Strategic Plan 2014-2019


The University Libraries inspire intellectual discovery and learning through robust information resources and academic collaborations in teaching and research that connect the Penn State community and citizens of Pennsylvania to the world of knowledge and new ideas.


We will be a world-class research library with a global reach, providing a welcoming and inclusive environment for learning, collaboration, and knowledge creation. As partners in research and education, and leaders in delivery and preservation of library collections, we will leverage technology and reward innovation to ensure the University Libraries will be a destination of choice.

Foundational Values

As the Libraries implement this strategic plan, we commit to the Foundational Values below, which describe how we conduct ourselves and how we want to be treated by others. These values serve as a "lens" through which we, with our users, set priorities and make resource allocations.

Equity of Access: The University Libraries promote the freedom, discovery, openness, and sustained affordability of information.

In our commitment to ensuring equitable access to our resources for all of our users, we will create accessible web pages, research guides, learning objects and other materials. We will select print and electronic materials that are in accessible formats, and we will advocate for accessible databases. We will facilitate and promote open access to our unique resources.

Diversity and Inclusion: The University Libraries are committed to diversity in all of its forms, embracing differences with acceptance and respect.

We will create an environment of respect and inclusion for faculty, staff, students, and members of the Commonwealth. We will provide collections and programs that reflect the diversity of our community and raise cultural awareness. We will ensure equitable access to our facilities, resources and services, and we will improve our workforce by attracting and developing talented faculty and staff from diverse backgrounds.

Ethics and Integrity: The University Libraries operate on a strong foundation of ethical principles and professional integrity.

In our service to the academic community, the citizens of the Commonwealth, and to the students and scholars the world over, we will foster free and open inquiry, provide equity of access, respect intellectual property rights, and protect the privacy of our users. We embrace our role in the stewardship of information for present and future generations, and endeavor to uphold the rights and responsibilities as members of the library profession to ensure that ethics and integrity are at the forefront of our mission to select, organize, preserve, and disseminate knowledge.

Sustainability: The University Libraries support the simultaneous pursuit of human health, happiness, environmental quality, and economic well being for current and future generations.

The University Libraries will advance sustainability through our professional expertise and services. Our provision and preservation of information, support for learning, and our research will further the simultaneous pursuit of human health, happiness, environmental quality, and economic well being for current and future generations. With resources that span the Commonwealth, the Libraries will provide a model for sustainable stewardship of the scholarly record that promotes literacy, solutions, and leadership for our internal and external communities.

Empathy: The University Libraries have a service orientation that seeks to understand and meet the needs of others.

In our role as service-oriented information professionals, we value an understanding of the unique characteristics of all people and strive for insight into what others are thinking and feeling as we work with them. This helps us understand how users react to our services and enables us to have more thoughtful and respectful interactions.


Programmatic Areas

Discovery, Access, and Preservation

The University Libraries collect, organize, and ensure long-term, durable access to information in all its forms. Over the past five years we have improved our discovery tools and the accessibility of our collections. Research shows that users highly value the Libraries' role as a collector and buying agent and we will continue to develop robust collections to meet teaching, research, and learning needs. However, many no longer begin their research at the Libraries, either in person or online.  As discovery shifts away from Libraries, we must still ensure that our original and licensed collections can be found anywhere, anytime, on any device, and from any starting point. We also recognize that while discovery may happen elsewhere, preservation must begin at home, and the Libraries have taken proactive steps to address preservation, both physical and digital. Ensuring discovery, access, and preservation for users around the world will necessitate shifts in how we define and approach collections and long-term preservation.

Goal 1: The Libraries will enhance the findability of our collections and other information sources, simplifying access to these materials so that they may be used in any learning and research environment.

Supporting Strategies

  • Describe and digitize all distinctive and unique collections, with particular emphasis on at-risk formats like audio and video, and holdings in Special Collections and the Maps Library.
  • Improve the user experience on all devices and platforms, with special attention to accessibility for users with disabilities.

Goal 2: The Libraries will appropriately steward its collections and other information resources for the benefit of future generations of researchers.

Supporting Strategies

  • Develop and implement a program for the long-term preservation and curation of digital information managed by Penn State University Libraries.
  • Coordinate collection development, preservation, and management at local, regional, national, and international scales to provide adequate facilities and programs that support an increasingly decentralized collection.

Teaching and Learning

The University Libraries provide leadership in the promotion of critical thinking, supporting curricular and lifelong learning at all academic levels. We teach students, faculty, staff, and community members how to discover, evaluate, engage, organize and create information. We deliver integrated, innovative instruction in resident and online classes, via online learning objects, and through one-on-one interactions. We promote and support flexible modes of learning, responding to shifts toward active learning in higher education and anticipating rapid growth of Penn State’s online education program.

Goal 1: The Libraries will expand our role as a partner in online and resident education, increasing our capacity to develop and support engaged, critical, and informed learners through multiple forms of instruction.

Supporting Strategies

  • Strengthen partnerships with teaching faculty, instructional designers and others to integrate library instruction and related critical thinking competencies into the curriculum.
  • Collaborate across library units for efficient, effective delivery of online library instruction.
  • Support excellence in teaching through professional development for library instructors that enhances our skills and contributions as teachers.

Goal 2: The Libraries will develop active and immersive learning environments that support and facilitate learning in all disciplines.

Supporting Strategies

  • Explore emerging educational technologies that can be leveraged to enhance learning in all environments.
  • Partner with academic departments to develop physical and virtual spaces that correspond with learning related to curricular and research needs.

Advancing University Research

Libraries are evolving from print-based repositories to new structures with physical and digital collections as well as physical and virtual presences. As researchers and partners in creating new knowledge to be shared with the world, we provide strong academic research collections in both traditional and digital formats, and help our patrons access shared collections internationally. The world of scholarly communication is changing and the products of research are becoming more diverse, thus we will invest in new collaborations that strengthen our ability to acquire and manage critical research materials needed by our community of scholars.

Goal 1: The Libraries will provide scholarly collections and services needed for cross-disciplinary research by undergraduate, graduate and faculty researchers.

Supporting Strategies

  • Create a “communities of practice” research services model that crosses organizational boundaries and provides deeper support for interdisciplinary research and emerging researcher needs.
  • Heighten awareness of university priorities and strategic directions, including expansion of services for STEM fields by developing a multi-campus service approach.
  • Enable undergraduates, graduates, and faculty to publish in a variety of forms appropriate for their work, through collaborations with the Penn State Press and academic programs.

Goal 2: The Libraries will maximize the array of research materials available to the Penn State community by broadening the concept of what constitutes “collecting” and by promoting new forms of scholarly communication.

Supporting Strategies:

  • Foster the use of digital repositories where researchers may search for the products of scholarship as well as contribute their own research outputs.
  • Work toward coordination of collection strengths with peer institutions in the interest of a sustainable set of information resources for the nation.
  • Develop shared technology infrastructure with peer institutions that supports research dissemination and re-use nationally and internationally.

Appendix I: Learning Outcomes Assessment

The overarching mission of the University Libraries is “to inspire intellectual discovery and learning”.  In fulfilling this mission the Libraries have developed an extensive variety of programs and services offered throughout the Commonwealth.  One of the strategic goals of the University Libraries is to:

“Expand our role as a partner in online and resident education, increasing our capacity to develop and support engaged, critical, and informed learners through multiple forms of instruction.”

The University Libraries primary means of developing and supporting “engaged, critical, and informed learners” is through development of information literacy, which is defined by the Association of College and Research Libraries as:

“A repertoire of abilities, practices, and dispositions focused on expanding one’s understanding of the information ecosystem, with the proficiencies of finding, using, and analyzing information, scholarship, and data to answer questions, develop new ones, and create new knowledge, through ethical participation in communities of learning and scholarship.” (1)

Librarians have employed many different approaches to development of information literacy.  As an example, Librarians at University Park and Commonwealth Campus locations meet with English 015 and most of the other first year classes to deliver instruction related to that course. In all cases the students have some sort of library-related assignment (either developed by the librarian or the specific instructor or as a partnership between a librarian and instructor).  Librarians have made a variety of online tutorials, digital learning objects, course guides, research guides, and other materials to assist students in learning how to find and evaluate information, as well as cite sources properly.  Librarians also meet with graduate, upper level and capstone courses across the Commonwealth and are continually building innovative practices into their library instruction portfolios.

Assessing our success in contributing to “intellectual discovery and learning” is vital and the Libraries are part of Penn State University’s initiatives to improve student learning.  Currently, assessment of instruction sessions is carried out in many different ways.  For example: pre-tests and post-tests of database searching skills, feedback from instructors when students turn in assignments, involving librarians in grading student assignments or annotated bibliographies, administering questionnaires soliciting feedback from students on efficacy of library instruction sessions, etc.  In addition peer assessments of instruction for all library faculty engaged in course-related instruction are mandatory (and for the most part viewed as a developmental opportunity).

Although the Libraries are not an academic college and do not provide credit instruction to the extent of a college, as active partners in instruction we are planning to create more uniform assessment measures.  This will go hand in hand with our objective of collaborating across library units to 1) share expertise across library units, 2) provide more library instruction for online education, and 3) create digital learning material.


Appendix II: Strategic Performance Indicators

The University Libraries are proud to be ranked amongst the best libraries worldwide and certainly within the current top ten libraries in North America. (2) The University Libraries routinely collect data and report out on a variety of statistical measures, much of which is used by external organizations to cumulatively rank libraries.  The University Libraries also collect data for internal purposes, and going forward we intend to ensure that there is a good match between stated strategic goals and measures used to assess progress toward achieving our goals.  The following is by no means an exhaustive list of the indicators we (and others) use to measure our performance, but it gives a sense of the data we collect and our Strategic Plan will be the guide for developing additional metrics.  Although the indicators have been grouped to roughly correspond to the programmatic areas of our 2014-2019 Strategic Plan, they clearly can serve multiple purposes.

A. Discovery, Access, and Preservation

  • Number of reference transactions in person, or via email, phone, chat, etc. Data is collected by time of day, day of week, location, etc.
  • Number of times library materials are circulated (books, serials, maps, DVDs, etc.). Data is collected by patron type, location, date, etc.
  • Use of reserve materials (print and online) by item type and location as well as total numbers of reserve items (print and online)
  • Number of successful full-text article downloaded from Libraries e-journal subscriptions
  • Number of regular searches of the CAT, different databases, etc.
  • Total number of filled ILL requests provided to other libraries
  • Total number of filled ILL Penn State patron requests received from other libraries or providers
  • Expenditures related to consortia memberships
  • Expenditures for bibliographic utilities (for example OCLC shared cataloging)
  • Software/service expenditures for integrated library services (catalog, circulation, reserves, etc.)
  • Expenditures related to IT (workstations for patron use, laptops, iPads, etc.)
  • Use of library buildings (gate counts at all locations, use of group study rooms, etc.)
  • Number of weekly public service hours in total and by location
  • Use of library workstations (by location, time of day, etc.)
  • Various measures related to cataloging of library resources (numbers of items cataloged, quality of records added, enhanced, etc.)
  • Measures related to digitization of library collections (both in-house and outsourced) such as types of items, collections, quantity, etc.
  • Measures related to usability studies of web content created by the University Libraries (defining successful searches, user persistence, etc.)
  • Measures of compliance with web content accessibility guidelines
  • Data on preservation/conservation efforts: including types of materials, methods employed, cost effectiveness of approaches, etc.

