T H E ESSEN T IAL LI BRARY The USC Libraries’ Strategic Plan 2011–2013
C O N TE N T S FOREWORD
VISION, MISSION, VALUES
DISCOVERABILITY 10 INTEGRATION WITH OUR COMMUNITY 16 THE INTELLECTUAL AND PHYSICAL ENVIRONMENT 22 APPENDIX 28
U S C LI B RARI ES UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA
F O R E WO RD
ILLUSTRATION Watercolor map of Hacienda Buenavista del Coxo, Opichán, and adjacent lands,1823, from the USC Libraries’ Boeckmann Center for Iberian and Latin American Studies
What is the essence of a great research library at the University of Southern California? The USC Libraries proposed an answer—a set of answers, in fact—when we published our previous strategic plan, The Essential Library 2008–2009. In that plan, we defined our essence in terms of our core functions: developing deep, relevant collections; providing efficient and comprehensive access tools; and delivering services that connect USC students, faculty, and staff with credible resources. We described what is vital to our success as that which is essential to support the academic achievements of our users. We used the university’s strategic directions as guiding principles in expressing our essential contributions to teaching, learning, and research at USC. With consideration for longevity and lasting relevance, we articulated our essence in foundational statements of vision, mission, and values. We have delivered many substantial improvements to our users over the past three years. Our collections have become more accessible, owing to our correction of 46,000 records and the resulting 99.75% accuracy of our catalog. We processed 47,000 linear feet of archival materials in East Library, where we also identified 167 new collections. Our users connect more easily with research resources through our redesigned website and a new
5 Quick Search that spans information silos and types of media. By undertaking an architectural feasibility study, we have taken a significant step toward realizing an archival-quality, automated storage and retrieval facility that will accommodate USC’s growing collections for years to come and benefit our entire campus community. When I introduced The Essential Library 2008–2009, I wrote that we would identify and address the practical impediments hindering our ability to meet our potential, that foundational improvements in collections, access, and service would make possible future innovations. The accomplishments I have just described—and our many other achievements since 2008—have addressed some of the most significant obstacles to our development. I am proud to say that the USC Libraries are now prepared to participate more strategically in USC’s continuing success. This plan describes our activities for the next three years and the steps we will take to build upon recent improvements. It carries forward our vision, mission, and values as we pursue a new set of more aspirational goals. The Essential Library 2011–2013 is a dynamic statement of purpose and direction that extends beyond this printed document through embedded QR codes and other links to digital materials that provide context and updates on our activities. I invited the entire USC Libraries’ faculty and staff to participate as a committee-of-the-whole in the development of this plan. Through a series of sessions over 10 months, we identified our ambitions and priorities. We engaged our community of users and supporters. USC faculty—whose research and practice illuminate the information-seeking mindset of our users—joined us to share their thoughts on what constitutes the ideal library for USC. Three overarching themes emerged as we pursued this broadly participatory process: discoverability of library resources, integration with our community, and the physical and intellectual environment of the libraries. Out of these themes, we have
6 developed strategic goals and identified the initial set of proposed activities that will help us achieve them. You will find those activities in the appendix on page 28. Although it is commonplace to note that rapid change is a persistent aspect of our environment, it is no less urgent a consideration. Our strategy must allow us to assimilate change and be agile in our implementation. I believe that The Essential Library 2011â€“2013 strikes the necessary balance between thoughtful focus and the freedom to seize unexpected opportunities. As we complete current activities and embrace opportunities to innovate, I hope you will follow our progress online and through our annual reports. Our goals are ambitious, and achieving them will effect significant, tangible advancements in our libraries that will support and encourage excellent research, teaching, and learning across the university. I invite the students, faculty, and staff of USC, as well as our community of partners and researchers from around the world, to read, think about, and participate in the activities of The Essential Library 2011â€“2013. I welcome your comments, your suggestions, and your support, as we work to realize this vision of the essential library at and for USC.
