Over the past six weeks, the leadership team of the HS/HSL has journeyed out on our Strategic Listening Tour to prepare for the development of our new strategic plan. We are about halfway through meeting with university leadership. Next, we will be approaching important constituent groups and others who have been recommended to us during our conversations. The discussions have been wide-ranging, and we have learned so much already.
Words are powerful. The words we are using to define the Library are expertise, resources, and place. In these three words, we believe we have captured the essence of what the Library means.
Expertise – The faculty librarians and the rest of the library team bring expertise in the organization and dissemination of knowledge. Our traditional skills and abilities are translational in nature and have transformed to meet new needs. Institutional review boards, metadata, information integrity, creation and curation of digital and data-driven collections, systematic reviews, impact analysis, knowledge informatics, health literacy, and community engagement. These are just a few of the terms and phrases we use to describe our expertise.
Resources – We provide a seamless information infrastructure for access to the knowledge resources of the world. Our networks across libraries can provide almost instantaneous access. If we don’t have it, we will get it. And we will make our resources findable and usable.
Place – We cannot deny that we have bricks, mortar, shelves, and four walls in a beautiful package. When the library opened 16 years ago, it was seen as a building that made a statement about UMB’s aspirations. The concept of library has for centuries had meaning in so many cultures. At UMB, the library is a haven for dreamers, thinkers, and doers; it is a collaborative place, a cultural place, a teaching and learning place, a neutral place, and increasingly a place to try new and emerging technologies that support and advance our university mission and goals.
We think these three words capture us cleanly and elegantly. As we go forward in the development of our strategic plan, I will be sharing more of what we are learning as we listen.