Library Mission, Vision, Principles, and Strategic Directions


In support of free inquiry and expression, the University of Chicago Library is transforming the global knowledge environment to be open, accessible, and equitable. We enable the University of Chicago and our greater community to create a better world through effective information services, a comprehensive connected collection, and a culture of innovation, respect, and partnership.


The University of Chicago Library is a leader in an inclusive and sustainable global knowledge environment.


A. We meet the information needs of the University of Chicago—both as stewards of an outstanding research collection and as leaders in open scholarship.

B. We achieve our vision through partnership, within the University as well as externally.

C. Open is the default for everything we do: opening scholarship for use and impact, facilitating the widest access to collections and spaces, and practicing transparency as an organization.

D. We recognize information literacy is critical in an age of rapid technological change—for students, researchers, and staff as well as for our local community.

E. We serve our users through a culture of excellence, by being agile and innovative, and by embracing change.

F. We are a learning organization that develops our greatest resource, our staff.

G. We foster diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility across our work, spaces, and collections.

H. We achieve environmental and operational sustainability through continual review and upgrade of our processes, service portfolio, and spaces.

Library Strategic Directions, FY 2020-2024

1. Cultivate an Inclusive Community

Build an inclusive organization that cultivates and values diversity, recognizing the strength that it brings to our community and operations.


a) Foster a diverse, inclusive, and culturally competent organization in order to catalyze creativity and innovation and to better support an increasingly diverse community.

b) Actively recruit and retain a diverse workforce.

c) Be a strong partner in campus diversity activities.

d) Provide welcoming, accessible library spaces and services.

e) Develop inclusive collections.

2. Empower Faculty and Students with Library Services, Collections, and Spaces

Advance state-of-the-art research, teaching, and engaged learning by implementing innovative and inclusive services and reimagining library collections and spaces.


a) Integrate Library programs and tools into curricula and research processes, and embed librarians into departments and divisions, enabling students, faculty and staff to use and evaluate information critically, ethically, and effectively.

b) Partner with other groups on campus to provide programs and services that build the leadership and professional skills needed by students, postdocs, and junior faculty to pursue and build professional lives in academia, the public sector, or private enterprise.

c) Realign collecting policies and practices to ensure access to and preservation of a wider range of scholarly resources, including emerging areas of research, documentation of under-represented groups and viewpoints, and new formats.

d) Invest in strategic collaborations that allow collection development and management at a networked level in order to expand and diversify the resources we make available to faculty and students.

e) Provide innovative, flexible, and inspirational virtual and physical spaces that support the evolving needs of faculty, students, staff, and visiting researchers as they engage in project-based scholarship and creative work, innovation, and quiet study and reflection.

f) Partner with campus departments and centers to provide a home for public lectures, colloquia, and other forums that extend and promote their scholarly and creative work.

3. Advance Digital Scholarship

Increase the University’s scholarly impact by building spaces, services, and technologies that facilitate digital approaches to creating, analyzing, preserving, and openly sharing research.


a) Be a hub for digital scholarship that provides faculty and students with spaces, technologies, instruction and consultation services that support the exploration of new research methodologies, analysis of complex data, and sharing of research and creative endeavors through new publishing models.

b) Partner with faculty on research projects by providing disciplinary and technical expertise, solutions for the creation, sharing, and preservation of digital content, knowledge of funding agencies’ requirements for data management, and methodologies that ensure reproducible research outputs.

c) Promote open access, open data, open educational resources, and open source technology in order to transform the scholarly and research environment and provide more equitable access to knowledge.

d) Provide educational programming and consultation services that ensure researchers and campus community are aware of copyright and intellectual property issues, including the appropriate use of copyrighted materials, and strategies for protecting and disseminating their own intellectual output.

4. Enhance Access to Scholarly Resources

Connect scholars with resources at the point of need by developing a user-centered, content-rich, integrated discovery environment and by providing fast and convenient access and delivery services.


a) Create a seamless environment for discovery of resources regardless of their location, format, access system, or ownership.

b) Create alternative pathways into our collections through the use of pop-up, web, and physical exhibits, collaborative programming (e.g., the common book initiative), and other context-oriented initiatives that promote knowledge and use of our collections by diverse audiences.

c) Provide systems that allow researchers to explore and re-use library metadata and digital collections in new ways through data mining, visualization, and other computational techniques.

d) Partner with libraries and other experts to build next-generation resource sharing systems that support our goal to provide collective collections at the network level.

e) Provide leadership in the development of open-source, next-generation library services platforms and tools.

f) Realign our metadata practices to reflect a diversity of knowledge-sharing practices.

5. Extend the University’s Impact through Local and Global Engagement

Engage with local and global partners to extend the University’s impact on pressing challenges in our city, nation, and the world.


a) Promote the importance of open scholarship initiatives to actively expose and promote the University’s rich and diverse scholarly endeavors to the world.

b) Engage in civic collaborations that expand knowledge, preserve intellectual and cultural heritage, and support entrepreneurship by drawing on the collective strengths of the partners.

c) Promote the work of the Library so that we are recognized on campus, locally, nationally, and globally as an innovative leader in the research and academic environment.

d) Partner with students, faculty, the University, and Chicago’s South Side communities in advancing diversity initiatives.

e) Contribute to research, teaching, and learning initiatives of the University’s growing global programs and cultural initiatives.

6. Excel in a Changing Environment

Build an agile, creative, and inclusive organization that values diversity and encourages experimentation, collaboration, bold thinking, and cultural competence in order to meet the needs of the ever-changing academic environment.


a) Recruit and retain a diverse staff with the advanced skills and knowledge needed to be active contributing members of the campus community both by hiring new talent and by investing in cultural competence and skill building for existing staff.

b) Make strategic use of assessment data from peers and local evaluation to understand how the educational, research, and information landscapes are changing.

c) Encourage staff to publish, present new initiatives to professional peers, and participate in innovative and collaborative projects and service.

d) Provide opportunities to learn about campus initiatives and successful peer activities in order to gain an understanding of trends and best practices in the evolving scholarly environment.

Library Strategic Directions, 2016-2019