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American University Library
Strategic Plan 2023-2026

Theme 1: Student Experience

Student experience lies in the center of the University Library’s services and programs. The library environment, both physical and virtual, offers our diverse student population various spaces where they can participate and thrive in academic engagement. We strive to provide inclusive study spaces where students feel welcomed and have multiple options for quiet/silent study as well as vibrant and collaborative spaces for group interaction. We ensure the tools, resources, and services that we provide to students are selected based on data-informed, equitable, and inclusive deliberation. Furthermore, our student staff gain work experience and collaborate with library staff and faculty while building their professional portfolios.

  • Goal 1: Redesign and realign our services to meet the post-pandemic needs of our students and elevate the student experience.
  • Goal 2: Develop a library space plan to create functional, inspiring, and inclusive spaces that meet both student study and collaboration needs and support broader library and university programming.
  • Goal 3: Dedicate support to ensuring that library services and tools are accessible and inclusive.
  • Goal 4: Invest in our student staff by developing and enhancing experiential learning opportunities through building skills that can be directly applied to the professional working environment.

Theme 2: Scholarly Community

The University Library's focus on community helps to generate campus collaboration and promote intellectual conversation. It is a welcoming and inclusive environment that encourages students, faculty, and staff to engage in scholarly pursuits and to share their knowledge and expertise with others. We fundamentally believe that collaboration and partnership are essential to promote scholarship and intellectual curiosity across American University.

Collaborating with other institutions and organizations will help the Library build stronger relationships within the AU academic community and beyond. By working closely with campus partners and other stakeholders, the Library will gain a deeper understanding of their needs and priorities and develop effective and thoughtful programs and services.

  • Goal 1: Develop partnerships that promote scholarship and intellectual curiosity.
  • Goal 2: Prepare our students to both critically evaluate resources and critically engage in an information ecosystem.
  • Goal 3: Encourage innovative scholarship and collaboration by establishing a formal digital scholarship program.

Theme 3: Research

The University Library is an essential element of American University’s research support structure and is consistently recognized for the quality of the collections, tools, and services we offer to faculty and student researchers. The Library continues to foster traditional excellence and prioritizes targeted development in alignment with the evolution of the University’s scholarly agenda and our values of equity and social justice.

We recognize that library collections embody cultural values and are committed to seeking out under-represented voices—enabling those perspectives to be readily encountered and included in the knowledge-creation process. We also claim a critical role in breaking down the barriers to participation in the creation of knowledge by embracing open and equitable research and publication practices and emphasizing equitable access to our collections. Through these efforts, both the work of American University’s scholars and American University’s archival and special collections are made accessible outside of paywalls, enabling both greater and broader impact and participation.

  • Goal 1: Build a diverse and inclusive collection that supports the research and teaching needs of the institution and includes sub-collections of distinction.
  • Goal 2: Embrace open and equitable forms of knowledge and support values-informed scholarship.
  • Goal 3: Expand equitable information access through digitizing AU’s archives and special collections to contribute to global open knowledge.
  • Goal 4: Support innovative research by creating and promoting research support services that meet the needs of both faculty and student researchers.

Theme 4: Organizational Excellence

Along with the faculty and students that we support, the University Library places people in the center of our organization. Behind everything we do is the desire to achieve organizational excellence. We promote learning opportunities and professional development for our library staff and faculty, motivate them to practice problem-solving and shared responsibility, and foster a sense of belonging in our workplace. We strive to incorporate Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Access (IDEA) into all areas of our operations and decision-making. We are devoted to organizational effectiveness through practicing ethical and servant leadership, removing barriers that impede cross-departmental and cross-campus collaboration, while promoting a culture of self-reflection and personal responsibility.

  • Goal 1: Exercise a people-centered and value-centered approach to library leadership and management.
  • Goal 2: Elevate the employee experience through the effective management of the employment lifecycle rooted in IDEA.
  • Goal 3: Build a culture of advancement by identifying and capitalizing on fundraising opportunities.
  • Goal 4: Implement strategies that enable the streamlining of documentation and allow for the effective and transparent communication of policies, procedures, and processes.
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