Strategic Plan 2017–2022

The University Libraries' 5-Year Strategic Plan: 2017–2022

The University of Denver Libraries strive to provide outstanding collections and services to the University community. Until 2013, that was done within the constraints of a building designed for a different information paradigm. We reinvented library services bounded by the limits of Penrose Library, and that vision for collections and services helped shape the Anderson Academic Commons (AAC).

Our building presents opportunities for collaboration and reflection to which other libraries aspire. Now, in planning for the next five years, we again have the opportunity to reimagine what the academic library can be, and how it can engage in the many facets of providing student-centered learning; enhance faculty teaching, creative work, and research; and augment the dynamic array of University connections with communities locally, regionally, and beyond.

Strategic Directions

  • Serve as the campus hub for scholarly communication and knowledge creation

    Serve as the campus hub for scholarly communication and knowledge creation

    The library is central to innovation and creation of knowledge.

    Academic libraries have traditionally collected and preserved scholarly publications; provided access to that content; and helped their patrons discover and use the information from those resources. While librarians have always helped with the research process, the processes of publication and dissemination happened elsewhere. The library now must play a crucial role in the entire information lifecycle, from inquiry to expression.

    The University Libraries will expand services to help our students and faculty better understand the full range of issues involved in scholarly communication — issues that include author rights; the evolving complexities of open access publishing and funder mandates; the preservation of and access to the data underlying publications; the ever growing need to demonstrate the impact of research and its outputs; and the benefits to students, scholars, and the University of various publishing models. Students and faculty are confronted with far more options for publishing than ever before, and librarians — who have to understand these options to build collections — are uniquely equipped to offer guidance.

    In addition to providing guidance about scholarly publishing, the University Libraries will provide support in the form of publishing platforms for student and faculty works and will create services to help with preservation and management of research data sets.


    • Develop and support services for creation and communication of new knowledge
    • Provide services to facilitate dissemination of faculty and student scholarly and creative work
  • Provide resources and services to enable research and creative work, teaching, and life-long learning

    The library provides spaces, collections, and services through a variety of means to support the work of our students and faculty.

    The University Libraries exist to support the learning, teaching, research, and scholarship of our students and faculty. Our physical spaces, our online presence, services, people, and our collections all must support that fundamental goal. We will continue to build and preserve collections that meet the needs of our community and we will provide discovery tools and services to help our students and faculty find and use the information they require.

    But the sorts of collections and services we provide are constantly changing. We will invest in new tools to help our students and faculty work with data and to measure success in this new environment. We will reemphasize primary sources, university records, and special collections. We will focus on textbooks and open educational resources (OERs) to help students afford the high cost of higher education. And we will invest in discovery tools and metadata to improve the learning experience.


    • Support evolving research trends by providing new types of resources and services
    • Provide services and resources to enhance faculty teaching
    • Offer broad and deep collections, content, and resources supplied through a range of methods and centered on library user needs
    • Invest in discovery tools that simplify the user experience and that recognize the need for both specialized and general resources
    • Support increased digital access to primary resources through digitization and digital resource management
    • Develop a comprehensive strategy to identify and preserve key University records


  • Develop a proactive assessment program for data-driven decision making

    The library makes informed decisions about collections, services, and programs.

    As we work to constantly improve our services, spaces, and collections, it is imperative that we understand how and why they are being used. We will invest staff time and resources to develop a proactive assessment program to better understand, anticipate, and respond to user needs. This program will help us develop better collections, better configure our spaces and technical workflows, provide the best services possible, and partner strategically with other service points within the Anderson Academic Commons and across campus.


    • Use data to demonstrate the impact and value of library services and resources
  • Provide an enlightening community space with an academic focus

    The library is a gathering place bringing people together from all disciplines, enabling learning through connection and collaboration and supporting academic success.

    The Anderson Academic Commons is an incredible facility — a true twenty-first century library, and the envy of most librarians who have had the opportunity to visit. Part of its success comes from the variety of academic service points, allowing students a chance for one-stop shopping with easy referral from the Center for World Languages and Cultures to the Writing Center to the Research Center, for instance. And part of its success is due to the wide range of study spaces — from the social to the quiet. We must pay attention to how those spaces and services are used and constantly reimagine the AAC as well as the other library spaces — the Hampden Center and the Bonfils-Stanton Music Library.

    We also must think about events, activities, and exhibits to draw students, faculty, staff, and the broader community into our buildings. We will use events and exhibits to engage the community, to highlight our collections, and to partner with others in our building and on campus.


    • Through exhibits and academically-themed co-curricular events, engage the community in experiential learning and cross-disciplinary exploration
    • Develop a forward-looking space plan for the Anderson Academic Commons, Hampden Center, and Music Library
  • Create a rewarding workplace where employees succeed and grow

    The library, as a teaching and learning organization, supports those who work within the organization by providing the skills, knowledge, resources, and technologies to succeed.

    Libraries are constantly evolving and the skills and experience necessary to succeed as a library employee are shifting too. In order to provide the best service, build strong collections, and enable discovery and access, we must provide our employees with opportunities to learn new skills. We will provide more opportunities for cross-training and more chances for professional development inside and outside of the University Libraries.

    In order to foster an atmosphere of mutual respect and trust, we will create a more open, transparent, and participatory environment, where all faculty and staff get a chance to take part in decision-making and where information is shared as broadly as possible.


    • Foster a culture of mutual respect, team engagement, and collaboration
    • Work to strengthen participation from all library staff and faculty in library decision making
    • Empower staff and faculty to effectively manage change and accept associated risks
    • Provide cross training, mentoring, and professional development opportunities so that staff and faculty gain knowledge and seek solutions
    • Implement an ongoing program of strategic budget and staffing choices, organizational flexibility, business continuity, and effective deployment of resources to ensure that the organizational structure best supports our mission, values and goals