. A realization also emerged that our new plan needed to better equip the Libraries to respond rapidly, and with greater flexibility, to challenges and opportunities as they arise. This sense was underscored by the insights that emerged as campus deans, the University Library Committee, and the entire Libraries staff participated in a series of environmental scans to identify changes in higher education and in information and communication technology, and to consider their impact on the Libraries. The result was Plan 2004: A Framework for Action (1999-2004), a plan with four strategic directions (The Learning Library, Scholarly Communication, User-Centered Services, and Infrastructure) and a group of outcome-oriented strategic goals for each direction.

In response to the development of the University's strategic plan for 2001-2006, the Libraries Policy and Planning Team reworked Plan 2004. The result, Plan 2006: A Framework for Action (2002-2006), includes the vision (which incorporates values and culture), mission, strategic directions and goals, as well as metrics that will allow us to assess progress on our strategic goals. Specific actions and appropriate targets for metrics will be determined in annual planning, supporting the desired ability for rapid and flexible response to the environment, and permitting the adjustment of targets based on progress achieved.

The plan now before you, Plan 2006: A Framework for Action (2002-2006), shares with its predecessors a firm grounding in the arenas of learning, discovery, and engagement that define the Libraries and the University. Building upon this foundation, the structure of this plan equips the Libraries for the nimble response required to meet the information needs of the Purdue community in an increasingly dynamic environment. Please join the faculty and staff of the Libraries as we direct our thoughts and energies toward an increasingly flexible, diverse, and "user-empowered" information environment.


In the twenty-first century, the Purdue University Libraries provide optimum access to and delivery of information to the Purdue University community. Expert faculty and staff instruct and assist the members of the Purdue community in becoming proficient and productive users of information.

As partners in the discovery, learning, and engagement missions of the University, the Purdue University Libraries provide sophisticated, user-centered information services to facilitate faculty and student productivity, enhance individual and group learning, and enrich engagement initiatives. The Libraries provide access to and rapid delivery of information in a variety of formats from local, regional, national, and international services.

Electronic and other forms of access, document delivery services, and Purdue's own collections are carefully managed in response to an ongoing needs assessment. The user's ability to access information, regardless of location, and the outcomes of the use of the information, together constitute the measure of the Libraries success. This measure relies in part on, but is increasingly less defined by, the local collection. The Libraries success is evaluated in light of the requirements of scholars and students in disciplines as diverse as the
sciences, engineering and technology, humanities, and the social sciences.

A strong instruction program, closely coordinated with other faculty, is provided for all students, with emphasis on critical thinking, information literacy, and lifelong learning skills for undergraduates. The Libraries information consultants work closely with individuals and groups to understand the context of their information needs, and to develop programs, systems, and technological applications to help them retrieve, manage, use, and communicate information more efficiently and effectively. The faculty and staff expertise, services, and collections extend beyond the West Lafayette campus through programs designed to provide rapid access to information for individuals, not-for-profit agencies, governmental units, and businesses, both within and outside the state of Indiana.

The programs and services of the Libraries are carried out by a diverse group of faculty and administrative, professional, and support staff. The "library family" is characterized by high morale, a strong sense of common purpose, and social responsibility. Faculty and staff from all employee classifications work together in flexible teams to analyze issues and opportunities, recommend actions, and participate in implementation.

Effective communication throughout the Libraries and an active staff development program contribute to a positive organizational climate and the successful achievement of the Libraries mission. Library faculty and staff maintain excellent communication with the Libraries partners in the University.


The Libraries are partners with the schools and departments of the University in meeting the discovery, learning, and engagement commitments of Purdue University.

The Libraries primary role is embodied in five components of the mission: information transfer, a partner in teaching and lifelong learning, a partner in discovery, a partner in engagement, and a repository of the intellectual record.

The Libraries facilitate the identification and delivery of information, regardless of format, in support of the University's discovery, learning, and engagement commitments, guided by an ongoing assessment of the information needs of the Libraries primary user population. Although print has historically been the medium of information transfer, trends suggest that scholarly information, both current and retrospective, will increasingly be transferred by electronic means.

