From the Dean

By Damon E. Jaggars, Vice-Provost & Dean of The Ohio State University Libraries

Happy Holidays!

As we celebrate the holidays and look to the new year, I thank each of you for your support of the University Libraries.

Whether you attended an exhibit or program, partnered with us to extend our community impact, made an enabling donation, or work tirelessly for the Libraries to provide vital services to Ohio State’s students and faculty, you have been a critical part of our success this year.

This past year, the University Libraries:

  • welcomed more than 650 library professionals from across the United States and Canada to the Ohio State campus for IDEAL ’19, a discussion of inclusion, diversity, equity, and accessibility in libraries and archives.
  • helped launch the university’s year-long sesquicentennial celebration with the first of two special exhibitions in Thompson Library, Scarlet & Gray, The Student Experience. Our faculty and staff worked with partners across campus to preserve and share Ohio State’s story. Time and Change: 150 Years of The Ohio State University, authored by University Archivist Tamar Chute, captures the university’s rich history through more than 300 rarely seen photographs. The Carmen Collection “spotlights members of Buckeye Nation who have shaped The Ohio State University throughout its history but whose stories have been lost or too seldom told over the years.”
  • partnered with the Wexner Center for the Arts and internationally-recognized artist Ann Hamilton on her latest project when an object reaches for your hand. I encourage you to visit the second-floor book stacks in Thompson Library to experience this glimpse into Ohio State’s collections and take a piece home with you.
  • worked with faculty and staff across the university to ensure the cost of classroom materials are not a barrier to student success. Through the university’s Affordable Learning Exchange (ALX), our faculty and staff will have partnered to help Ohio State students save $10 million by spring 2020.

On behalf of the faculty and staff at University Libraries, happy holidays and best wishes for the new year.

Go Bucks!

Image of Damon E. Jaggars' signature

Damon E. Jaggars
Vice Provost and Dean of University Libraries

Image of a snowy scene on the Ohio State Oval with the message: Best wishes for a joyous holiday season



University Libraries and General Education

In response to input from University Libraries’ colleagues requesting to hear more about what our Associate Directors are working on and/or thinking about, we are interspersing guest posts from the ADs on the From the Director blog. Here’s a guest post from Alison Armstrong, Associate Director for Research & Education

Last spring a revised General Education curriculum was approved by the Council on Academic Affairs and endorsed the University Senate. It now makes its way toward implementation with an anticipated launch date of Autumn 2021.

General Education (GE) represents one third of the undergraduate curriculum; the two other components are the major(s) and electives.  A revision of a third of the curriculum is a big undertaking and critically important. “It has been decades since we re-evaluated our General Education curriculum in a meaningful way,” Executive Vice President and Provost Bruce McPheron said recently. “Career paths are different, technologies are different, and the subject matter of our majors has changed over that period.”

Graphic depicting the basic structure of the new General Education program.

Ohio State General Education Curriculum Overview

The GE will “emphasizes critical thinking and is intended to provide students with a breadth of awareness, knowledge and skills that cross disciplinary boundaries and prepares them to be global citizens.” Critical thinking and interdisciplinary research fall squarely within University Libraries’ wheelhouse. We work with faculty as they develop their syllabi and deliver instruction, we connect with departments to advance overarching curricular themes, and we support students as they navigate the demands of their coursework. It is no surprise then, that in this sweeping undertaking, University Libraries is providing keen insight and substantial contributions. Beth Black, Undergraduate Engagement Librarian, serves on the “Bookends” Subcommittee, Jane Hammons, Teaching & Learning Engagement Librarian, serves on the “Expected Learning Outcomes” (ELO) Subcommittee, and I serve on the Implementation Committee and on the “Embedded/Cross-Sectional Components” Subcommittee. These groups, and more are hammering out detailed plans for a coordinated, manageable, and meaningful rollout of the program. Members of the GE committees and subcommittees have been meeting with groups and individuals around campus to clarify expectations, check-in around process, and to surface any areas of concern.