B. Teaching and Learning

  • Number of course-related library presentations to classes
  • Number of total participants in course-related library presentations
  • Types of presentations offered, including diversity-related or presentations sponsored with other Penn State colleges
  • Numbers of digital learning objects created and usage data
  • Assessment of effectiveness of library instruction from student, librarian, and teaching faculty perspectives
  • Credit bearing courses taught by librarians, number of students, etc.
  • Measures related to professional development activities of Libraries faculty and staff (types of programs, numbers of programs, etc.)
  • Measures related to learning spaces within libraries (numbers of seats, tables, group study rooms, lounge areas, classrooms, etc.)
  • Measures related to space repurposing such as current assignable space, space needs, usage of space after repurposing, change in space allocated for collections, change in space devoted to library staff, etc.

C. Advancing University Research

  • Statistics related to library collections (number of titles, volumes held, e-books owned or leased, numbers of databases, journal subscriptions, etc.)
  • Measures related to acquisition of library materials (numbers of titles purchased, ongoing purchases of resources such as print or online journals, one-time purchases of special collections, etc.)
  • Measures related to library expenditures on personnel: faculty, staff, fixed-terms appointments, wage payroll, work-study, internships, etc.
  • Measures related to library expenditures by library location, discipline, language, format
  • Numbers of research guides created, usage of online research guides, online course guides, etc.
  • Identification of funding gaps for collections in areas such as STEM and progress toward sustainable funding models
  • Use of ScholarSphere (data on content deposited, use of content, demographics of depositors and users, etc.)

Appendix III: Diversity Planning

Progress, Measures, Best Practices

In the University Libraries Strategic Plan for 2014-2019, Diversity is described as one of five Foundational Values:

Diversity and Inclusion: The University Libraries are committed to diversity in all of its forms, embracing differences with acceptance and respect.

We will create an environment of respect and inclusion for faculty, staff, students, and members of the Commonwealth. We will provide collections and programs that reflect the diversity of our community and raise cultural awareness. We will ensure equitable access to our facilities, resources and services, and we will improve our workforce by attracting and developing talented faculty and staff from diverse backgrounds.

As part of the work of charting a course for the future, a working group made recommendations for revising the Libraries diversity statement, and also prepared a response to the questions posed by Interim Provost Pangborn in June 2013.  Their report is included in this appendix.

To:      Strategic Plan Steering Committee
From:   Amber Hatch, Lindsey Harter, Dawn Amsberry
Date:   February 28, 2014
Re:      Strategic Planning Working Group on Diversity Report

I. Directions from the Provost

The instructions from the Provost Office asked that we review the seven diversity Challenges presented in the Framework to Foster Diversity at Penn State 2010-2015 and report on our progress towards the Challenges, our goals for the next 5-10 years, what metrics and strategic indicators we can use to measure our progress, and what our signature initiatives or best practices are in these areas. A review of each of these questions is included at the end of this appendix, but below is an overview of our findings and recommendations.

A. Progress towards Challenges since 2010

As a working group we reviewed each Challenge and put together a list of our accomplishments in each Challenge. We recommend reaching out to library department heads and campus head librarians, Adaptive Technology Services, World Campus, and other appropriate groups and individuals in the Libraries to identify additional areas of progress.

B. Goals and initiatives for next 5-10 years

Based on discussion in our working group as well as feedback from the strategic planning survey and forum, the following are areas in diversity that should receive close attention in the upcoming strategic planning cycle:

  • Fostering a climate of civility and respect, particularly focused on rankism and creating an increased understanding of civility and need for respect across all campuses
  • Recruiting talented diverse faculty and staff with a particular emphasis on providing mentoring and support to diverse staff and student workers who are interested in pursuing library careers
  • Increasing our collaboration with other academic units and student groups on diversity/civility efforts
  • Building and highlighting our diverse collections and increasing the discoverability of these collections
  • Serving the growing international student and non-traditional student populations starting with survey and focus groups to help determine their needs
  • Increasing attention to people with disabilities, physical accessibility, and facilities for employees and patrons with children

C. Measures of success and strategic indicators

With the assistance of the Libraries Data Analyst and feedback from the strategic planning survey and forum, we recommend the following metric and strategic indicators for diversity. We also recommend that, due to the nature of many diversity initiatives, a combination of qualitative and quantitative indicators should be employed.

  • Climate surveys
  • Brief surveys following diversity programming 
  • Collection counts (call number ranges, languages, etc.)
  • Diversity publications at the Penn State Press
  • Number of visits to diversity-related research guides (Google Analytics)
  • Numbers of diversity-related programs, training, exhibits, etc.
  • Use of diversity social media (number of likes, posts, views, etc.)

D. Signature initiatives or best practices

From discussion in our working group and feedback from the strategic planning survey and forum, the following areas stand out as our best practices in diversity:

  • Diversity related collections and research guides
  • Outreach programs to special populations (such as Upward Bound, International New Student Orientation, etc.)
  • Diversity Residents
  • Diversity presentations, programs, and film screenings
  • Civility statement and initiatives
  • Diversity Committee
  • Web site accessibility
  • Research and publications on diversity-related topics

The principles of diversity and inclusion provide a foundation for all of our programmatic initiatives throughout the Libraries. Our teaching supports a diverse curriculum and accommodates students from a wide variety of cultures, backgrounds, and learning styles. Our efforts in improving discovery, access and preservation ensure that our collections and resources are equally available to everyone in our community. Our engagement with conducting, and supporting research on a range of topics helps promote scholarly dialogue on diverse issues. As the principles of respect, inclusion, and diversity influence everything we do as a library, they will enrich the contributions we make to the University and the community.

II. Responses to the seven Challenges presented in the Framework to Foster Diversity

A. Challenge 1: Developing a Shared and Inclusive Understanding of Diversity

Goal: Encourage Dialog on the Meaning of Diversity

  • Co-sponsor programming with other units
    • World in Conversations Discussion Series - co-sponsored with ITS Climate and Diversity
    • Straight Talks - co-sponsored with LBGTA Resource Center
    • Civility Subcommittee met with Digital Library Technologies (DLT) to discuss how to develop civility initiative in ITS
    • Civility Subcommittee met with members of the Diversity Committee in the department of Arts and Humanities to help them start a civility initiative
    • The Arts and Humanities library co-sponsored a lecture series, “Embodying the Avant-garde: Corporeal Visions in Spain and Italy,” with the department of Spanish, Italian and Portuguese. Topics included gender and race issues in art and feminist perspectives in Spanish literature.
    • Library involvement with Interinstitutional Consortium for Indigenous Knowledge
  • Programming that promotes diversity dialog
    • Straight Talks Panel
    • Incivility in Pop Culture
    • Department Visits by Civility Subcommittee
    • Film Screening for Women's History Month: “Who Does She Think She Is?”
    • World In Conversations Discussion Series
    • Diversity Colloquium
    • Diversity Pot-Luck
    • Dean's Diversity Forum
    • Serving Deaf Patrons in the Library Webinar
    • Bullying in the Workplace
    • Speed Networking
    • Speak-Up for Civility
    • Religion and Cultures Series:
      • Amish Diversity in the Big Valley
      • Latter-day Saint Students at Penn State
      • Muslim Student Panel Discussion
      • What is Hinduism: Principles, Traditions, and Practices
    • Speak Up
    • Non-Verbal Communication: Speaking Volumes Without Saying a Word
    • Business Etiquette
  • Diversity-related publications by Libraries faculty and staff:
    • Dawn Amsberry. "Engaging International Students with the Academic Library." Student Engagement and the Academic Library. Ed. Loanne Snavely. Santa Barbara, CA: Libraries Unlimited, 2012.
    • Matthew P. Ciszek. "Diversifying Diversity: Library Services for Underrepresented Groups." College & Research Library News 73.9 (2012): 547-549. Academic Library. Ed. Loanne Snavely. Santa Barbara, CA: Libraries Unlimited, 2012.
    • Jeff Knapp, Loanne L. Snavely, and Linda Klimczyk: “Speaking Up: Empowering Individual to Promote Tolerance in the Academic Library.” Library Leadership & Management. 26:1 (2012)
    • Matthew Ciszek: "Diversifying Diversity" in the October 2012 issue of College and Libraries Research News
    • Bonnie Osif: "Incivility." Library Leadership & Management v.24:3 (2012) p. 91-97 
    • Glenn Masuchika: "Building by Benchmarking: A Method of Creating and Evaluating an Asian American Studies Collection." Library Collections, Acquisitions, and Technical Services v.36:1-2 (2012), p. 1-7.
    • Matthew Ciszek: “Out of the Web: The Relationships between Campus Climate and the GLBR-related Web-based Resources in Academic Libraries.” Journal of Academic Leadership 37.5 (2011) 430-436.
    • Glenn Masuchika: "Yellowface in Movies: A Survey of American Academic Libraries."  Collection Building (in press).
    • Matthew Ciszek and Courtney L. Young:  “Diversity Collection Assessment in Large Academic Libraries.” Collection Building 29.4 (2010): 154-161
    • Matthew Ciszek and Kimberli Morris: chapters in Out Behind the Desk: Workplace Iddues ofr LGBTQ Libraries (2011)
    • Glenn Masuchika:"Zen Garden and No Zen Garden : A Bibliographic Essay." Theological Librarianship : An Online Journal of the American Theological Library Association v.5:1 (2012), p. 67-70.
    • Alexia Hudson: "Measuring the Impact of Cultural Diversity on Desired Mobile Reference Services." Reference Services Review: RSR 38.2 (2010): 299 – 308.
    • Doris Malkmus: [Review of the book Thought Knows No Sex, by Susan Strong]. History of Education Quarterly 50.3 (2010): 417-419.
    • Paula Smith: Book Chapter. "Beyond Recruitment: Moving Towards Inclusive Work Environments." In Dr. Paul Hrycaj and Kelly Blessinger (Eds.), Workplace Culture in Academic Libraries: The Early 21st Century Cambridge: Chandos Press. 
    • Paula Smith: Creative Accomplishment “African American Art and Artists in Philadelphia,” a collaborative research and video project with Penn State Abington undergraduates and faculty. Research Advisor (2006 - 2008).
  • Diversity-related conference presentations by Libraries faculty and staff
    • Civility@Our Libraries – presented at the Pennsylvania Library Association Annual Conference, 2010.
    • Jeff Knapp, Loanne L. Snavely, and Linda Klimczyk: “Speaking Up: Providing Staff Training and Tools for Dealing with Diversity Issues on the Spot” Panel Presentation, National Diversity in Libraries Confernece, Princeton, NJ. July 15, 2010
    • Alexia Hudson and Matthew Ciszek attended and presented at the 2012 Summit on Diversity in Information Sciences - Friday, June 8, 2012  at Carnegie Mellon University.
    • Patricia Hswe: "FYI: First Year Impressions and Confessions." Panel presentation. American Library Association Annual Conference, Spectrum Scholars Interest Group. Boston, MA. January 9, 2010.
    • Linda Musser: "Screencasting = Show and Tell 2.0." Presentation. National Diversity in Libraries Conference. Princeton, NJ. July 13, 2010.
    • Paula Smith: (Panel Member), Brinkert, R. (Panel Member), Senyshyn, R. (Panel Member), Abington Faculty Development, Abington Academic Affairs, Penn State Abington, "Global Learning (August 23, 2012).
    • Paula Smith: (Panel Member), Backe, E. (Panel Member, University of Chicago), Maxey-Harris, C. (Panel Member, University of Nebraska, Lincoln), Montiel-Overall, D. P. (Panel Member, University of Arizona), Holliday, D. (Moderator, University of Indiana), ALA Annual, ACRL Racial and Ethnic Diversity Committee, New Orleans, LA, "Cultural Competencies: from development to action!" (June 25, 2011).
    • Paula Smith: (Panel Member), Weekes, K. (Panel Member), Weaver, K. (Panel Member), Mid-Atlantic Women's Studies Association (MAWSA) Conference 2011, MAWSA, The College of New Jersey, Ewing, N.J., "Taking Charge: Female Leaders in the University," (April 9, 2011).
    • Paula Smith: Film and Discussion, Film: Neo African Americans, International, Program Organizer. (June 2010 - Present). Black Caucus of the American Library Association. Organize film program and discussion facilitator
  • Update University Libraries' definition of diversity
    • Revisions to definition started by 2013-2014 Diversity Committee and completed by Strategic Planning Working Group
  • Encourage diversity focused tactics in subunit tactical plans
    • Library Learning Services has a diversity section in their tactical plan:
      • Area 4: Diversity
      • Goal 4: We will embrace diversity in thought and culture to promote the free expression of ideas among all members of the Penn State community.
      • LLS will collaborate with the Libraries Diversity Committee to address internationalization, race, gender, disabilities and other diversity issues and to better assess and document departmental activities in these areas.
      • LLS will collaborate with University Libraries Adaptive Technologies and Services to provide outstanding services for users with special needs in both our physical and digital environments.
      • LLS will create and maintain web resources that are accessible.
      • LLS will encourage and support its employees to participate in the Libraries’ and Penn State’s diversity programs.
      • LLS will collaborate with other library and university units to provide diversity in services and programming and to raise awareness of activities that support diversity initiatives.
      • LLS will select titles for the leisure reading collection that reflect and appeal to the diverse Penn State audience.

