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Library Strategic Plan: Planning Framework

A page to describe library planning initiatives.

Academic Libraries Environmental Scan

Understanding Academic Libraries

What does an academic library do?


A 2018 joint publication identified nine functional areas common to all academic libraries:  

  • Convene Campus Community: Provide spaces and facilitate programs for the community broadly or specific subpopulations to generate engagement, outreach, and inclusion.
  • Enable Academic Success: Support instruction, facilitate learning, improve information literacy, and/or maximize retention, progression, graduation, and later life success.
  • Facilitate Information Access: Enable discovery and usage of information resources of any format or ownership; provide for preservation of general collections.
  • Foster Scholarship and Creation: Deliver expertise, assistance, tools, and services that support research and creative work.
  • Include and Support Off-Campus Users: Provide equitable access for part-time students, distance and online learners, and other principally off-campus/non-campus/remote users.
  • Preserve and Promote Unique Collections: Ensure the long-term stewardship of rare materials and special collections, and maximize their usage.
  • Provide Study Space: Provide physical spaces for academic collaboration, quiet study, and technology-enhanced instruction and/or learning.
  • Showcase Scholarly Expertise: Promote research excellence and subject matter expertise of scholars and other affiliates; includes repository activities for open access preprint materials.
  • Transform Scholarly Publishing: Drive toward modernized formats, revamped business models, and reduced market concentration.
How do libraries add value? (excerpt, Academic Library Impact)


  • Support student/faculty recruitment, retention, and development
  • Promote student achievement and contribute to improving graduation rates
  • ​Collaborate with faculty for successful teaching and research
What are some library challenges?


  • Declining staff headcount; more work done by less trained and experienced staff
  • Flat materials budgets, as prices continue to rise
  • Aging facilities and infrastructure
  • Pressure to innovate and adopt new technologies while still supporting legacy formats
  • Lack of awareness/visibility among stakeholders
  • Changing service expectations

i. Undergraduates:  Mobile users expect personalized service, responsive design
ii. Graduates and Commuters:  Focus on hours and virtual/off-campus access
iii. Faculty:  Supporting innovative teaching and scholarship

Where are there library opportunities?


  • Amazing raw materials

i. Talented, creative, energetic people
ii. Prime “real estate”
iii. Extensive collections
iv. Technology

  • Values that promote trust

i. Privacy
ii. Freedom of expression
iii. Open and equal access

  • Combining on-site and online

Manhattanville College Documents

Manhattanville College Library Documents