Catherine Quinlan Dean of the USC Libraries
COMMENTS AND QUESTIONS firstname.lastname@example.org (213) 821-2344 www.usc.edu/libraries/essential USC Libraries Office of the Dean University of Southern California Doheny Memorial Library, DML 100 Los Angeles, CA 90089-0182
VISION The USC Libraries will be an innovative, inspiring, and integral partner in the scholarly achievements of USC faculty, students, and staff. In so doing, we actively contribute to the development of knowledge and the advancement of society. We will build: a dynamic intellectual and physical environment that will attract and retain top-tier students, faculty, and staff and encourage the creativity necessary to support the global ambitions of USC; vital partnerships, through which we will develop interdisciplinary collections that support faculty teaching and research, student learning, and the cultivation of critical-thinking abilities; an agile, progressive culture of ubiquitous service that connects our users with relevant information; an appreciation of the value of past knowledge, in all its forms, and its role in informing the scholarship of the future.
MISSION The USC Libraries actively support the discovery, creation, and preservation of knowledge. We develop collections and services that support and encourage the academic endeavors of faculty, students, and staff; build a community of critical consumers of information; and help develop engaged world citizens. Through these means, we contribute to the continued success of the University of Southern California.
VA L U E S SERVICE EXCELLENCE We value reliability, responsiveness, and an active anticipation of usersâ€™ needs. Through the evaluation and thoughtful application of best practices, we improve services to enable the success of our users. INTEGRITY Through respect, professionalism, and accountability, we earn and maintain the trust of USC faculty, students, staff, and administration, as well as that of our colleagues within the USC Libraries. SCHOLARLY INQUIRY We encourage vigorous intellectual investigation and value the results. We support the process of discovery and foster professional development and curiosity. INNOVATION We define innovation by its capacity to solve problems and support useful new services and collections. We encourage informed risktaking and recognize the advantages of evolving technology, while respecting the collections and technologies of the past. EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION We communicate openly and directly so that faculty, students, and staff have the information they need to excel; so that our community can make the best possible use of library resources and services; and so that our contributions to USCâ€™s strategic goals are apparent to all. SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY We embrace our roles as guardians of and guides to the universe of knowledge. We advocate for academic freedom and diversity, and we bring our unique expertise to bear on relevant issues. LIBRARY AS PLACE We create welcoming environments that encourage individual study, collaboration, and the social aspects of learning. We inspire engagement with our collections, services, and spaces through public programming, exhibitions, and other methods of involving our community.
D I S C OV E RA B ILIT Y
ILLUSTRATION Le Monde à Vol d’Oiseau: Jeu de Societé Instructif, French board game published in 1895,
from the USC Libraries’ special collections
G OA L TO BECOME A MORE ACTIVE PARTNER IN DISCOVERY—AT USC AND BEYOND—THROUGH APPLYING THE EXPERTISE OF LIBRARY FACULTY AND STAFF AND BY INCREASING AWARENESS, ACCESSIBILITY, AND INFORMED USE OF OUR COLLECTIONS AND SERVICES
13 Discovery manifests in countless ways. It is a many-layered process that yields meaning through persistence and disciplined practice. Discovery emerges from serendipitous exploration of book stacks, a skillful search of an online database, events that create memorable experiences and reveal library collections from surprising points of view, and engagement with accomplished faculty. Many objectives achieved within the framework of The Essential Library 2008–2009 were foundational in nature—correcting HOMER catalog records, aligning digitization activities with collections policies, and restoring basic functions such as the Doheny Library reference desk. By reestablishing core systems and services—and by taking a format-agnostic approach that focuses on the value of content rather than the technology used to present it—we have improved the methods through which our community finds and uses information resources across all media. Several multi-year projects of The Essential Library 2008–2009— such as the Grand Avenue Library inventory—continue and will yield improved discoverability of collections as they proceed toward conclusion. With many of these foundational activities well underway, the USC Libraries are now prepared to take a leadership position in encouraging discovery. Our activities must adapt to—and where strategically important, influence—transformations in technology, the economies of publishing, and the expectations of library users. Research libraries support those who drive change as well as the participants in the evolution of teaching, research, and learning. Our collections must be as discoverable to a first-year student in global health as they are to a geneticist whose breakthroughs will inform innovations for decades to come.