Goal: Utilize Multiple Communication Avenues to Distribute Diversity Information

  • Re-establishment of Dean's Diversity Forum (December 2012) and commitment for Dean's Office to hold Forum annually, had a second forum February 2014
  • Some use of Library News and press releases through the PR office
  • Revisions for Diversity web site
  • Reworked Diversity Pamphlet to be distributed during New Employee Orientation
  • Increased use of social networking
    • Facebook page started September 2010 - currently have 109 likes
    • Started Twitter page

Outdated or partially accomplished action items

  • Encourage diversity-focused tactics in subunit tactical plans
    • Some units are doing this – information about all of them not available
  • Use of social media
    • Use of "Delicious" and "Diversions" blog discontinued because they were not effective

Strategic indicators:

  • From past plan:
    • Survey data from World in Conversation Series: "I think everyone should have the chance to open-up with a moderated group that gives you a 'space' for true opinions to be listened to, thought about and accepted as a valued voice." "An interesting meeting/exchange of opinions of people with different points of view." 70 percent of respondents agreed that "This conversation gave me some new insights on the issues we discussed."
    • Survey data from Muslim student panel discussion: "Really love the talk and the speakers are very informative." "Thank you for this event & I have learned a lot." "This is such an important dialogue to continue."
  • Ideas for future
    • Continue brief surveys following diversity-related programming
    • Track use of social media (number of posts, likes, views, followers, etc.)
    • Track number of diversity-related programming

Suggestions for future goals:

  • Cosponsor/coordinate with other academic units and students groups for diversity programming and initiatives
  • Continue programming - try to have an online element in programming - videos, tutorials, etc.
  • Increase communication of diversity efforts, initiatives, and successes
  • Highlight diversity research and publication by library faculty and staff

B. Challenge 2: Creating a Welcoming Campus Climate

Goal: Foster a Climate of Civility and Respect

  • Develop an institutional statement and policy on civility
    • Development of Civility Statement and distribution of civility statement posters to all libraries, departments, and work areas
    • Department visits to promote Civility Statement and address concerns from the Civility Pulse Survey
  • Civility programming - specifically to address rankism and classism
    • Speak-Up Workshops
    • Non-Verbal Communication: Speaking Volumes Without Saying a Word
    • Business Etiquette
    • Presentation on Rankism by Dr. Robert Fuller
    • Bullying in the Workplace
    • Speed Networking
    • Incivility in Pop Culture
    • Speak-Up Louder
  • Conduct periodic surveys to monitor the workplace civility and climate
    • Civility Pulse Survey (January 2012) to measure progress and continued areas of concern in civility, rankism, classism, etc.
    • Climate and Diversity Survey launched Feb 2014 to follow up and measure progress

Goal: Create a Knowledge Commons for the Penn State Community

  • Design and implement a Knowledge Commons
    • Knowledge Commons completed
  • Partner with ITS and University Office of Disability Services to create welcoming space to support barrier-free access
    • Adaptive Technology Services moved to more visible and accessible space
    • Library web site revised to ensure accessibility for patrons with disabilities
    • Accessibility training required for all Web authors and publishers

Goal: Create a Positive Climate for Diversity

  • Co-sponsor diversity events with student groups
    • Latter-day Saints Students at Penn State - co-sponsored with LDS Student Association
    • Islamic Student Panel Discussion
    • Attempt to cosponsor with Jewish student organization
    • Straight-Talks
  • Diversity-related exhibits that promote collections and services
    • Diversity Room display "Establishing an Identity: the Cinema and Literature of Asian America in the University Libraries' Collections," which was on display from March 22 through May 15, 2011
    • Harrell Health Sciences Library in Hershey has a partnership with the Office of Diversity at Penn State College of Medicine, led by Harjit Singh, MD, in which they provide display space for that office in a high traffic area of the library for rotating displays highlighting diversity.
    • Displays that promote various months – Black History month, etc.
    • Diversity staff-picks by the Collections subcommittee

Outdated or partially accomplished action items:

  • Develop leadership among Libraries' faculty and staff to enable ongoing awareness of classism found in the organization
    • Unaware of any leadership training program that focuses on classism/civility
  • Appoint diversity liaisons at each campus library to assist the Committee with collecting data for diversity reporting purposes
    • Decided to abandon this plan because of workload carried by campus faculty and staff, no alternate method for gathering diversity-data from campus libraries was developed

Strategic indicators:

  • Run a climate survey every five years
  • Number of student served by Adaptive Technology Services
  • Surveys following diversity events co-sponsored with student groups
  • Track number of diversity-related exhibits in the Libraries

Suggestions for future goals:

  • Develop method to track and promote diversity efforts at campus libraries
  • Fostering a climate of civility and respect, particularly focused on rankism and creating an increased understanding of civility and need for respect across all campuses
  • Serving the growing international student and non-traditional student populations starting with survey and focus groups to help determine their needs
  • Increasing attention to people with disabilities, physical accessibility, and facilities for employees and patrons with children
  • Increase awareness of rankism and civility among faculty and staff leaders

C. Challenge 3: Recruiting and Retaining a Diverse Student Body

Goal: Collaborate with Penn State Community to Aid Student Recruitment and Retention

Action Item: Articulate the Libraries' diversity efforts to schools, colleges, and departments:

Diversity in Engineering Open House sponsored by the Engineering Library

  • This event for students and faculty in the College of Engineering featured a member of the Libraries' Diversity Committee and showcased the Diversity Committee website, as well as the new Diversity in Engineering research guide and various diversity-related library resources.

 Action Item: Engagement with programs such as Fast Start, Upward Bound and Upward Bound Math and Science:

Library Learning Services provides orientations and library instruction to the following groups:

  • Upward Bound for Rural Students (Summer)
    • Upward Bound is an academic program which assists a diverse population of motivated low-income and first generation students to achieve their goals of succeeding in post-secondary education. The program provides opportunities for participants to succeed in pre-college performance and ultimately in their higher education pursuits.
  • Upward Bound for Math and Science (Summer)
    • The purpose of the Upward Bound Math and Science Center (UBMS) at Penn State is to assist high-school students from diverse backgrounds in recognizing and developing their potential to excel in math or science and to encourage them to pursue post-secondary degrees in these fields.
  • Summer Research Opportunity (Summer)
    • The Summer Research Opportunities Program (SROP) is an eight-week research program designed to interest talented undergraduate students from underrepresented groups in academic careers and to enhance their preparation for graduate study through intensive research experiences with faculty mentors.
  • CAMP (Fall)
    • The College Assistance Migrant Program (CAMP) is a federally funded program designed to assist first-year college students from migrant and seasonal farm worker families in their pursuit of higher education.
  • FastStart
    • FastStart is a mentoring program sponsored by the Alumni Association that helps first-year students from African American, Latino/Hispanic, Asian and Asian/Pacific American backgrounds, as well as those students who simply want to get their college careers off to a fast start.

Action Item: Expand existing programs and resources for returning adult students and international students:

  • New International Student Orientation (Fall and Spring semesters)
  • Orientation for Adult Learners (Fall semester)

Action Item: Recruit students from historically underrepresented groups for assistantships, internships and work study positions:

Two Bednar Interns worked with the 2011-2012 Diversity Committee to help us understand how we can better meet the needs of diverse students. One of the interns participated in a presentation on Latino engagement and the Libraries at the 2012 University Libraries Diversity Colloquium.

Outdated or partially accomplished action items:

Incorporate diversity-related programming into annual open house: this goal has been discussed but not implemented.

Strategic Indicators:

Number of students attending diversity-related orientations and instructional sessions

Data from New International Student Library Orientation survey:
In a 2012 survey, 100 percent of participants agreed or strongly agreed with the statement "The orientation helped me learn about library services." Comments from participants from surveys in 2010 and 2012: "It was excellent that we received a personalized subject-specific orientation." "Very welcoming and helpful." "Great efforts and thank you for helping us, the students, through college." "It was very useful and I'm surprised of this wonderful library." "The person leading the orientation, library tour is very good! Informative!"

Comments from Bednar interns about their experience with the Libraries:
"The University Libraries has tremendous influence on diversifying the Penn State community and learning more about the library will be instrumental in helping me complete a successful college career." "As a Bednar intern I gained valuable skills, such as survey design and analysis, that will help me as an Education major, and in a future career.  I am grateful to have made a contribution to diversity efforts on campus."

