As we work our way toward defining the Libraries’ future strategic intent, the need to expand capacities in a number of areas has become clear. Developing these capacities will underlay and enable our success as we reorient the organization toward a new set of strategic directions and implement a new agile operating framework. Growing these capabilities will involve investment, sometimes of new resources generated from partnerships and fundraising and sometimes from the reallocation of current effort and funding.

While other areas of need may arise, the following have emerged from our ongoing planning processes:

Communications/Marketing

All stakeholder groups, internal and external, have surfaced a need for the Libraries to communicate our stories and the value we create better and differently. Doing so will enhance our efforts to describe organizational impact and attract additional resources. In response to this need, we are in the process of engaging an external consultant to help us understand our evolving communications environment and how we should structure and resource our communications and marketing efforts for maximum effectiveness. This consultation will proceed this semester with broad input from Libraries’ faculty, staff and key external stakeholders, including donor leadership.

Resource Development/Fundraising

The Libraries has been successful in raising funds for high-profile capital projects. As we prepare for the next university campaign, we will need to restructure and reorient our resource development efforts toward a changing, broader set of needs and approaches. We are currently developing a new Director’s advisory group that will provide guidance, not only in preparing for the new campaign, but also for how we organize, resource and prioritize our annual, ongoing fundraising efforts. This group will begin its work this semester with engagement from across the Libraries and our campus partners, including the Office of Advancement.

Outreach/Engagement

Libraries’ outreach and engagement efforts are currently scattered and under-resourced. And as we continue to broaden our conception of organizational engagement, we need to restructure and better coordinate support for a growing set of activities that align with the university’s educational, research and land grant missions. This will be an important focus through which the Libraries can help the university affirm its ongoing value to the broader community and the State of Ohio. And if we play our cards right, broader engagement will create narratives of impact that can be used to promote the Libraries’ value to the university community and to current and potential donors/funders. As a first step in filling this need, I have asked Quanetta Batts to transition from her current role as Executive Assistant to the Vice Provost & Director to a new role as Program Director for Outreach and Engagement. In this new role, she will provide leadership and coordination for activities that enrich relationship building with various internal and external constituencies, with special attention to broadening outreach to and engagement with partners and initiatives at the campus, community, state and national levels. The position will report to the Vice Provost & Director.

Organizational Development

As we implement a new agile operating framework, Libraries’ administrators, managers, faculty and staff will need to work with each other differently. We will no doubt implement structural and procedural changes designed to improve business processes and outcomes, but there is also a need for a different type of investment in our people and the skills necessary for individuals across the organization to operate successfully at the levels of autonomy, creativity and accountability appropriate to their roles. As a start, our newly instituted Management Committee is collectively developing a broad learning curriculum, designed to identify gaps in organizational effectiveness and corresponding approaches to filling those gaps. Trainings and other learning opportunities will begin rolling out to the organization during the current semester. Be on the look out and participate!

Expect more information on our progress in all of these capacity-building efforts at upcoming faculty and general staff meetings. Bring your questions and suggestions. We need your input as we build out the capabilities that will enable us to successfully implement our soon-to-be-defined strategic intent.

Damon E. Jaggars
Vice Provost and Director of University Libraries