14 In order to connect as meaningfully and thoroughly as possible with our users, we must do more than provide tools that make discovery possible. We must showcase the many aspects of our collections, services, and spaces that motivate as well as enable discovery: the stateliness of the Hoose Library of Philosophy; The Story of Everything digital exhibition, which reveals a direct path from our collections to artistic creation; and illuminated manuscripts that yield discoveries in art, history, and religious studies and exemplify the craft of making objects that survive to inspire generations.
View The Story of Everything and other digital exhibitions at: www.usc.edu/libraries/exhibitions
Playing cards from Le Monde Ă Vol dâ€™Oiseau, 1895: A St. Petersburg, Russia B Cape of Good Hope, South Africa C Egyptian pyramids and obelisks D Mammoth E Beijing, China
I N TE G R AT ION W I TH O U R C OMMU NIT Y
ILLUSTRATION Detail, map of China from the USC Libraries’ Sea of Korea Map Collection, 1794
G OA L TO BECOME MORE THOROUGHLY AND SYSTEMATICALLY INTEGRATED INTO THE RESEARCH PROGRAMS, TEACHING CURRICULA, AND LEARNING ACTIVITIES OF OUR USERS
19 As an active center of knowledge creation, preservation, and discovery, the USC Libraries must forge productive partnerships
with the individuals, groups, and organizations that shape the context in which we develop collections and deliver services. The attendant demands and opportunities inform all facets of library operations. Every essential act of integration with our community
improves our capacity to support the teaching, learning, and research mission—which is intensely local yet assertively global— of our university.
USC students, faculty, and staff form the primary constituency
of the USC Libraries. This determined, innovative community
embodies a significant diversity of study habits, media literacies, and research methods—all of which are influenced by effective engagement with library resources and expertise.
As we create new opportunities for meaningful integration, several
current collaborations will provide useful models. Our work with
the USC Writing Center and the Engineering Writing Program enriches the perspectives of students and instills confidence as
they pursue increasingly complex research. Through collaborations with campus centers and institutes, such as the Center for
Religion and Civic Culture, we preserve rare materials and present them to researchers at USC and beyond in innovative ways. As we produce more programming in conjunction with Visions and
Voices, we contribute context to events and promote active use of authoritative, scholarly resources.
The potential impact of USC’s research, scholarship, and creativity
is boundless, and the libraries must participate fully in collaborative activities that bring the world to USC and extend USC’s influence
20 throughout the world. Building upon our relationships with organizations such as the Pacific Rim Digital Library Alliance and
the group of Asian universities participating in the Outstanding Academic Papers by Students program, our libraries will actively pursue partnerships in regions of strategic importance to USC. As
we assume a more visible global profile, we must continue to apply resources selectively and thoughtfully, pursuing collaborations where partner institutions can complement and enhance our expertise and resources, while building our capacity to realize opportunities uniquely suited to USCâ€™s strengths.
Images from the USC Digital Library: A View of Victoria Harbor, Hong Kong, 1937 B Ice fishing on the Han River, Seoul, Korea, ca. 1920-1940 C Hindu festival, India, 1924 D Great Wall of China at Shanhaiguan, ca.1920-1937 E Oil derrick in Beverly Hills, California, 1940
TH E I N TE LLECT UA L A N D P H YS ICA L ENVIRONMENT
ILLUSTRATION Grand Temple on the island of Philae, Description de l’Égypte, vol. 1, 1809, from the USC Libraries’ special collections
G OA L TO CULTIVATE A PHYSICAL AND INTELLECTUAL ENVIRONMENT THAT ENCOURAGES EXPLORATION, ENABLES DISCOVERY, AND SUPPORTS ENGAGEMENT WITH AND AMONGST MEMBERS OF OUR COMMUNITY
A vibrant library environment emerges from the unity of form and function, from the connections between library spaces
and the intellectual activities they inspire and encourage. These connections shape our communityâ€™s research, teaching, and
learning experiences and contribute significantly to the intellectual and physical character of the entire university.