Suggestions for future goals:

Work with newly re-formed undergraduate and graduate student advisory groups on diversity-related issues

Conduct surveys and/or focus groups with international students to determine their library and research-related needs

D. Challenge 4: Recruiting and Retaining a Diverse Workforce

Goal: Recruit, Develop, and Retain Talented and Diverse Faculty and Staff

All efforts to develop a welcoming environment and an inclusive understanding of diversity contribute to retention of a diverse workforce (from Challenge #1)

  • Action Item: Review expertise and skills needed by Libraries and revise positions, recruitment methods, training, and reward systems accordingly.
    • The rationale for each vacated or newly created position is reviewed extensively by administration and input from Libraries Faculty Organization (LFO) and Dean’s Library Council (DLC) is often obtained before recruitment efforts are initiated.
  • Action Item: Create/formalize staff mentoring program
    • Currently being drafted.  Proposal describes an informal mentoring program for all new staff employees.  A more formal mentoring program exists for faculty on the tenure track.
  • Action Item: Revise New Employee Orientation program to include strong emphasis on diversity, work/life balance
    • Revision of the New Employee Orientation program (2011)
    • NEO includes segments on Mission and Values where diversity and creating an inclusive environment are reiterated.  Time is also spent reviewing civility and University Libraries culture.  This section of orientation is discussion based.
  • Action Item: Make "Hire Power" training available to all search committee members
    • "Hire Power" no longer exists.  LHR staff meets with all faculty search committees to review proper hiring procedures and the importance of diversity in our recruitment efforts.  Also, it is strongly encouraged that all faculty search chairs participate in the Affirmative Action Search Briefing, offered yearly and available online by the Affirmative Action Office. 
  • Action Item: Collaborate with other academic units on unique hiring opportunities
    • Collaborative effort with Liberal Arts for the Digital Humanities Research Designer position
    • Faculty and staff from other academic units and campuses often serve on our faculty search committees

Goal: Promote Library-Related Career Paths

  • Action Item: Market library/information services careers to underrepresented communities
    • Diversity Residency program - began Fall of 2013 with two residents.  This program will help prepare recent graduates from under-represented groups for leadership positions in librarianship.
  • Action Item: Mentor work-study employees regarding career opportunities in Libraries

Other Deliverables:

  • Diversity Brochure redesigned  - given to faculty candidates during their interviews and to all new hires (faculty, staff, student)
  • Faculty job applicants are given information on diversity website at time of application


  • Post staff job openings on a wider variety of venues to increase diversity of applicants
  • Encourage and support wage and student employees who have an interest in pursuing a full-time job in the libraries and a possible career in libraries
  • Develop a mentoring or leadership training program with a focus on diverse employees
  • Make diversity a more important part of the interview process
  • Develop or support diversity-related scholarships for MLS programs
  • Mentor work-study employees to inform them about career opportunities in librarianship and encourage them to continue in the field (currently may happen informally)
  • Recommend that LHR meet with all search committees (faculty and staff positions) to encourage diversity in the hiring process
  • Hold additional Faculty Hiring Forums (yearly) to get input from faculty and to keep diversity in the forefront of our recruitment efforts
  • Build internal connections with iMLIS schools with higher numbers of traditionally underrepresented students, in an effort to increase the diversity of our applicant pools for faculty positions
  • Continue to encourage our current faculty and staff to actively network and recruit applicants for our positions (both faculty and staff positions)

Assessment Ideas:

  • Determine number of minorities hired/lost since 2010

E. Challenge 5: Developing a Curriculum that Fosters Intercultural and International Competencies

Goal: Foster Liaison Relationships with Academic Units

Action Item: Review and revamp core competencies and expectations of subject specialists:

  • Subject Specialist/Liaison Librarian Task Force was formed in 2010 to review core competencies for liaison librarians. New diversity-related guidelines include:
    Librarians consider student needs, including diversity in learning styles, disability and accessibility issues, and ability level when planning and providing reference and research services.
    Librarians foster diversity by employing an interdisciplinary and inclusive approach to campus engagement.

Goal: Publicize Specialized Diversity Collections and Services to the Penn State Community

Action Item: Use newly redesigned Libraries' website to promote specific collections and services:

  • The Collections Subcommittee of the Diversity Committee has a web page for promoting diverse collections, and for promoting monthly staff picks of diversity-related titles chosen from throughout the collections: 
  • Research guides on diversity-related topics support the curriculum and engage students and faculty with research in diverse areas. 
    • Accessibility & Universal Design (ADA)
    • African American Studies
    • African Studies
    • Asian American Studies
    • Asian Studies
    • Ethnic and Race Relations Resources
    • Islamic Studies
    • Jewish Studies
    • Language Learning
    • Latin American, Caribbean, and Latina/o Studies
    • Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Studies
    • Religious Studies
    • Women and Gender in the History of Science, Technology and Medicine
    • Women's Studies

Goal: Evaluate and Strengthen Collections and Services to Support Needs of the Penn State Community

Action Item: Develop instructional materials and training programs for the Libraries' instructors to ensure that they accommodate diverse learning styles:

  • Training programs for librarians on integrating diversity into teaching include:
  • "Accessibility: What Every Librarian Needs to Know" sponsored by the Accessibility and Adaptability Interest Group
  • "Reaching and Teaching International Students" sponsored by Library Learning Services

Outdated or partially completed action items:

Expand classroom teaching to support and promote the Libraries' diversity related collections

Review the needs of General Education courses with a United States Culture or International Culture requirement and market services directly to instructors.

Create guides and brochures in languages other than English: focus groups and/or surveys with international students need to be conducted to determine if materials in other languages are an actual need for this population

Strategic Indicators:

Counts of diversity-related materials in the collections (i.e., number of titles within a call number range)

Usage of diversity-related research guides (Google Analytics)

Suggestions for future goals:

Update the Diversity Committee web pages to highlight diversity-related collections

Expand diversity titles in Leisure reading and the new Leisure viewing collections

F. Challenge 6: Diversifying University Libraries' Leadership and Management

Goal: Provide Diversity Training for Leadership Positions

  • Action Item: Encourage administrative participation in diversity and civility programming
    • Dean's Diversity Forum (February 2014) featuring Mark Puente, Director of Diversity and Leadership Programs at ARL on topic of "Diversity 2.0: The New Imperative for Diversity and Inclusion in Academic Libraries"
  • Action Item: Incorporate civility concepts into Upward Feedback 
    • Civility and diversity concepts have been added to Upward Feedback, under the "Interpersonal Relations and Workplace Climate" section.  Specific language is the following: "When evaluating this factor please take into consideration the reviewee's ability to do the following: create and foster an environment in which employees feel valued and respected; maintain effective and positive working relationships; support diversity, demonstrate and promote civility; etc"
  • Action Item: Require all new supervisors to participate in "Mastering SuperVision" training program
    • Continue to encourage all new supervisors to participate in supervision training through the Center for Workplace Learning and Performance.  Mastering SuperVision has been revamped to now be the Supervision Series.  Either the Supervision Series (to include these three individual segments: Survival Skills for Supervisors, Success Skills for Supervisors, Sustaining Success for Experienced Supervisors) or the Excellence in Management certificate programs. 

Goal: Mentor Personnel from Under-Represented Groups for Leadership Opportunities

  • Action Item: Libraries' Leadership will mentor Libraries' and University personnel from diverse backgrounds
    • Library Leaders Program, initially charged in 2012.  First year of Library Leaders program completed Spring 2014 (4 individuals).  Second installment of participants began program Spring 2014 (3 individuals).  Total of 7 participants so far.
    • The Libraries sponsored a librarian in the ARL Leadership and Career Development Program (an 18 month long program for librarians from traditionally under-represented racial and ethnic groups)
    • The Libraries are sponsoring a librarian from an under-represented group in the CIC Academic Leadership Program
    • One of our Penn State librarians from an under-represented group is the current incoming president of ALA
  • Action Item: Build diverse recruitment pools through administrative and faculty participation in national leadership and mentoring programs for underrepresented groups
    • A librarian at Abington College Library volunteers as a mentor to ALA spectrum scholars, and volunteers for an initiative to identify rising juniors and offer scholarships for pursuing a career in information science.

G. Challenge 7: Coordinating Organizational Change to Support Our Diverse Goals

Goal: Grow Partnerships with the Penn State Community

  • Identify joint projects with other offices at Penn State
    • Joint efforts with LBGTA Student Resource Center
    • Joint efforts with Office for Disability Services during Diversability (Disability awareness month)
  • Increase collaboration with units to communicate and contribute to diversity-related events and programs
    • Library participation on all three Presidential Commissions
    • Library participation on the MLK committee
    • Dean Dewey serving on University-level Joint Diversity Awareness Task Force 

Goal: Assess our Diversity Efforts to Ensure their Effectiveness

  • Review and modify structure of Diversity Committee as needed
    • Adjustment of subcommittees
    • Some subcommittees recruiting additional members outside of diversity committee
    • Review every year when recruiting new members
  • Review process for data gathering on diversity initiatives
    • Climate surveys
    • Civility pulse surveys
    • Surveys after diversity programs
    • Annual reports by Diversity Committee

Outdated or partially accomplished action items:

  • Explicitly incorporate review of diversity efforts into annual planning cycles
    • Unsure if this is happening

Strategic indicators:

  • Annual report by diversity committee should include review of how assessment is going

Suggestions for future goals:

  • Increasing our collaboration with other academic units and student groups on diversity/civility efforts

Appendix IV: Core Council Follow-Up

A report detailing the University Libraries response to the Academic Programs and Administrative Services Review Core Council was sent to Provost Erickson in May 2011. That report is attached in this appendix.  Since that report was submitted, the Libraries have continued work in five broad areas originally informed by Core Council recommendations which include:

  • Media and Technology Support Services
  • Subject libraries and overall library space needs at University Park
  • Library collections
  • Penn State Press
  • IT Enterprise Systems

Some of the accomplishments and initiatives include:

  • Efficiencies and savings achieved in services related to classroom needs at University Park (MTSS) including returning  $156,000  to the University related to staff reductions and reallocating $110,000 internally for re-described positions.
  • The audiovisual collections previously housed in the Wagner Annex have been transferred to Pattee Library and several services previously offered by MTSS are now offered though the Tombros and McWhirter Knowledge Commons.
  • Analysis of library space needs at the University Park campus. Space consultants completed a holistic study of library space in 2013 and some recommendations are being implemented while other more long-term projects are underway.
  • STEM Libraries are working on vision and service models for the future. Consultant assisting with this work (2014-). Library administration is working with STEM college administrators on reconfigured technology rich spaces
  • Floating Collections model implemented at Commonwealth Campus Libraries (books do not return to their campus “home” location, but move from campus to campus as they are requested). Full analysis of the impact of this model is underway, evidence so far suggests lower inter-campus shipping costs and different usage patterns emerging
  • A new model for Collections funding and management is being incrementally put in place that will increase flexibility in acquiring collections as well as more strategic collection building
  • The University Libraries completed its obligations to the Google Books project in sending out over 500,000 books to be digitized
  • We are increasing the use of data in decision making through recruitment of a data analyst and greater use of the Library Assessment Council
  • We have continued significant partnerships with CIC and other consortia on joint purchasing initiatives.  According to CIC data we saved approximately $300,000 in 2013-2014.
  • We are continuing to invest the majority of the collections budget in digital resources maintaining momentum in the transition from print to digital
  • A total of 38 journals are now produced by the Penn State Press
  • We are clearing 3rd party rights to make Penn State Press backlists available online
  • Moved to centrally managed enterprise systems for email, calendaring, recruitment, etc.
  • Partnered with ITS to implement a digital repository (ScholarSphere) based on Fedora/Hydra open source software in collaboration with other Universities.

