Western Libraries Strategic Plan (2018 - 2024)

Context Statement

Western Libraries proudly serves as an intellectual crossroads for the university community and as an innovative partner in Western's teaching and research mission. The Libraries seeks to advance knowledge, self-awareness, and understanding. Western Libraries is a place of inquiry and learning where intellectual freedom, privacy, and confidentiality are respected and protected.

The Libraries welcome approximately 1 million visitors annually within the physical spaces and half million visits online. Across three buildings, the Libraries collections include over 1.5 million items, supported by an annual resource access budget of $2.1 million. Areas of particular collection strength include Pacific Northwest Studies, Children’s Literature, and Mongolian Studies.

In our important leadership role as University partners, librarians, staff, and student employees have joined with library colleagues nationwide to embrace diversity, equity, and inclusion, and vigorously oppose racism, prejudice, and discrimination. Western Libraries helps patrons engage thoughtfully with our complex history, find solutions to difficult societal problems, and advance pluralism and democracy. The Libraries is comprised of four divisions that work to support inclusive excellence at Western Washington University:

The Libraries’ collections span a variety of media, formats, and historical time periods, including physical and digital content; materials that are owned and leased; vendor-provided content; and local and unique content (e.g. institutional repository, archives, and special collections). The Collection Services division spearheads and coordinates the management of all but the Libraries’ local and unique content. This collection management includes stewardship of the library resource access budget and active engagement at every stage of the lifecycle of our library materials. Our work encompasses not only the selection, acquisition, organization, and preservation of content but also efforts to make content discoverable and accessible; regular and ongoing collection assessment; careful monitoring of physical space; leveraging regional and national relationships to supplement local holdings; and more.

Heritage Resources consists of three units that provide for the responsible stewardship of rare, unique, and archival resources in support of teaching, learning, research, and public programming. The Center for Pacific Northwest Studies, Special Collections, and University Archives work together to collect and manage valuable and distinctive documentation critical to the development of academic literacies and scholarship. Our programs are designed to expand creative networks between students, faculty, and staff, and to increase engagement between Western and local communities. Heritage Resources is committed to innovative approaches to teaching that ensures that every Western student is able to find, understand, and interpret a wide variety of research sources in various contexts. Through our resources, we strive to promote respectful engagement with diverse perspectives, advance understandings of social justice issues, honor indigenous peoples, and preserve and document Western's place in our community, region, and the world.

Through a focus on integrated academic literacies (e.g. reading, research, writing, speaking, listening), the Teaching & Learning division leads an array of initiatives ranging from credit courses, curricular-embedded activities such as workshops, and co-curricular opportunities, such as tours and orientations. These offerings reach undergraduate and graduate students across the disciplines, both in-person and at a distance via a range of face-to-face and online teaching modalities. Together, these initiatives address three overarching learning outcomes: inquiry, collaboration, and agency. The Libraries is also home to an innovative Learning Commons, which includes Center for Community Learning, Center for Instructional Innovation & Assessment, Digital Media Center, Hacherl Research & Writing Studio, Student Technology Center, Teaching-Learning Academy, and Tutoring Center.

Technology & Discovery Services is responsible for the optimal access to and use of technologies within the Libraries. We collaborate with internal and external stakeholders to integrate innovative approaches into the management of our technological infrastructures. This includes providing excellent user experience for our staff, students, faculty, and community patrons using the Libraries online resources. We are proactive in evaluating and adopting emerging technology and eliminating barriers to the discovery of, and access to, scholarly and academic resources. Through the provision of an accessible, data-driven, online teaching, research, and learning environment, Technology & Discovery Services augments the University’s ability to contribute to scholarship at Western and beyond.

The Strategic Planning Committee would like to thank members of the Senate Library Committee, Western Libraries Student Advisory Group, and all Libraries personnel for their contribution, support, and honest feedback during the planning process.