Library space encompasses a variety of environments: technology-
enabled, collaborative work rooms and spaces for quiet study; book stacks, reading rooms, and stations for studying music, film, and
multimedia; work areas for faculty and staff; and social spaces where members of our community experience transformative
interactions with diverse people and ideas they otherwise would
not encounter. Our spaces also include virtual library destinations where our users discover digital collections, find help searching authoritative sources in their fields, and access library materials from anywhere in the world their studies and research take them.
Such a list can provide only a snapshot, as library spaceâ€”and our thinking about its role in the scholarly life of USCâ€”must
adapt to meet the needs, expectations, and locations of our users. An undergraduate studying in the Eileen and Kenneth T. Norris
Medical Library experiences the library much differently than a distance learner in Orange County, whose experience is distinct
from that of a graduate student conducting research online from rural India. The library thrives in the physical heart of campus as much as it does in the hands of a student reading an electronic book on her mobile phone.
Even as the nature of library space changes over time and with
the shifting perspectives of our users, the foundational qualities of
26 the experience we seek to provide remain constant. When USC
students, faculty, and staff enter the physical or virtual space of our libraries, they must feel comfortable, secure, and confident in our capacity to support their research. We must instill a sense of
excitement at the prospect of discovery and inspire them to explore the breadth and depth of resources that the libraries provide.
When we are successful, our users find the means to consider their
discoveries critically and from multiple points of view. They find the tools to mine the knowledge of the past in order to deepen their perspectives on the present. They find encouragement to
create new knowledge through interpretation and reinterpretation, through revising old assumptions and remixing data to arrive at new insights. The physical and intellectual aspects of the library
converge in a dynamic environment of ideas, and we enrich our usersâ€™ perceptions of what they can accomplish through active engagement with our libraries.
Images from the USC Libraries’ special collections: A Etching of a ruin by Giovanni Battista Piranesi, 18th century B Colossi of Memnon, from Napoleon’s Description de l’Égypte,1809 C Illustrationes algarum in itinere circa orbem jussu Imperatoriis Nicolai I, illustrations by Aleksandr Postels, 1840 D Photograph of Union Station, Dick Whittington Collection, 1940s
ILLUSTRATION Detail from Odyssey, by Victor Raphael and Clayton Spada, exhibited in From Zero to Infinity: The Story of Everything, 2009
S U P P O R T I N G AC T I V I T I E S DISCOVERABILITY 1 Increase our capacity to deliver, evaluate, and improve reference services. 2 Define
the role of and implement appropriate technology in our publicuse and learning spaces.
mobile and other innovative web technologies and apply them to appropriate library services and resources.
our digital collections and multimedia resources to provide greater access and more thorough integration with teaching and research. 5 Further develop digital exhibitions based on our collections to support public programming and advancement. 6 Evaluate
and improve overall collection management, emphasizing availability and accessibility of materials.
7 Increase promotion of our collections, spaces, and services to students,
scholars, and researchers.
31 INTEGRATION WITH OUR COMMUNITY 1 Secure
increased funding for library faculty, staff, and collections that support USC teaching and research priorities.
an information-literacy program, such as a semester-long course, certificate program, or re-establishment of USC’s master’s degree in library science.
3 Improve workflow for managing the review and processing of gifts. 4 Develop
a library research and grant-seeking agenda.
outreach to new USC faculty, students, and staff, with an emphasis on new members of the USC community before they arrive at the university.
new academic and cultural programs—that communicate the essential qualities of library collections, services, and personnel—in partnership with groups on campus and other relevant partner organizations.
development of research programs between the USC Libraries and USC faculty and departments.
document-delivery services and determine necessary levels of support, including staffing and office space.
THE INTELLECTUAL AND PHYSICAL ENVIRONMENT 1 Determine
the level of resources necessary to support digitization, technical services, and special collections activities.
2 Identify and review selected library facilities and develop proposals for
improving the use of space to serve our community more effectively. 3 Evaluate and increaseâ€”where appropriateâ€”responsibility for training,
hiring, and budgeting at the unit level. 4 Improve 5 Improve
customer-service training for student workers.
internal communication in the USC Libraries and encourage interdepartmental knowledge exchange.