Response Report

Core Council Recommendations - University Libraries

Prepared for Provost Rodney A. Erickson

by Barbara I. Dewey, Dean, University Libraries and Scholarly Communications

May 23, 2011


Penn State University Libraries in 2011 are a success story benefiting from strategic investment and many years of strong leadership.  Penn State is positioned to recruit the very best faculty and students in the world with the 7th largest research library in North America. (3) 21st century research libraries are changing dramatically in response to new forms of scholarly communication and publishing, expectations of students and faculty, deeper collaboration within the University and with other institutional partners, and management of an abundance of worldwide resources.  Penn State Libraries have a strong but still evolving digital and print collection combined with award winning and expert library faculty and staff.  Over 95,000 students, including the World Campus, and 25,000 faculty and staff depend on a varying combination of the virtual library and the physical library.  Legions of undergraduate and graduate students, in particular, rely on inspiring environments to do their work.  Thus, strategic priorities are to strengthen digital collections, develop 21st century spaces for knowledge creation using scholarly resources, implement effective discovery systems to access resources, and develop sustainable methods for preserving Penn State’s creative and intellectual output for future generations.

The Core Council’s recommendations provide the Libraries with an opportunity to further advance the University’s teaching and research mission by increasing our efficiencies, developing new service models, and making creative and effective use of physical space.  We have identified opportunities to redeploy and realign staffing and make new investments that will support student use of technologies in our new Knowledge Commons facility, improve classroom support, deepen our services to STEM (4) researchers across all Penn State campuses, more rigorously assess our collections investments, and develop new services to support the publication, management, and preservation of digital research and scholarship.  We believe that we can make more effective use of our spaces to support emerging services for researchers while also retaining the collections most important for their work.  In the sections that follow, I describe our activities in response to the Core Council and identify additional work to be undertaken in the next year.  The University Libraries are committed to the University’s students, faculty, and staff and will continue to invest in leading-edge activities that promote their success.

Recommendation #1.  Media and Technology Support Services

The Core Council recommends that MTSS activities and organization be reviewed in light of increased numbers of technologically equipped classrooms and changes in media format.

MTSS Expenditures and Revenues

MTSS has an annual budget of approximately $2 million, of which $500,000 is used to purchase equipment.  The remaining $1.5 million is for salaries for all employees.  The responsibilities of the current 30 employees:

  • 10 for repair and classroom installation of equipment.
  • 6 for delivery of equipment to classrooms [general purpose and departmental].
  • 4 for circulating equipment.
  • 3 hybrid positions available in Thomas, Willard, and Wartik Buildings to assist faculty with the use of technology in the classrooms.  These positions provide both support and repair of equipment that malfunctions.
  • 1 position for duplication.
  • 6 staff positions [Director, Assistant Director, Administrative Assistant, Media Acquisitions, and [2] for Scheduling/Client Support.

MTSS has two major funding streams. The funding for general purpose classrooms is funneled through ITS. Although ITS manages the funds to purchase media equipment for the classrooms, MTSS provides equipment specifications and inventories, installs, maintains, and repairs the equipment. The monies committed to MTSS by the Libraries, which are primarily IT funds, support student-related services such as the purchase and circulation of media equipment.  MTSS uses operating funds to support special services such as Mediasite Live and to purchase equipment used in classrooms such as overhead projectors (yes, they are still used!).

Response action items:

  1. Based on the Task Force on IT/Media Support and Classroom Support Report (Appendix A), University administrators should, as soon as possible, consider reorganization options and funding models that holistically and more efficiently address University Park general classroom support and address other classroom needs. 
  2. Eliminate three FTE positions in MTSS through a combination of attrition and redeployment.  (August 2011)
  3. Redeploy two to four positions from MTSS to the Knowledge Commons to address staffing for equipment circulation and media technology support.  (August 2011)
  4. Vacate most of the space in Willard currently used for equipment storage and circulation (1502 square feet).  (August 2011)
  5. Review the usage of the video editing and production service for students in Wagner Building once the Knowledge Commons opens.  (FY12)
  6. Expand the ‘hybrid’ position model for technicians to maximize efficiencies and reduce positions over time.  (FY12)

Additional information on the recommendations:

1. The Task Force appointed by Provost Erickson and Dean Dewey to examine IT and Media Support Services for general purpose classrooms has prepared a report that addresses its charge:  (Appendix A)

  • Design, funding, installation, support mechanisms and services, maintenance, and scheduling of classrooms including servicing of hardware, software, and equipment (sound systems, projectors, podiums, etc.) taking into account current and future plans.
  • Recommend an optimal, financially sustainable infrastructure for the development, support and maintenance of classroom hardware, software, and equipment, effective deployment strategies for equipment and media resources needed by students and faculty.
  • Recommend plans for resolution of accessibility issues related to classroom technology.

The Task Force is recommending a study team to delve more deeply into classroom issues, including more centralized management, an improved classroom scheduling system, new models of faculty support, and an examination of the funding streams that support the classrooms.

2. The remainder of University Park’s general purpose classrooms will be converted to “P-Tech” classrooms at the end of the Summer 2011.  P-Tech classrooms have the basic technology in them, e.g., ceiling mounted projectors, speakers, amplifier, and a wall plate for instructors to connect their laptop computers.  They do not have DVD players and other technologies.  The implementation of this technology will have an impact on MTSS services by diminishing the number of equipment deliveries that MTSS regularly handles.  Currently, about six positions are committed to delivery services.  Besides delivering equipment to general purpose classrooms, these employees deliver equipment to departmental classrooms and to various locations on campus for special events, constituting about one third of their deliveries.  The Libraries are confident that we can give up three MTSS positions over the summer 2011 through attrition and re-deployment, with the likelihood of more to follow as technology changes are made.

This coming year, the Libraries will analyze the impact of the increased technology classrooms on the demand for:

  • equipment delivery
  • repairs and maintenance
  • faculty support to operate the equipment
  • demand for operators

Based on this study, MTSS will adjust its staffing accordingly and either redeploy staff to other needs or eliminate more positions.

3. The new Knowledge Commons, a student-centered space due to open in Pattee Library this Fall, will include an expanded equipment service managed by MTSS.  Students will be able to check out digital cameras and camcorders, portable projectors, and other equipment as well as laptops, Macs, and tablets such as iPads.  This new service will require staff with specialized skills and customer service qualifications.  All MTSS equipment currently housed in Willard Building will be relocated to Pattee Library, thus freeing up space in Willard for other University purposes (1502 square feet).

4. MTSS currently operates a video editing and production service for students in Wagner Building.  The new Knowledge Commons will include a state-of-the-art Media Commons with similar functionality in a more central campus location.  The Libraries and Information Technology Services (ITS) will gauge the value of continuing this service in the Wagner Building based on student and faculty demand and changes in usage after the Knowledge Commons opens.

5. MTSS has full-time technicians available in Thomas, Willard, and Wartik buildings to assist faculty with the use of technology in the classrooms.  These employees occupy “hybrid” positions which enable them to both provide support and to repair equipment that malfunctions.  This hybrid model has proven to be efficient and to provide an enhanced level of services to faculty.  The concept could be expanded with the possibility of reducing positions.

Recommendation #2. Subject Libraries at Univeristy Park

The Core Council recommended consolidating or significantly downsizing University Libraries branches located in University Park collegiate buildings (unless required for accreditation).

Response action items:

Penn State’s recent investment in the new building for the Stuckeman School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture (SALA), the print-oriented nature of the disciplines the Library represents, as well as the Library’s proximity to the design studios in the SALA building, leads us to recommend continuation of the Architecture and Landscape Architecture Library in its current form.

We will study the impact of consolidation more closely in FY12, with an emphasis on re-defining our service delivery approach for the STEM disciplines.  We will take these specific steps:

1. Conducting a holistic space study for University Park library facilities including the annex to develop a library master plan for collections and services with assistance from OPP and a library space consultant.  (June 30, 2012)

2. Partnering with STEM collegiate administrators and ITS colleagues to determine optimum physical locations that leverage our current spaces and provide appropriate capacity for student work, access to technology, and availability to library and technological expertise.  (during FY12)

3. Benchmarking with CIC and non-CIC universities that ranked in the top 25 regarding STEM library service delivery to ensure competitiveness and currency.  (May 2011)

4. Retaining a consultant to work with STEM librarians to develop a longer term student and faculty-centered vision of comprehensive science/technology library services and collections (Fall 2011).  Topics will include:

a. Strengthening our partnership with the Hershey Health Sciences Library to explore new service initiatives and  collaborative collections, especially with Hershey expanding its presence at University Park.  (Fall 2011)
b. Reviewing STEM librarian portfolio configurations to ensure that these faculty are positioned to address programmatic and curricular changes as well as Penn State strategic research priorities.
c. Exploring new organizational structures that make more effective use of Libraries’ faculty and staff experience and expertise across library facilities, and enhance our ability to deliver high level services to STEM faculty and students.  (2012)

5. Completing a search (internal) for a new Head of Reference, Collections, and Research who will help lead re-envisioning efforts.  (June 2011)


Penn State’s science libraries have a reputation for excellent collections.  These collections have become increasingly electronic through strategic and targeted initiatives.  STEM faculty and graduate students have eagerly embraced the online collections due to their breadth, depth, and convenience of access.  The librarians responsible for the collections in the STEM fields have been judicious about selecting acquisitions and in determining what materials still need to be located onsite. Nan Butkovich, Head of the Physical and Mathematical Sciences Library (PAMS), has analyzed citation patterns of Penn State faculty publications to determine what materials should be in PAMS and what materials can be housed in remote storage.  Research by Penn State librarians Lisa German and Bob Alan on the usage of print monographs acquired through approval plan programs found that out of all disciplines, engineering books were the most likely to circulate the first year after purchase. (5)  This is an indication that books, especially new materials, continue to have a readership base within the STEM fields.  Across the entire system, the Libraries have reduced duplication of materials, weeded unnecessary materials, and increased the annexing of materials.  We believe that the physical collections in the three science branches can continue to be reduced, paving the way for repurposing of the spaces.  However, we need to take a holistic look at Libraries-wide collection space needs in order to address the impact on students and faculty across the STEM libraries as well as the domino affect with other library spaces.

STEM students comprise almost 40 percent of all students at University Park, and nearly 50 percent of all Honors students.  Each year, approximately 500,000 patrons use the three science libraries located within the colleges, with Physical and Mathematical Sciences accounting for nearly 200,000 of those users.  Most of these patrons are undergraduates, who like the close proximity of the libraries to their classes, the availability of study and collaborative learning spaces, and the easy access to computers (the computers in the Libraries have the same software image as the computers in the public labs).  Special services such as Course Reserves, which increasingly feature the loan of textbooks, are very popular.  Reserves usage has grown from 27,243 in 2006 to 50,446 uses in 2010.  Throughout the Libraries, undergraduate use of our facilities has increased.  Our participation in the 2008 LibQUAL (6) study documented that our undergraduates regard the quality of our physical space as important, and that undergraduates using the Libraries on a daily basis had tripled.  The Libraries have invested approximately $600,000 since 2004 to upgrade the physical environments in the Engineering, Physical and Mathematical Sciences, and Earth and Mineral Sciences libraries to enhance access to technology, add collaborative spaces, and to make them more student-centered.  This figure does not include investments by ITS to add additional computers.  Door counts in the three branch science libraries have increased from 277,530 in 2005 to 471,901 in 2010, a 70 percent increase.  During the same period, the door counts in Pattee/Paterno increased by 42 percent.  In contrast, we believe that faculty and graduate student use of our physical libraries has decreased with the exponential growth of online collections.