As the role that higher education institutions play in lifelong learning becomes increasingly clear, so too does the role of the library in helping individuals acquire the skills of lifelong learning. The ability to obtain and critically evaluate information is one hallmark of a university education. Increasingly, the skills of self-directed learning form another such hallmark. In partnership with faculty across the University, the Libraries offer a program of information literacy that emphasizes critical thinking skills, addresses the use of information in a variety of formats, and prepares students for a lifetime of learning.

Through collaborative efforts with faculty in other disciplines, the Libraries faculty not only respond to trends in higher education affecting teaching and learning, but also participate in shaping curricular innovations made necessary by changes in the environment. Information resources required in support of these innovations are thus identified and access is facilitated as part of a broadened process at the University. The Libraries maintain an ongoing awareness of the curriculum and use this information in designing services and in the building and maintenance of collections. Distance learning capabilities permit the extension of this mission component beyond the West Lafayette campus to those participating in the University's lifelong learning programs.

The Libraries continually gather information regarding the research interests of Purdue faculty and students, for use in designing services and developing collections. Information resources required in support of the University's discovery initiatives are thus identified and access to them facilitated, regardless of location.

The Libraries recognize a twofold responsibility in regard to the University's outreach role. In addition to direct service to individuals and groups both on and off campus, the Libraries provide informational support to University divisions and programs that have off-campus engagement commitments.

To support the mission of the University, the Libraries provide access to a carefully selected portion of the intellectual record. Due to cost and space requirements, this access increasingly involves other libraries' collections, whether in traditional or electronic and other nonprint formats. The expertise of Libraries faculty and staff increasingly focuses on facilitating access to content, including the interpersonal interactions involved, in contrast to the activities of acquiring the containers in which content may reside. The Libraries have repository and archival responsibility for Purdue publications, and provide a physical environment and remedial treatment conducive to longevity for library materials.


Higher education today is marked by a growing emphasis on the learner and the learning experience. As knowledge in all disciplines changes rapidly, one of the primary tasks of the undergraduate student is the mastery of information strategies and skills that are transferable across subject areas and serviceable for a lifetime. All members of the university community, in fact, require learning experiences designed to support the broadening, upward spiral of the continuous learning process. These must include a variety of opportunities to learn and discover, whether the individual visits the library physically or virtually.

+ The University community values information literacy.

- Number of credit courses that include an information literacy component

+ Prior to graduation, students demonstrate a mastery of both information literacy and lifelong learning skills via assessment methods developed jointly by Libraries faculty and the faculty in other disciplines.

- Development of information literacy skills assessment tools

+ Learning of information strategies and skills occurs wherever and whenever needed.

- Use of online tutorials, research guides, and point-of-use assistance

+ Purdue students, faculty, and staff in all disciplines learn to use changing information technologies.

- Number of disciplines for which instruction is offered
- Number of participants in instructional offerings

+ The Libraries support lifelong, self-directed, and distance learning by identifying needs, creating and providing opportunities for effective learning experiences, and promoting the value of such learning.

- Development and promotion of programs and tutorials


The familiar terrain of scholarly publishing is undergoing a transformation. Multiple forms of publication are now possible, and it is not clear what the balance will be in the future between owning a physical copy of a document and accessing the document via digital means. In some disciplines, for example, the sciences, the balance has already tipped as electronic versions of journals complement, compete with, and even replace those in printed format. Scholars are modifying the way they communicate, and a new integration of text and technology increasingly characterizes the creation, transfer, and utilization of knowledge. As information and communication technologies permit experimentation with new forms of scholarly publishing, intellectual property issues, including copyright, become the focus of national debate.

+ The Libraries management of both ownership of and access to information is informed by an awareness of the changing needs of the Purdue community and by an understanding of the context of these information needs.

- Expenditures in emerging and interdisciplinary fields

+ The Libraries provide a gateway to a continuously changing environment of scholarly communication by evaluating, selecting, and providing access to scholarly information in varying formats, independent of location.

