Slides from the October 2005 Future of Government Documents symposium in Seattle, Washington.
Shortly before the May 2014 ARL Membership Meeting in Columbus, Ohio, ARL interviewed three members of the Strategic Thinking and Design Working Group, reflecting on the strategic process and how it will help ARL and research libraries build their desired future.
A couple of months into the strategic thinking and design process, ARL interviewed three participants in the process to capture their thoughts on the significance of the process itself and on the potential outcomes.
image © University of TorontoOn a brisk November day, the University of Toronto hosted a regional meeting for the ARL strategic thinking and design process in the Robarts Library Blackburn Room. Constructed in honor of Robert Blackburn, chief librarian from 1954 through 1981, the room opened in the fall of 2012 as a state-of-the-art meeting and presentation room. It provided a setting for a lively conversation among the nearly 30 participants about the potential futures for research libraries.
image © nathanmARL’s strategic thinking and design process kicked off with an invigorating regional design meeting, led by consultant Ann Pendleton-Jullian and hosted by the University of Minnesota on October 1. Meeting participants included almost 30 thought leaders from ARL member libraries, the broader library community, and higher education. The meeting was convened by three of the four co-chairs of the strategic design coordinating committee: Tom Hickerson (Calgary), Wendy Lougee (Minnesota), and Elliott Shore (ARL). Susan Nutter (North Carolina State), the fourth co-chair, was unable to attend but she did participate in the first design studio in Washington, DC, on October 29. Tom Hickerson opened the Minneapolis meeting, noting that this is an “exciting opportunity to engage in a creative process” that should impact the entire library profession.
Sarah Thomas and Judith Nadler, image © American Library AssociationOn May 22, 2014, Sarah Thomas, vice president for the Harvard Library and Roy E. Larsen librarian for the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at Harvard, presented the inaugural Judith Nadler Vision Lecture at the University of Chicago’s Joseph Regenstein Library. Thomas’s lecture, “Future-Proofing the Research Library,” explored the ways in which research libraries are adapting to change. As part of her presentation, she provided an overview of ARL's strategic thinking and design work.
photo by Lee Anne GeorgeOn the day after the 2014 Boston Marathon, 33 participants gathered at Lamont Library on the Harvard University campus for the 10th regional meeting in ARL’s strategic thinking and design process. Sarah Thomas, vice president for the Harvard Library and the Roy E. Larsen librarian of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, hosted the meeting that included librarians, faculty, and a graduate student from colleges and universities across New England, the Boston Public Library, and ARL.
image © GWUCrossing the recently transformed, second-floor foyer of the George Washington University (GWU) Gelman Library—now a state-of-the-art, student-oriented space—prepared us for an engaging ARL strategic thinking and design experience on December 4. Geneva Henry, vice provost for libraries and university librarian at GWU, welcomed us to the library and set the tone for an invigorating day. More than 40 participants enthusiastically took part in the discussions, being invited to imagine and articulate elements of the research library in 2033 by ARL’s strategic design consultant, Ann Pendleton-Jullian. The group was diverse and uniquely Washingtonian in character. Participants represented federal library and archival agencies—such as the Smithsonian Libraries, National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), and National Institutes of Health (NIH)—as well as the DC Public Library, Montgomery College Libraries, and the libraries of such universities as GWU, Georgetown, Johns Hopkins, University of Maryland, and University of Virginia. A few ARL staff members also participated in the discussions.
image © University of IllinoisThirty-three people gathered in the University of Illinois at Chicago Student Center on October 22 to participate in a regional design meeting of the ARL strategic thinking and design process. “The future of the research library is intertwined with the future of higher education and the preservation of cultural memory broadly. It therefore made sense to the ARL Board of Directors to design the future of our association with broad community participation,” said ARL Executive Director Elliott Shore. “We are grateful to the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) for its generous support of these meetings.”
Last year, ARL’s New Role for New Times report, Transforming Liaison Roles in Research Libraries (PDF), by Janice M. Jaguszewski and Karen Williams, identified six trends in the organization and practices of leading research libraries and the changing work of liaison librarians. One of those trends is the effort by research libraries to “create and sustain a flexible workforce.” Building a flexible workforce includes a variety of methods to “transform” a library’s workforce, including hiring new staff with new expertise, as well as committing to develop a more agile “legacy workforce.” (p. 14)