Our benchmarking with our CIC peer institutions, which includes on-site visits, shows that all still maintain STEM libraries outside of their main library facilities (see Appendix C).  Within the CIC, Michigan, Iowa, Chicago, and Illinois at Chicago have the smallest number of branch libraries, but each supports a science library that serves multiple disciplines.  The most highly ranked libraries in the Association of Research Libraries, including the Ivies, continue to maintain branch libraries but have reduced their numbers.  Columbia University recently closed its Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Astronomy, and Psychology libraries and plans to reintroduce their collections and services in a new science library due to open later this year.

Opportunities:  The Core Council’s recommendation to scrutinize the spaces, collections, and services of the branch libraries represents opportunities for us.  Throughout the Penn State Libraries there is a concentrated focus on developing new service models that will embrace contemporary service concepts such as personal consultation, data curating, and liaison services.

As the University continues to deepen its investments in science, engineering, and the life sciences, our STEM librarians are creating a vision for their services and collections that is bold, user-centered, reflects strategic directions of the Libraries and University (e.g., interdisciplinary) and addresses the physical environments that best promote research and learning while maximizing space utilization.  (See Appendix B: Science and Engineering Libraries and Services: Recommendations for the Future)  Penn State’s STEM librarians have national reputations in their disciplines and are influential within their professional societies.  We believe that we can more efficiently and effectively leverage their collective expertise to support student and faculty success.

Challenges:  Reconfigurations of libraries, especially those that are as mature and robust as ours, bring a unique set of challenges.  Even with our targeted efforts to reduce the size of our collections through actions such as eliminating duplication and exploring consortial storage options, there are still physical collections that must be housed efficiently and appropriately.  Our current system of storing materials in four locations is not sustainable from a staffing, climate, and capacity perspective.   Based on our current rate of storage, we could continue to accommodate collections in our newest storage facility for up to nine years.  The expected major increase in our storage rate will reduce this lifetime substantially.  Pattee Library and Paterno Library are at near capacity (almost 100,000 volumes were moved this Spring from Pattee Library to the CATO 2 Annex) and cannot absorb the collections from the science libraries.  There are financial implications involved in the consolidation or reduction of library space and collections, regardless of whether we repurpose existing spaces or construct new ones.

Supporting information:

Appendix B: Science and Engineering Libraries and Services: Recommendations for the Future

Appendix C: STEM Library Configurations (within ARL and CIC)

Recommendation #3: Collections Decisions

Core Council Recommendations – Book Acquisitions Decisions


  • Involve faculty more actively in collection decision making.
  • Become more selective in purchasing.
  • Monitor collections usage to inform purchasing decisions.


  • Leveraging consortial purchasing power through joint licensing and purchasing initiatives with the CIC ($210,000 saved last fiscal year).
  • Strategically align collections purchases with the priorities of the University.
  • Implement LionSearch, a better discovery system for accessing library collections.
  • Collaborations such as the Google Book Project and the HathiTrust digital repository.


  • Inflationary pressures, new formats developing that are needed to support research (datasets for example).
  • Wide ranging curriculum across 24 campuses.
  • More demand for resources.

Approach and Principles:

  • One mobile collection, geographically dispersed.
  • Student and faculty centered.
  • Part of world-wide research enterprise.
  • Digital and electronic collections become preeminent.
  • Collaboration with teaching faculty to enhance student literacy.

Response action items:

The resources in the Libraries’ collection foster scholarship and support the curricular and teaching needs.  Inflationary pressures are a challenge.  Each year monographic inflation rises anywhere from 2 to 4 percent depending on the discipline and serial inflation ranges from 7 to 9 percent.  The collections budget has not increased at that rate over the 10 year period.  In order to maximize the collections dollars, we are doing the following:

  1. Implementing a new vision for liaison librarianship across the disciplines to partner more closely with faculty in order to participate in the educational and creative efforts of the units in which they serve using guidelines established by the Subject Specialist/Liaison Librarian Task Force.
  2. Hiring a new head of Reference, Collections, and Research Services (June 2011) who will help lead this effort.  (internal search)
  3. Holding a Collections Summit with Penn State library leaders in order to envision a new collection development organizational model facilitated by Barbara Sherlock.  (May 2011)
  4. Creating a Collections Assessment Program Team charged to develop an ongoing program for collections assessment that measures use, identifies strengths and gaps, and that gauges effectiveness.  (Team was appointed and a summary of their report and action items is attached as Appendix D.)
  5. Piloting a “mobile collection model” with four campus libraries whereby books stay at the location where returned until they are requested rather than being returned to their home location (late FY11-FY12) to decrease shipping costs and put books where demand is the greatest.
  6. Re-examining our collections allocations model to reflect the interdisciplinary and ever increasing digital nature of the library collection.  (FY12)
  7. Continuing to participate in joint licensing ventures with the CIC and to aggressively negotiate favorable terms with vendors.
  8. Hired a data analyst through internal position reallocation.  (FY11)

Recommendation #4. Penn State Press

We are glad to have the work of the Penn State Press recognized.  The Press is working hard to transition to different business strategies in a changing economy.

For both strategic (financial) and mission reasons the Press will add six journals in 2012, three with ties to The Pennsylvania State University.  Journals provide a reliable stream of income.  By helping academic societies and associations move their journals into a digital environment, the press is ensuring the survival of at-risk disciplines and increasing the dissemination of scholarship internationally.

The demand for e-books has crossed the threshold of maybe into “must have.”  Thus the Press has a current initiative in cooperation with the Penn State Libraries to clear all third-party rights for selected top backlist sellers in order to make these available for e-book distribution.  Subsequently these books will be digitized.

With these steps along with an active presence in industry associations, including professional, academic, and library-related, the Press is building its reputation--and that of its university--as a respected leader in scholarly communication.

The relationship between the Penn State Press and the Penn State Libraries is an important one for the University, and is nationally recognized.  Joint projects developed through a collaborative Office of Digital Scholarly Publishing include:

  • Penn State Romance Studies: An online, peer-reviewed monograph series concerning the languages, literatures, and cultures of the Romance languages, launched in collaboration with the Department of French and Francophone Studies and the Department of Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese.  Books are available for individual purchase, but may also be viewed in “free,” open-access mode to promote wider dissemination of the research.
  • Metalmark Books: A historical reprint series designed to provide a wider audience with access to library collections.   Over thirty titles have been selected from the Libraries Special Collections for digitization, online viewing, and online/bookstore sales.  The project has generated a small amount of income for both the Libraries and the Press and increased the visibility of Penn State nationwide.

Recommendation #5. IT Enterprise Systems

The Core Council calls for rationalization and reduction of duplication with existing enterprise systems.

The University Libraries work collaboratively with Information Technology Services, Hershey Medical Center, and others to provide IT Services to the students and faculty of the University to maximize efficiencies wherever we can.  Examples include:

  • Oracle Calendar which is supported centrally by ITS.
  • Thunderbird email system provided centrally by ITS.
  • LionSearch, a next generation content discovery system powered by Serials Solutions that is hosted remotely, which indexes resources from the University Libraries including Hershey Medical Center and Dickinson School of Law libraries.
  • Data curation and repository services which are being developed collaboratively with ITS, Office of Research, and research institute partners.
  • Security and content stewardship infrastructure in partnership with ITS.
  • Wireless network support.
  • Public printing system.
  • Desktop support.
  • LAN networking.

The University Libraries will continue to aggressively seek out partnerships to deploy enterprise systems for access and deployment of scholarly resources and services.

Recommendation #6. MLS Degree

The Core Council recommends determining whether there is a market for an online Master’s degree in library and information science.

The Penn State Libraries have many outstanding faculty with the expertise to teach library and information sciences courses.  However, there are currently three online MLS programs already in Pennsylvania (Drexel, University of Pittsburgh, and Clarion University) and more than ten programs located in contiguous states.  Substantial new investments would be required to start a new online MLS degree program at Penn State and we do not believe sufficient return on investment is there.  We are open to opportunities to partner with the College of Information Sciences and Technology and/or the World Campus on the development of possible courses, minors, or certificates related to new approaches to 21st century digital library services and technologies.  Kevin Morooney and I have also met with Michael Adewumi on how we can support deployment of Penn State’s Global Programs.

Although a new MLS degree program is neither needed nor economically viable, we could consider developing alternate educational offerings in librarianship.  There are several successful models of intensive Web-based courses and institutes (e.g., the Immersion Institute sponsored by the Association of College and Research Libraries, and the Service Quality Evaluation Academy sponsored by the Association of Research Libraries) that could be emulated by the Libraries’ faculty.  For example, some professional organizations have identified the lack of developmental courses in subject librarianship, e.g., science librarianship, as a major concern.  This would be an ideal opportunity to leverage the professional expertise of our librarians to fill in the knowledge gap between graduate programs in librarianship and the ever-changing foci in academic librarianship.  Other areas of faculty strength at Penn State include digital libraries, preservation, content stewardship and data curation, scholarly communications, cataloging and metadata services, and contemporary space planning.


Appendix V: Statement on Ethics and Integrity of the Penn State University Libraries

In the University Libraries 2014-2019 Strategic Plan we state that we operate on a strong foundation of ethical principles and professional integrity:

In our service to the academic community, the citizens of the Commonwealth, and to the students and scholars the world over, we will foster free and open inquiry, provide equity of access, respect intellectual property rights, and protect the privacy of our users. We embrace our role in the stewardship of information for present and future generations, and endeavor to uphold the rights and responsibilities as members of the library profession to ensure that ethics and integrity are at the forefront of our mission to select, organize, preserve, and disseminate knowledge.

A working group on Ethics and Integrity took leadership in helping to organize a report on the Libraries commitment to high ethical standards. That report is attached in this appendix.

To:         Strategic Planning Steering Committee
From:     Annie Copeland, Glenn McGuigan, (Chair), Stephanie Jakle Movahedi-Lankarani, Nonny Schlotzhauer
Re:         Ethics and Integrity Working Group
Date:      February 28, 2014


The Penn State University Libraries embraces ethics and integrity as we undertake our mission of facilitating access to scholarly resources for the Penn State community of learners.  Penn State University Libraries’ members possess not only the appropriate technical skills or competencies, but also embrace moral responsibility, professing to be both technically and morally responsible, for their own work.

Inspiration from our Professional Code

Considering the importance of the ethical dimension of professional life, the Penn State University Libraries are inspired by the ethical foundations as expressed in the American Library Association (ALA) Code of Ethics (2008).  These eight principles include providing a high level of service and equitable access; upholding intellectual freedom; guaranteeing user’s privacy and confidentiality; honoring intellectual property rights; respecting co-workers; not advocating private interests; not allowing personal beliefs to interfere with providing access to information; and engaging  in constant professional development (ALA Code, 2008).

The Professional Code in Practice at Penn State

Equal Access to Information and User Service Excellence: The University Libraries serves all of its clients with respect and dignity, working in a timely and accurate manner to assist with every information need.   We are mindful that some of our users need additional assistance. The Adaptive Services and Technology office can assist with special needs; our website has been completely revised and made ADA compliant.  The Library serves all our users with equal attention, whether part time, taking online classes through World Campus, or on-site. We provide tutorials, interlibrary loan, and online reference to students all over the world, and provide outreach programming and borrowing for citizens throughout the Commonwealth.  We partner with academic departments to facilitate engaged scholarship, creating interactions outside of the classroom and providing resources for lifelong learning toward an engaged citizenry.

