The Emory University Libraries inspire creative expression, scholarship and new knowledge.
The Emory University Libraries are a microcosm of Emory University, the heartbeat of the knowledge enterprise. We preserve the past, convene the present, and work to build a better future.
(Emory Libraries Vision)
This document updates the path forward charted in the Emory University Libraries Strategic Plan 2008-2012. Faced with fundamental changes occurring on a global scale and in all sectors of higher education, information technology, and scholarly communication, the Emory University Libraries have developed a wide-ranging and ambitious plan to fulfill our mission to develop distinctive collections, services, staff and facilities to preserve our intellectual heritage and advance the discovery and transmission of knowledge for students and scholars of today and tomorrow.
As the University Libraries (the Library) endeavor to build a 21st century research library, the Library must strike an appropriate balance between building traditional collections and delivering traditional services, while at the same time exploring frontiers in the transformed, digital library and developing capabilities in support of knowledge production, communication, and digital preservation. In many ways, during this transition the Library will be a hybrid library, with a foot in both worlds. Because of its leadership in both areas, the Library is well positioned to work at the intersection of the print and digital worlds and to build an infrastructure that truly supports new forms of pedagogy and new systems for the creation and dissemination of knowledge.
The Library’s aggressive strategic plan seeks to respond to Emory’s vision as: “a destination university internationally recognized as an inquiry-driven, ethically engaged, and diverse community, whose members work collaboratively for positive transformation in the world through courageous leadership in teaching, research, scholarship, health care, and social action”.
This plan has been reshaped and updated in a context of rapid and far-reaching economic, social and legal change impacting every sector of our society. Economic conditions impacted the implementation of our 2008-2012 Strategic Plan, and those economic conditions will also have strong impacts on scholarly publishing, the availability of grant funding, and University operating and capital investments. Nonetheless, implementation of the plan will require university investment and support. Through the execution of its plan, the Library will engage with difficult questions surrounding scholarship in a digital age and shape the environment in which future generations will teach, learn, and conduct research.
MISSION of the UNIVERSITY LIBRARIES
We develop distinctive collections, services, staff and facilities to preserve our intellectual heritage and advance the discovery and transmission of knowledge for students and scholars of today and tomorrow.
CONNECTION TO INSTITUTIONAL MISSION:
Emory University’s mission is “To create, preserve, teach and apply knowledge in the service of humanity.”
As the intellectual commons of the University, the Emory Libraries support that mission with resources and programs that promote interdisciplinary scholarship and academic excellence on the graduate and undergraduate level; with distinctive collections that attract outstanding students, faculty and staff; with technology-rich spaces and digital tools that enable new forms of scholarship; with public programs and exhibitions that help connect Emory University with its larger community; and with the preservation of rare materials that document the full range of the human condition.
Those activities take place throughout the Robert W. Woodruff Library and in the libraries that support Oxford College, the Candler School of Theology, Emory Law School, Goizueta Business School, and Emory’s Schools of Medicine, Nursing, and Public Health.
To fulfill the Libraries’ vision, build on areas of great strength, assume a leadership position among university libraries and support the institutional vision of Emory University, we will pursue the following goals:
GOAL 1: SPECIAL COLLECTIONS
The Emory Libraries, with its renowned special collections, distinguished staff and world-class facilities, is differentiated from peer institutions and is an international leader for trans- disciplinary research and teaching in modern literature, African American history and culture, civil and human rights, religious expression, health and disease eradication, and conflict resolution.
Special collections at Emory, housed primarily in the MARBL and Pitts Theology Library, contribute to Emory’s intellectual distinction and competitive ranking among research universities. The Library leverages these University resources to enrich teaching and research at Emory while also serving a broad national and international research community. Emory’s special collections advance the University’s teaching and research mission among three key communities. For students, MARBL, in particular, serves as a “humanities laboratory.” Students learn new research methods, work with rare and unique materials, and experience the excitement of discovery through inquiry-based learning—a key strategy in undergraduate education. For faculty, special collections across the university advance scholarship by preserving and making accessible rare and unique resources for advanced study in areas of strategic priority for the University. For the external community, special collections act as catalysts for a wide range of programs that involve the larger Atlanta community, attract scholars and inspire the production of knowledge, and contribute to the cultural and intellectual life of the city.
Because of Emory’s excellence in key collecting areas, Emory is well positioned to receive first offers to acquire coveted collections when they become available. A new facility for special collections—with capacity for digitization and public programs—as well as the financial resources to respond to such offers, will ensure these resources continue to serve students, faculty, the greater community, and Emory’s reputation as a destination university.
GOAL 2: DIGITAL INNOVATIONS
Emory Libraries are recognized as a leader in innovative and robust digital information services and resources.
The digital production and management of knowledge and information is central to the redefinition of university libraries. Through the development of new tools and systems for knowledge and information management, the Emory Libraries are poised to play a pivotal role in the production and dissemination of knowledge, and contribute to the internationalization of scholarship by building and integrating access to global resources. Emory seeks to advance this evolution through digital initiatives that increase connections between people and build on the Library’s role as the university’s intellectual commons.
To achieve this goal, the Library plans to establish a Research Commons, a physical, organizational and virtual laboratory that will take advantage of the university research library as a point of engagement between scholars and resources. Within the construct of the Research Commons, we will create a Digital Scholarship Commons (DiSC) to support the production of digital scholarship and the Certificate Program in Digital Scholarship and New Media. Additionally an Informatics Research Center supporting the health and life sciences will be developed.
Connecting and synergizing with Goal 1, the digital innovations goal must facilitate reaching across special collections to present a more unified view of the scholarly landscape by connecting with external special collections, both physical and digital. Active and strategic partnerships, both within Emory and externally with peer institutions, will be essential for success.
Emory seeks to advance this evolution through a variety of innovative services and projects that build on the Library’s traditional role as a meeting ground for scholars seeking to acquire, organize and produce knowledge. Instead of reducing human interaction, the combination of knowledge experts and digital information systems can cultivate connections between people and foster their ability to understand and investigate. Indeed, digital innovations can provide fundamental new modes of communication that allow scholars to express themselves in powerful new ways. As part of this work, the Library, in collaboration with both internal and external partners, will promote the broad, equitable, and effective dissemination of the scholarship that is generated by the university community.
GOAL 3: CUSTOMER-CENTERED LIBRARY
The Emory Libraries operate as a customer-focused, process- managed and data-driven organization.
Stimulated by increasingly rapid social and technological changes impacting the context in which the Library operates, we will place greater emphasis on becoming a learning organization. With the user at the center, the Library will build collaborative learning and research environments that meet the needs of this and future generations of students and faculty in the humanities, social sciences, sciences, health care, and the professional schools.
Each library within the Emory library system has distinctive areas of strength, leadership, and a tradition of partnerships with faculty. All of Emory’s libraries, in both their physical and virtual programs, intend to build on this success by strengthening research environments and partnerships that contribute to the teaching, learning, and research of Emory faculty and students in the humanities, social sciences, sciences, medicine, and the professional schools. In the coming years, to maximize investments in resources and facilities, librarians and information professionals will manage collaborative, system-wide initiatives across all libraries at Emory.