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ARL’s New Action Plan

Over the last seven months, ARL has intentionally and strategically crafted an Action Plan that will guide us in supporting our members over the next two years. Above all, this plan will assist the Association in supporting research libraries toward meeting the current, future, and fluctuating needs of the research and learning community. In spite of uncertainties and a different future, we know research library leaders are dedicated to advancing and exploring new pathways. ARL is here to help.

COVID-19 presents both challenges and opportunities. We also recognize and prioritize the necessity of increasing diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility. ARL will support research library leaders as they address deep systemic and structural changes. In the course of our work, research libraries and archives are focused on sustained and strategic investments that build infrastructures. ARL can help you emphasize that the expertise and services of research libraries and archives directly benefit researchers, faculty, students, and others.

We also demonstrate with data and evidence that research libraries and archives are positively impacting the research and learning ecosystem as well as being policy and practice partners. Through the five objectives outlined in ARL’s new Action Plan, we will further and strengthen the work and understanding of research libraries and implement impactful change in the research enterprise and overall society.

These five objectives build on ARL’s existing strengths.

We will:

  1. Advocate and advance law and policy for balanced copyright
  2. Enhance partnerships toward open science
  3. Advance sustainable and systemic change particularly as it relates to racism and social justice
  4. Implement a research agenda addressing impact and outcomes
  5. Implement a strategy for leadership and organizational development for library deans, directors, and staff in our member libraries and beyond

In addition to these five objectives, there are two underpinning core commitments in the Action Plan: ARL will be welcoming in all activities and services and we will collectively develop a set of plausible futures for research libraries and archives.

Take a look at the Action Plan to learn more and watch for Mary Lee Kennedy’s upcoming blog post for more details.

It is my privilege to serve as president of the Association of Research Libraries from October 2020 to October 2021. We welcome continued feedback and engagement from our members and partners.

John Culshaw is ARL president 2020–2021 and Jack B. King University Librarian at The University of Iowa.

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