Intellectual Freedom: The University Libraries has an ethical responsibility to select, preserve, and disseminate information from all points of view, recognizing the diversity of opinions and backgrounds among our users. This value underlies the important work of our subject selectors in acquiring materials for the University. We endorse freedom of expression and speech and defend, in our policies and procedures, these First Amendment rights. The Library protects the rights of every person to seek information on any subject without restriction. We deplore censorship of all kinds. Through events and exhibitions during Banned Book Week we keep the discussion of these issues alive, educating our users about recent and historic attempts by authorities to limit access to controversial works.

Privacy and Confidentiality: The University Libraries respects the privacy of all users in compliance with federal and state laws and professional standards of confidentiality.  The Library maintains strict user confidentiality and will not reveal the identities of individual users or reveal what information resources they consult or services provided to them to any non-Libraries staff, individual, or entity without a court order or a valid subpoena, or under appropriate federal law.  (Policy UL-AD08 Confidentiality and Privacy of Patron Library Records; Guideline UL-ADG04 Staff Guidelines on Protecting the Confidentiality and Privacy of Patron Library Records)  The Library protects the privacy of student users in compliance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and University Policy AD11 (Confidentiality of Student Records).

Intellectual Property Rights: The Penn State University Libraries respects intellectual property rights, which may be seen in the Libraries’ adherence to guidelines and policies regarding the use of published materials including online journals, reserves, and interlibrary loan.   We adhere to the Administrative Policy UL-AD18 ( /policies)

Civility in the Workforce: The University Libraries is committed to creating and maintaining a positive learning and working environment for all library employees, as related in the University Libraries Civility Statement and Guidelines.  The Library actively promotes civility and conscious demonstration of mutual respect for people, for their roles, for their knowledge and expertise.   The University Libraries values and embraces open communication, intellectual integrity, mutual respect for differing viewpoints, freedom from unnecessary disruption, and a climate of civility in the workplace.  The University Libraries holds all members of the University Libraries community responsible for creating and maintaining civility in the workplace.

Inclusiveness: The faculty and staff of the Penn State University Libraries openly shun conflicts of interest in carrying out our duties and services to our patrons.  We do not engage in opportunistic behavior of any kind, arising not only from training and experience, but also from our adherence to ethics.  The adherence to ethics increases the perception of value of public services and consequently reinforces trust in our institution.  This is especially important as members interact with patrons, who are in a position of seeking information for various research needs.

Objectivity and Impartiality: The University Libraries are strictly committed to neutrality and an unbiased stance regarding collection, access and service. Neutrality results in the most balanced collection and the most balanced access to information achievable.  The University Libraries define and publish their policies for selection, organization, preservation, provision, and dissemination of information.  The University Libraries adhere to the highest ethical guidelines as it affects librarianship, as in the sourcing and supply of library materials, appointments to library posts and administration of library contracts and finances.

Professional Development: Members of the University Libraries strive for excellence by maintaining and enhancing their knowledge and skills. They aim at the highest standards of service quality and thus promote the positive reputation of the organization.  The University Libraries is faced with the constant challenge of remaining abreast of advancements in the field and thus endeavor to undertake constant professional development for all employees.  The University Libraries pursues innovative responses to emerging continuing education and training needs for all employees in a fair and equitable manner.  The Libraries understands how every task and function is part of a dynamic system that contributes to quality service and recognizes exceptional service when it happens.

Considerations of Assessment

Tim Balliett, Ph.D., Ethics Specialist, Office of Ethics and Compliance, provided some suggestions of questions for the task force to explore regarding assessment.  They include the following questions:

  • What policies, training, practices, and infrastructure are already in place regarding ethics and integrity?  How are their effectiveness assessed? 
  • What areas are lacking or need further development?  What plans, initiatives, and assessment will be developed to strengthen those areas?
  • How is ethics and integrity engaged throughout the unit’s culture?  How, when, and by whom are ethics discussed within the unit?
  • Are decisions within the unit made by recognizing and exploring the ethical implications for constituents?  How may this be strengthened, as needed?
  • How are ethics and integrity celebrated and recognized?

It is important that these questions are continually addressed over time regarding how the University Libraries assesses ethics within the organization.  We recommend that an LFO committee, or one appointed by the Dean, explore these questions further in order to draw a clearer picture regarding assessment.    


Librarians and library staff of the Penn State University Libraries embrace ethical principles as part of their professional framework.  The University Libraries, as inspired by the ALA code, seeks to protect and advance the interests of the Penn State learning community, as well as the broader public.  Considering the importance of the stewardship of information in an age of the digital divide in which access to information through the Internet increasingly means access to the world of information, we see the promotion of information literacy as connected to our ethical foundation.    Additionally we need to assess the promotion and engagement of ethical conduct within the University Libraries.  It is the nature of our organization, focused upon research, learning, and ethics, which inspires us to pursue our mission every day.


Appendix VI: Sustainability

In the University Libraries Strategic Plan for 2014-2019, Sustainability is described as one of five Foundational Values.  The Libraries support the simultaneous pursuit of human health, happiness, environmental quality, and economic well being for current and future generations:

The University Libraries will advance sustainability through our professional expertise and services. Our provision and preservation of information, support for learning, and our research will further the simultaneous pursuit of human health, happiness, environmental quality, and economic well being for current and future generations. With resources that span the Commonwealth, the Libraries will provide a model for sustainable stewardship of the scholarly record that promotes literacy, solutions, and leadership for our internal and external communities.

The report from a working group on what sustainability means more generally for the Libraries is attached.

To:        Strategic Planning Steering Group
From:   Jason Reuscher, Michelle Dzyak, Linda Musser, Alan Shay, Ann Thompson
Re:       Strategic Planning Working Group on Sustainability
Date:    February 28, 2014

The Pennsylvania State University defines sustainability to be “the simultaneous pursuit of human health, happiness, environmental quality, and economic well-being for current and future generations. Penn State's vision is a comprehensive integration of sustainability into the University's research, teaching and services that will prepare students, faculty and staff to be tomorrow's sustainability leaders." As such the University Libraries are in a natural position to support sustainability at Penn State as many of the pursuits outlined in the university’s definition can only be achieved through the access, long-term maintenance, and preservation of knowledge and information that the University Libraries provide. Our commitment to sustainability means continuing in our role as information content providers, preservers, professional teachers and research experts who further the simultaneous pursuit of human health, happiness, environmental quality, and economic well-being for current and future generations.  As a multitude of facilities that span the Commonwealth, the Libraries have opportunities to be leaders in sustainable planning of collections and physical space which address the human health and environmental quality of our patrons’ and employees’ lives. The Libraries’ Green Team continues to provide leadership in environmental sustainability and has been charged with addressing many of these issues. (7)

Some of our best practices in these areas include our recycling and composting efforts both of typical containers and waste as well as recycling of e-waste at some campus locations, and the reduction of energy and electricity consumption through power savings on many of our computers and electronics across all locations. Future practices could see further participation in the Sustainability Institute’s Green Paws Program, LEED certified architectural planning/certification, and better ways to measure efficacy of recycling/power savings at locations where the library is not in its own building or the possibility of sponsored energy audits. The drafting of best practice guidelines for all libraries on issues of weeded print resource, paper, and e-waste recycling should be considered. Our shipping practices could be greener with more biodegradable filler used in packaging, and we should evaluate the duplication of services such as mailing/delivery at UP and the mailings between campus units. We should circulate/publicize energy efficiency tools such as Kill-a-Watt meters, and evaluate all printed materials, such as the Library Guide, in an attempt to reduce our paper consumption. Because many of our environmental sustainability endeavors require coordination across both library and non-library units of Penn State, the formation of a higher-level Sustainability Council in addition to the Green Team could address broader issues that cannot be readily resolved by one team, department, or library within Penn State. Moreover, the Libraries could play more of a leadership role to the campuses with regard to records management as well as sponsoring campus-wide clean-up days and green exchanges.

While environmental sustainability is important, it is not the only way that the Libraries’ contribute to Penn State’s sustainability goals. More specifically we have identified many of our best practices now and future opportunities within our programmatic work of Discovery, Access, and Preservation, Teaching & Learning, and Advancing Research for consideration. While not explicitly part of our programmatic work, we have also considered the operational infrastructure (independent of environmental or facilities infrastructure) within this sustainability summary.

Discovery, Access, and Preservation

The University Libraries have an established and productive history of sharing both electronic and print resources across library locations within Penn State, the Commonwealth, and the Big Ten network through our consortial agreements. Our course reserves system is a good example of sustainability across library locations and academic units, allowing faculty to share materials within their courses in a legally responsible manner to enrich the quality of their teaching. Our discovery systems are networked and designed to sustain all Penn State libraries, and the ongoing digitization of rare collections, such as the Sanborne Map Collection, allow for sustainable use across the Commonwealth that directly benefit all library locations. Our commitment to partnering with ITS to develop sustainable strategies for the stewardship of the outputs of e-science over its life cycle remains and we continue to build out an infrastructure that can be extended to other areas of digital content management.

As electronic resources proliferate, so do the opportunities and challenges in maintaining and accessing these resources, and the addition of data warehousing costs along with physical collection facilities costs is worth addressing with further study. It may not be that electronic housing and delivery is either cheaper or more sustainable than print in all circumstances, particularly with in-house rather than vendor-supplied collections. Also, multiple and redundant discovery platforms may not be a sustainable practice, and further study is needed in this respect. We should consider finding ways through our consortial ties to hold our vendors/publishers accountable to sustainable business practices both in their day-to-day business operations and the pricing of their products; this could be tied in with a statement of ethical business practices within the libraries. While Annex holdings are still essential to collection longevity and scholarly inquiry, there is need for the reduction of multiple copies of the same resources and preservation of remaining resources. Finding ways to incorporate green materials into our binding, preservation, and conservation practices without sacrificing collection quality or longevity is another area of inquiry/development. Within our survey results, there was also mention of recycling or donating withdrawn material in a sustainable way, such as pursuing a pilot project with Surplus and Salvage for sale of selected titles rather than discard.

Advancing Research

Some of our best practices now include the collaboration between the Office of Digital Scholarly Publishing and the Penn State Press to identify a range of sustainable services that support our researchers’ ability to publish their work in ways that best advance their goals (this could include open access initiatives). We develop our collections that support sustainability research both in print and electronically, and we encourage the use of those collections by supporting the sustainability research of undergraduates through an award for Undergraduate research on Sustainability and the Environment in the Social Sciences Library. (8)  Additionally the University Libraries, along with Gale/Cengage and the PSU Sustainability Institute, are sponsoring sustainability research contest open to undergraduates at all campuses this year.  Similar awards could be created for graduate work across all campuses in the Commonwealth. Recognizing student and faculty research on sustainability at all campuses should be a priority and the preservation of our own faculty's work would be a good goal.

Among library employees, there could be the possibility of a Sustainability micro-grant (similar in monetary size to the Innovation micro-grant) to foster sustainable ideas and practices across all library facilities, particularly grants that encourage interdepartmental cooperation. The possibility of working closer with the Sustainability Institute by formally appointing a liaison to the Institute as well as allocating funds for a sustainability collection could also provide an official channel within the libraries to communicate with the university’s authority on sustainable practices.

