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Initiatives and Directions

Initiatives and Directions - Planning Document Part 1

November 7, 2000


"The University Libraries perform multiple roles on campus, supporting the information and reading needs of students, faculty, and staff in the area of classroom assignments, independent learning, research, and public service. The University Libraries also serve as a statewide resource for other academic libraries, public libraries and the general public." - From the Libraries' "Mission Statement"


The Libraries' primary function is to provide prompt, courteous, and quality service to the University community irrespective of affiliation or geographic location. Vital to the Libraries' success are innovations within the Libraries, operational excellence, and enabling activity that supports the land-grant teaching and research mission.

The University of Arkansas has established two major long-term goals: increasing enrollment by several thousand students, and increasing research across the curriculum. In concert with those institutional goals, the Libraries must begin planning now to meet the increasing expectations of users and the information needs of students and faculty in this growth environment. Our continued ability to fulfill our mission will require from our personnel dedication, innovation, cooperation, and change.

Research libraries at major research universities around the country have membership in the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) and operate at significantly different and higher levels than do our Libraries.An appropriate goal for the University of Arkansas Libraries, therefore, is to pattern our operations after those at member libraries which have institutional missions similar to those of the University of Arkansas. Information on membership in the ARL, including qualifications and procedures, may be found at http://www.arl.org/stats/qualcov.html

Designing, implementing, and refining service in all library sectors is critical in making the library easier to use. Team approaches to service and to technical aspects of librarianship will be a major emphasis in the process of change. Library units, departments, and divisions will become less segmented, and personnel will work cooperatively to ensure that the programs designed and implemented are effective and suitable to the goals and needs of the larger institution.

Strengthening skills and knowledge of operations among the library faculty and staff will result in greater efficiency and productivity. All library personnel will be required, therefore, to engage in staff development activities that enhance the work they perform and increase the Libraries' ability to develop new programs and services.

The initiatives listed below represent the range of activities identified by Dean Allen and the library administrative group that must be addressed in order for the Libraries to bring operational levels to those of ARL member libraries. Engaging in these activities will better position the Libraries to be considered for ARL membership within a span of several years. The process to be used for a library-wide examination of these initiatives and directions, with the goal of refining the list-adding, deleting, rewording, etc.-is detailed in Part 2.

Trends to Monitor

  • Distance Education
  • Copyright/Intellectual Property Legislation
  • Publishing Trends and Cost Increases (for print and electronic journals)
  • Curriculum Development
  • Grants and Research Areas
  • Technology Trends

University Vision

The University of Arkansas is a nationally competitive, student-centered research university serving Arkansas and the world.

Mission of the Libraries

The University of Arkansas Libraries provide access to all relevant forms of recorded knowledge that support the information needs of the University of Arkansas students, faculty, and staff irrespective of a user's location.


Operational Excellence

  • Analyze needs of users and develop the services and technical infrastructure to ensure that needs are being met.
  • Evaluate effectiveness of existing library programs.
  • Identify expertise needed; evaluate, define, implement, and effectively shift existing staff resources to support current, enhanced, or new programs.
  • Develop and implement a comprehensive preservation/conservation program.
  • Evaluate space requirements for the next fifteen to twenty years, including Special Collections, branch libraries (Fine Arts, Chemistry, and Physics), and remote storage facility.

Curriculum/Research Support

  • Develop and implement a supportive collection development program, which includes ongoing collaboration among teaching faculty, researchers, and librarians.
  • Provide access to full-text electronic resources in all fields where appropriate.
  • Investigate and develop an in-house program for digitizing the Libraries' unique resources.
  • Investigate and develop collaboration within and outside the University of Arkansas to digitize significant UAF manuscript collections so that they are accessible via the World Wide Web. (Investigate the possibility of producing e-books written by U of A faculty.)

Program Support

  • Develop an endowment and fund-raising program to help support collections, staffing, and capital resources.
  • Develop and document a comprehensive plan for data collection and analysis.
  • Develop operating budget procedures supportive of the collection development program.
  • Maximize buying power by developing partnerships with other academic, research and/or public libraries to form consortial relationships at the state, national, and regional levels.

Internal Initiatives

  • Document all major operational policies and procedures, and place them on the Web as appropriate.
  • Create library departmental Web pages.
  • Create a staff development and in-house training program for library faculty and staff.
  • Create a flexible and understandable budget process including analyses, projections, distribution, and reports.
  • Support scholarly efforts of library faculty.

Planning Document - Part 2: Process


The library administration is in agreement that the University Libraries at the University of Arkansas must undergo an evaluation and planning process that supports University initiatives.The dean, associate dean, and division heads will establish the major directions.In the first six months of the year 2001 all library staff will participate in a consensus building planning process by which we will examine current practices to ensure we have identified all the directions and initiatives that will focus our attentions and will guide our decision-making.

The dean of Libraries will gather information from various campus constituents including deans of colleges and schools, associate deans, faculty representatives from each college and school, and the Faculty Senate Library Committee.Information will be shared with the Libraries' associate dean, division heads, and subject specialists.

In early December 2000 a library-wide meeting will be held to discuss the documents, solicit input, and answer questions.The dean also will meet with groups of staff with common concerns, e.g., Home Page Committee, subject specialists, etc., to discuss issues and how each individual group's issues relate to the overall plan. The division heads, department heads, and staff will identify and establish the strategies appropriate to reaching the goals outlined in the "Directions" document.

The dean will make final decisions on the initiatives in consultation with the University provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs.

Then, over the next three to five years, the planning process for each of those initiatives will create the venue for setting our priorities and using our resources to achieve our goals of improved services, collections, and access to resources.The associate dean will take the lead in staffing the implementation process, ensuring that all areas of the library are adequately represented.Work on initiatives will be spread over a time frame yet to be established.

Basic Assumptions

  • Service standards will be developed for all areas of the library.
  • The Libraries will collaborate with university offices and departments to ensure that the services provided are sufficient for patron access.
  • Interdepartmental teams shall be established to ensure that selection, acquisition of materials; bibliographic instruction, cataloging and other special skills are in place to effectively meet patron need.
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Last updated: 2009-09-09