Aligning the Research Library With Organizational Strategy

NISO Member News

The Association of Research Libraries and the Canadian Association of Research Libraries commissioned Ithaka S+R to consult with university leaders in Canada and the United States to identify their strategic priorities, to gauge their expectations of research libraries in achieving them, and together with their members, to determine what more research libraries can do to advance them. The published results of that consultation are enlightening as many libraries are already adjusting their strategic directions.

The report, entitled Aligning the Research Library With Organizational Strategy, shares insights contributed through interviews with more than 60 decision-makers and stakeholders. Danielle Cooper of Ithaka S+R has identified trends and strategic directions that will play an important role in shaping the research library over the coming decade. 

Key outcome: Four institutional strategic priorities were found to be very common among universities at this time: 

  • growth strategies and especially advancing STEM; 
  • engaging the state; 
  • redressing relationships with the historically marginalized; and 
  • the residential experience.

Based on Ithaka S+R’s research with scholars, investigators also reviewed several key trends in research practice and support:

  • The turn to computation, big data, and machine learning;
  • The inequitable impacts of the pandemic;
  • The centralization of research enablement and support; and
  • Changes in research communications.

Based on these common strategic directions and key trends in research practice and support, the authors of the report proposed a menu of strategic directions from which research libraries may wish to choose:

  • An accelerated pivot to STEM;
  • Double down on humanities and distinctive collections;
  • Focus on student needs and student success;
  • Redress relationships with historically marginalized groups;
  • Serve the needs of the political entity that funds or controls the institution; and/or
  • Make scientific communication fit for purpose.

The report will be of tremendous interest to those serving the academic marketplace. The 26-page report in PDF file format can be accessed and downloaded here