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Our Priorities

As our Association looks towards the plausible futures of research libraries and archives under uncertain conditions, we do so in an unprecedented context that requires all of us to be even more intentional about accelerating opportunities, and leaving behind policies and practices that no longer serve our vision and mission well.

This Association is bound by our collective commitment to advancing scholarship, by focusing on what we are best positioned to achieve at the intersection of public policy, institutional policy and practice, and the changes in research, teaching, and learning. In 2021–2022, we recognize the significant leadership challenges of a chaotic time and embrace the historic opportunities given the following phenomena:

  • A pandemic that we believe will affect individuals and institutions through 2021 and have significant consequences for the following years
  • Economic upheaval that will continue to shape the nature of our society, higher education, and research libraries and archives
  • A heightened awareness of too long-existing systemic societal inequities and a renewed commitment to enduring social justice, particularly as it relates to racism and systems of oppression in our institutions and in ARL

Under these conditions research libraries and archives and this Association are even more attentive to the broader research and learning enterprise, and particularly to the dominant digital context.

2021–2022 Priorities

With the pandemic, the changing nature of research and society, and our universal commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion in all we do, the ARL Board of Directors agreed to five priorities that have served as our overarching goals since 2019. Our priorities are:

  • Advocate for public policies in support of our mission and shared objectives
  • Catalyze collective efforts to achieve enduring and barrier-free access to information
  • Create diverse, equitable, inclusive, and accessible work environments, services, and collections
  • Provide data and analytics on research libraries’ practices, effectiveness, and impact
  • Shape and inform leadership practice throughout research libraries and archives

The Association actively engages in collaboration with and in support of our partners, in Canada, the United States, and internationally, who share our mission. Our partners represent key stakeholders in higher education, in the US federal government, in cultural heritage organizations, as well as in the full breadth of scholarship. These partnerships are paramount in achieving our shared aspirations.

Action Plan 2021–2022

The ARL Action Plan 2021–2022, approved by the Board of Directors on September 14, 2020, describes the Association’s priorities and objectives for the next two years, the actions that will be taken to meet those objectives, and the outcomes members can expect by 2022.