- Number of print resources
- Number of electronic resources
- Percentage of ILL requests filled

+ The Libraries demonstrate tools and procedures that increase scholars' productivity in creating, communicating, and acquiring scholarly information.

- Investment of funds in new tools and procedures

+ The Libraries are partners with scholars in creating knowledge and in developing, sharing, and accessing emerging forms of scholarly publishing.

- Use of the Center for Scholarly Communication

+ The Libraries educate users regarding the legal aspects of scholarly communication in a networked environment.

- Use of University Copyright Office

+ The Libraries written collection management policy reflects and accommodates the balance of ownership and access to information, including acquisition and retention in the local collection.

- Development of a written collection management policy


The value and benefits of the human interface become ever more critical as the access to digital materials increases and the concept of a library is transformed by new approaches to learning and scholarly communication. In this rapidly changing environment, libraries focus on offering services that effectively meet the needs of users.

+ The Libraries are the campus leaders in the provision and evaluation of information.

- Percent of University investment in content (print and electronic resources) administered by the Libraries for campus-wide access

+ The Libraries resources and services are provided to users where and when they are needed, and users have choices regarding how they interact and communicate with the Libraries.

- Number of options for access to resources and services
- Evaluation of user satisfaction
- Number of point-of-use instruction sessions

+ Approachable, knowledgeable, and technically skillful library faculty and staff act as partners in defining and procuring needed information while instructing users.

- Number of hours per FTE in staff development

+ Effective user service is the most important priority in the work of library faculty and staff.

- Evaluation of user satisfaction

+ Focusing on the needs of users, the Libraries develop new services and plan the incorporation of changing technologies.

- Selection/development of new services
- Evaluation of user satisfaction

+ The Libraries commitment to user-centered services drives the recruitment, training and development, performance management, and scheduling of faculty, staff, and student employees.

- Evaluation of the effectiveness of operational structures


Success in the strategic directions of The Learning Library, Scholarly Communication, and User-Centered Services requires a strong foundation in the form of the Libraries infrastructure: knowledgeable faculty and staff; appropriate technologies, facilities, and communication mechanisms; internal and external funding; continual adjustment of budget resources; outcome-oriented assessment methods; and informed priorities. Ongoing evaluation of the infrastructure involves a combination of user input and self-evaluation to measure the Libraries contribution to successful user outcomes.

+ The Libraries faculty and staff engage in an ongoing process of assessment and readjustment of services, facilities, staffing, and technologies.

- Evaluation of the effectiveness of operational structures

+ The Libraries faculty and staff communicate and cooperate as one staff and utilize a variety of communication methods both within the Libraries and with the Purdue community.

- Consistency of message and image presented to the Purdue community

+ An ongoing staff development program provides opportunities for Libraries faculty and staff to enhance their knowledge, skills, and personal effectiveness to better contribute to the strategic directions and goals.

- Number of opportunities/programs and number of participants

+ Budget planning, proposals, and adjustments reflect the priority given to those activities, programs, and projects that support the strategic directions, while allowing the flexibility to take advantage of unanticipated opportunities to achieve a goal.

- Extent to which investments match the prioritized annual actions that support the strategic plan

+ University funding reflects the Libraries leadership in the provision of information.

- Extent to which University funding matches inflation rates for information resources
- Investments in resources supporting new programs and curricula

+ An active public relations and external fundraising program helps to support the strategic directions.

- Percentage of budget derived from annual gift-giving


The Libraries information access, collection ownership, and instructional services are designed to support the goals of academic programs. The selection of peer institutions for learning, discovery, and engagement benchmarking by the Schools impacts the Libraries identification of appropriate academic libraries for the purpose of benchmarking. Therefore, a key factor in implementing the Libraries strategic plan, following approval by the President, will be the selection of peer institutions for benchmarking based on those selected by the Schools. Annual action planning will identify opportunities and key priorities, and guide resource allocations, for achieving progress toward the Libraries strategic goals. Together with the Purdue community, the Libraries faculty and staff look forward to building an increasingly flexible, diverse, and "user-empowered" information environment.