Strategic Framework - General Information


As a guiding principle, the University Library will strive to improve upon our collections and services by implementing best practices, fostering strong data analysis, and focusing on demonstrable contributions to campus and the scholarly communities that it supports. Whenever possible, we will develop and implement methods and strategies to measure services, in order to improve them and to communicate their value to the university.

Our Shared Vision

The Library is central to the vibrant intellectual life found at Illinois and committed to student success. Infused throughout the university, the Library fully engages with the university’s mission by offering physical and virtual access to the finest and broadest array of scholarly resources available and by providing the expertise of the best librarians and staff. Serving scholars around the world, the Library’s global preeminence reflects the university’s land grant values and its own rich heritage.

Our Mission

The University Library is central to the intellectual life of the university. By providing and stewarding collections and content that comprise a record of human knowledge and by offering a wide array of services, it enhances the university’s activities in creating knowledge, preparing students for lives of impact, and addressing critical societal needs. The Library advances the university’s goals by striving to ensure unfettered access to information and by providing a network of expertise that ensures value, quality, and authenticity of information resources. The Library integrates and manages knowledge to enable learning and the creation of new knowledge.

Areas of Distinction

  • Special, distinctive, and unique primary source collections
  • Subject and functional specialists provide world-class expertise
  • World-leading discovery and access services
  • Collaborative partnerships with state, regional, and national partners
  • Deep public services orientation in keeping with public mission
  • Large, comprehensive, and diverse research collections
  • A balance of historic preservation with innovation in library spaces

Our Guiding Principles

The work of the University Library is guided by the following enduring principles:

  • Mission-Driven – The mission of the University Library and the mission of the university provide a roadmap and serve as the broad parameters for action as we deeply engage the teaching, learning, research, engagement, and economic development purposes of the university.
  • Action-Oriented – The University Library is a proactive organization that carefully charts a future path that builds on past success while encouraging experimentation and innovation. Our work is in service to the community, from the provision of services to the curation of the intellectual record for the ages, and reflects the creative and entrepreneurial spirit of our organizational culture.
  • Inclusive – The University Library acts intentionally to include all members of its community in pursuing its mission, recognizing the strengthening effects of diversity, dialogue, and difference and of engaging inclusive processes.
  • User-Focused – The University Library is guided by user needs in developing services, collections, and spaces, including current and emerging practices in teaching, learning, and scholarship, through our collaborative relationships with our user communities.
  • Evidence-Based – The University Library uses assessment, input from our user communities, research and development, best practices from the profession, peer review, and benchmarking in making decisions and evaluating our success.
  • Empowering – The University Library chooses strategies and approaches that empower library employees and users to carry out their work independently while also recognizing our collective responsibilities.
  • Leading – The University Library is a leader on campus and in the library community nationally and internationally in research, development, and building partnerships to work collectively and collaboratively to address challenges and increase impact. These relationships generate future-thinking services and programs.

Our Strategic Directions and Priorities

SD1. Pro-active and trusted partners in scholarship, discovery, and innovation

  1. Implement sustainable approaches to collection development policies and initiatives that facilitate open access to resources.
  2. Optimize discovery of, access to, and accessibility of all library resources, collections, and services.
  3. Foster information and data services throughout the knowledge creation cycle to support innovative methods of scholarship.
  4. Develop and apply emergent, sustainable services to enhance scholarly innovation, interdisciplinary engagement, and partnerships that support collaboration and entrepreneurship.
  5. Design information discovery and research productivity tools that support knowledge creation from the idea stage to publishing and dissemination.

SD2. Transformative learning experiences

  1. Design, implement, and assess library education initiatives that address and promote multiple literacies (data, information, textual, visual, linguistic, etc.) and critical thinking.
  2. Advance co-curricular programming and practices that connect learning to information-rich resources.
  3. Strengthen collections in all formats in order to facilitate and advance the diverse nature of learning, teaching, and emergent areas of research.
  4. Build spaces and integrate technologies as part of the Library’s teaching and learning support services to enhance accessibility, academic success, and wellness.
  5. Enhance liaison, consultation, and reference services that leverage the expertise of the library and disciplinary subject experts to support learning and research pursuits.

SD3. Societal and global impact

  1. Establish collaborative partnerships, both within and outside the campus, to engage the global diversity of the student body and address local and global grand challenges.
  2. Implement library outreach and engagement programs to advance community research, learning experiences, and social well-being.
  3. Provide access to collections and services that uphold the university’s responsibility as a land-grant institution.
  4. Advance the Library as a place of convergence for excellence in innovative services and programs to illuminate and address real world issues.
  5. Promote community engagement and experiential learning to expand global-mindedness.

SD4. Strategic investments for a sustainable library environment

  1. Strengthen an inclusive working environment that hires a diverse staff, promotes creativity and collective action, and values and nurtures the success of every Library colleague.
  2. Support innovative research and practices in library and information science to establish the Library as a global leader in the research library ecosystem.
  3. Build active, sustainable partnerships in order to expand access to, and diversity of, collections and services.
  4. Secure funding for strategic collections in unique and specialized areas, to build a globally-recognized and accessible Library.
  5. Develop, mentor, and inspire the next generation of library and information science professionals.
  6. Apply assessment and evidence-based practices to make strategic investments to advance the mission of the university.