Teaching and Learning

In keeping with the activities of other academic libraries, the University Libraries have developed research guides both on Sustainability and Sustainable Engineering. (9) We host events, workshops, lectures, etc. that address sustainability such as the recent Indigenous Tourism and Social Sustainability in Ecuador presentation and teach sustainable classroom management of the physical space at some locations among library staff. Future opportunities could include finding ways to partner with other academic and research units on sustainability issues within instruction; identifying sustainability concepts that can be incorporated into course-related and accredited instruction, possibly creating a curriculum for sustainability (10); and partnering with regional sustainability initiatives or the Penn State Agriculture Extension Programs to host shared programs, wherever possible.

Operational Infrastructure/Policy

One of the many challenges we face within the Libraries is maintaining the delicate balance

between the sustainable planning and sharing of workload across campuses and the overextension of centralized planning that leads to employee burnout especially when task or procedures are not scaled correctly for smaller units or libraries. We need to continually consider whether we make procedures, guidelines, and best practices that scale or are sustainable to campus and subject libraries and whether our faculty/staff within the University Libraries have adapted across libraries and units as Penn State has increased (or decreased) in terms of patrons served by location. Moreover we need to consider whether centralized planning is always a sustainable practice for every library process, especially at the campus level of operation.

With regard to employee development, we might consider flexible scheduling for employees

to support car-pooling and off-hour commutes as well as reducing some of the redundant training that occurs due to reliance on part-time employees. Addressing the unsustainability or relying on salary saving to support wage budgets is another concern. At present sustainability is a component within the staff SRDP process, however there seems to be no counterpart within the faculty annual review or P&T process, or if there is such, it is not readily apparent within the recording measures.


Appendix VII: Correlation of Strategic Initiatives to Budget Planning and Adjustments

Discovery, Access, and Preservation

Seamless discovery and access to collections the Libraries acquire, describe, and organize must happen in multiple settings, for use by multiple types of users. The Libraries will invest in a forward-looking digital library production and preservation strategies program, with a holistic view of services around digital content. By leveraging state-of-the-art technology and deploying library faculty and staff in support of digitizing Penn State's rare items, we will create new pathways to our collections and facilitate worldwide use by researchers. A Digital Preservation Librarian is needed to bring planning and action for long-term care and management of our digital collections, including data sets. By addressing digitization programmatically, digital conversion can occur at a greater scale, thus drawing on the cost efficiencies of third-party vendors. To meet the critical needs of this ever-growing content, the program will require additional resources for extending server storage capacity. We anticipate significant collaboration with ITS to manage this growth. 

In the next few years we will also be investing in the next generation of “finding systems” which have evolved beyond library catalogs. As part of this we will need to focus more on the user experience as a key dimension of our technology choices.

In addition, our initiatives in the programmatic area of Discovery, Access, and Preservation will necessitate the creation of a Collections Strategist position. In collaboration with others, the Collections Strategist will develop, coordinate, and implement a plan that takes a coherent long view of the future of our analog and digital collections.  The size and age of our collections have led to a need to create a lab focused on activities associated with long-term collections care and the conservation of physical library materials. Lastly, we must seek out and secure partnerships for a collaborative approach to fulfilling collections storage needs.

Resources needed:

  • Equipment for digitization
  • Staff to digitize collections
  • Digital Preservation Librarian
  • Collections Strategist Librarian
  • Faculty and Staff to make digitized collections accessible/findable
  • Storage space for digitized content
  • Platform to deliver patron requested digitized content
  • 3rd party vendor for mass digitization
  • Next generation finding system/software integration
  • Collections
  • Investigate income streams for digitized content
  • Renovations of physical facilities to create a conservation lab, annexing of collections for easy access
  • Identify partnerships for storage of collections
Teaching and Learning

Our current strengths in Teaching and Learning will be the foundation for enhancing and transforming our learning initiatives in the years ahead to meet rapidly changing student needs for both face-to-face and online learning at all locations. Classrooms and a variety of innovative learning spaces will be enhanced and developed through creative design with appropriate instructional technologies to accommodate multiple learning styles, methods and abilities. Emerging and immersive technologies will be leveraged for optimal learning opportunities in the classroom and in online initiatives. Instructional and learning designers, with the aid of relevant technologies and software, and in collaboration with appropriate librarians and other faculty, will enhance all learning initiatives. An emphasis on continually improving and enhancing our pedagogy for both online and face-to-face learning will enable us to engage the next generation of students with our world-class resources and services.

Resources needed:

  • Software for instructional designers
  • Instructional designers
  • World Campus Librarian
  • Technology Visionary person
  • Web & Graphic Designers
  • Emerging technology, such as immersive technologies
  • Collections [moving all of our reference to e]
  • Renovations of physical facilities to create learning spaces
Advancing Research

Research libraries today do more than just provide collections that support research, they also offer services and tools that support and enhance research. These services include expert staff and resources that enable faculty and students to transform and create new digital learning objects and digital scholarship projects. To accomplish this goal the Libraries needs developers to support and enhance tools like ScholarSphere as well as the hardware and technical infrastructure to create, manage, and preserve scholarly output. The collections used for such scholarship projects extend beyond traditional library collections to include datasets, purchased or licensed rights to use content, open access fees, and other content that will advance the research of students and faculty. Finally digital laboratory space is needed for faculty, students, and library staff to interact and work together with technology and collections.

Resources needed:

  • Equipment
  • Developers
  • Technology
  • Collections
  • Renovations of physical facilities [creation of research hub]
Estimated Budget for New Initiatives
Area 2014/2015 2015/2016 2016/2017 2017/2018 2018/2019 TOTAL
Discovery, Access, and Preservation $ 555,000 $ 1,350,000 $ 1,460,000 $ 1,250,000 $ 250,000 $ 4,865,000
  Equipment and Software $ 50,000 $ 25,000 $ 225,000 $ 25,000 $ 25,000  
  Faculty and Staff $ 80,000 $ 150,000 $ 60,000 $ 50,000 $ 50,000  
  Technology [server space provided by ITS] $ 25,000 $ 25,000 $ 25,000 $ 25,000 $ 25,000  
  Collections $ 150,000 $ 150,000 $ 150,000 $ 150,000 $ 150,000  
  Renovations of physical facilities $ 250,000 $ 1,000,000 $ 1,000,000 $ 1,000,000    
Teaching and Learning $ 1,425,000 $ 3,445,000 $ 1,345,000 $ 1,365,000 $ 1,365,000 $ 8,945,000
  Software $ 5,000 $ 5,000 $ 5,000 $ 5,000 $ 5,000  
  Faculty and Staff $ 145,000 $ 165,000 $ 65,000 $ 85,000 $ 85,000  
  Technology $ 25,000 $ 25,000 $ 25,000 $ 25,000 $ 25,000  
  Collections $ 250,000 $ 250,000 $ 250,000 $ 250,000 $ 250,000  
  Renovations of physical facilities $ 1,000,000 $ 3,000,000 $ 1,000,000 $ 1,000,000 $ 1,000,000  
Advancing Research $ 1,190,000 $ 1,975,000 $ 2,100,000 $ 2,200,000 $ 1,300,000 $ 8,765,000
  Equipment $ 50,000 $ 50,000 $ 50,000 $ 50,000 $ 50,000  
  Faculty and Staff $ 240,000 $ 175,000 $ 200,000 $ 200,000 $ 200,000  
  Technology $ 150,000 $ 150,000 $ 150,000 $ 150,000 $ 150,000  
  Collections $ 500,000 $ 600,000 $ 700,000 $ 800,000 $ 900,000  
  Renovations of physical facilities $ 250,000 $ 1,000,000 $ 1,000,000 $ 1,000,000    
TOTAL $ 3,170,000 $ 6,770,000 $ 4,905,000 $ 4,815,000 $ 2,915,000 $22,575,000

Appendix VIII: Process and Implementation

This Strategic Plan was formulated as a result of wide-ranging input from all units of the University Libraries.  We began with a small steering committee that organized the planning process and set a timetable for completion of the various tasks. This was followed by appointment of 7 working groups that defined major concepts and solicited wide-ranging participation in discussions via forums, virtual meetings, and email. We then held a one-day retreat to discuss the working group reports and a first draft of the strategic plan.  As part of this work we redefined our Mission, Vision, and Values.  It is important to note that the strategic planning process was very deliberately constructed to include participation from across the Libraries at every level.  The Steering Committee and working groups included faculty and staff from University Park as well as the Commonwealth Campuses.  Forums and the planning retreat were similarly planned with an eye toward inclusiveness and eliminating complications sometimes posed by geography.  We were also pleased to incorporate University-wide themes.

In the period following a March 2014 strategic planning retreat we gathered feedback on the draft plan via blogging software that facilitated comments on the document at the paragraph level.  Based on close to 200 comments, the plan was revised and a second draft was made available for comment.  At this point comments slowed dramatically and it seemed clear that the emerging plan was reflective of widespread agreement within the Libraries as to our overall priorities.  The plan has been presented to the Libraries administration and is truly a collaborative effort.  The one innovation that surpassed our expectations in crafting the new Strategic Plan was the success of software facilitating comments and online discussions.  CommentPress was a great tool for our needs and many library staff members have suggested it might be a good way to keep the discussions we’ve started moving forward.

Our overall goal in the University Libraries has been to create a Strategic Plan that is clear enough to resonate with all library employees, regardless of department or location and all of our stakeholders. We want a plan that is broad enough at the top level to offer guidance, but specific enough to allow every person under the University Libraries umbrella to see where they fit into the picture, and how they contribute to the overall success of the Libraries.

The University Libraries are in a period of administrative change with the departure of two Associate Deans (one retirement and one move to another institution).  We will be restructuring administrative portfolios and recruiting new Associate Deans.  It is anticipated that the new administrative structure will mirror the Strategic Plan in many respects and that the new Associate Deans will play a major role in implementing the plan as well as defining tactics, assessment measures, etc.  That said, much of the work highlighted in our plan is already underway.  We have been redefining positions, and have embarked on many new initiatives.  The Strategic Plan is meant to be both practical and inspirational, a continuation of our proud history as well as indicative of our bold aspirations for the future.



1. ACRL Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education, Part: 1 Draft: 1

2. ARL Investment Index Rankings 2012-2013

3. Association of Research Libraries. ARL Library Investment Index, 2008-2009.

4. STEM is an acronym used to designate science, technology, engineering and mathematics/medicine.

5. Robert Alan et al. “Approval Plan Profile Assessment in Two Large Academic ARL Libraries, University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign and Pennsylvania State University,” Library Resources and Technical Services 54(2): 71.   

6. LibQUAL was developed by the Association of Research Libraries and Texas A & M University to determine how users perceive libraries in three dimensions: service, physical environment, and collections.  LibQUAL has been given to over 1 million respondents in over 1,000 libraries worldwide, providing us with norms and the ability to compare and contrast Penn State against other institutions.

7. Libraries’ Green Team Vision and Charge

8. Social Sciences Sustainability Award

9. For other sustainability guides within academic libraries, see the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

10. Jankowska, Maria A., Bonnie J. Smith, and Marianne A. Buehler. Engagement of Academic Libraries and Information Science Schools in Creating Curriculum for Sustainability: An Exploratory Study, The Journal of Academic Librarianship (January 2014): 1-10.