In addition to working directly with faculty and students, members of the GE teams have been talking with academic advisors, the Office of the Registrar, the Office of Student Life, and others to invite conversation and engagement. Your feedback, too, is welcome!  Everyone is invited to share comments and stay up to date on this program.

Please reach out if I can be of help (

We’re Part of a BIG Collection

In response to input from University Libraries’ colleagues requesting to hear more about what our Associate Directors are working on and/or thinking about, we are interspersing guest posts from the ADs on the From the Director blog. Here’s a guest post from Karla Strieb, Associate Director for Content & Access…

Communities of collaboration are crucial to our work in the Libraries and for our users to do their work. We invest funds but also substantial employee time into library collaborations like OhioLINK and HathiTrust. The Big Ten Academic Alliance is one of our longest standing collaborative communities – dating back to 1958 for Ohio State.

Our work in communities of collaboration aligns with our values and our strategic priorities and often is an essential path to achieving our goals. I’m reminded of this by the recent statement by the BTAA, “The BIG Collection”. This statement builds on recent research commissioned by the BTAA from the OCLC Research Library Partnership, “Operationalizing the BIG Collective Collection.”

The BIG Collection statement starts:

We, the leaders of the libraries within the Big Ten Academic Alliance, are committed to coordinated
stewardship of the print scholarly record. Our history of collaboration positions our libraries to play a significant role in sustaining access to the unique and distinctive resources held in our collections, and our growing network capacity offers significant potential for working at scale to effect greater collective impact going forward.

This publicly articulated commitment aligns completely with our own commitments at the Libraries. Our work with conserving our collections, ensuring accurate description, housing our collections in climate-controlled spaces, and acting to keep the costs of housing our collections sustainable through strategic expansion of our high density storage facility. We have recently placed retention commitments on nearly one million of our print monographs in conjunction with the HathiTrust Shared Print Program (the BTAA is a founding partner in HathiTrust). Retention commitments signal our commitment to ongoing stewardship and access to the print scholarly record.

The public statement also highlights the extent to which this focus is built on a solid and long-standing foundation of collaboration over decades. While the BTAA will be expanding its collaborative work, it is not starting from scratch. We’re already doing considerable licensing of e-resources, investing in digital accessibility, engaging in shared serials retention, partnering with Google to scan our collections, and exploring pathways to opening access to our universities’ published research through the BTAA.

The BIG Collection statement further notes:

Going forward, we will orient our collective actions around the challenges and opportunities that come with interdependence and will implement the necessary systems, policies, and services needed to create an integrated user experience of the networked collections, from discovery to delivery. We will individually and collectively invest in strategies that transition our focus from building local collections to creating a shared, fully networked collection that supports our local students and scholars.

This signals a collective intention to align our local investments where possible but also to increase our collective investment through the Big Ten Academic Alliance. For now, this is a statement, not a plan. So much more remains to be done before we know exactly what kinds of collective investments might make sense or what kinds of resources are required – likely both funds and the time and talent of our employees. Groups are currently being formed to look into two areas – intentional collection management coordination and developing enhanced access services. We expect to learn more in the coming months.

In closing I will note that we, at Ohio State, are perhaps uniquely fortunate (or strategic) in participating in two of the leading collaboration communities in the world, the BTAA and OhioLINK. I believe that this positions us to align and synergize our investments in both communities without requiring us to “choose between them”. While certainly we will decide in some cases to invest more with one or the other at the project or program level, these communities often tackle different challenges and operate at different scales.

Celebrating 10 Years in the New Thompson Library

This is a special week for The Ohio State University Libraries. Ten years ago, we officially dedicated the newly renovated William Oxley Thompson Memorial Library. The three-year, $109 million renovation returned Thompson Library to its previous grandeur, restoring the windows and ceilings in the Grand Reading Room, creating light-filled atriums that showcase the collections housed in the book stacks from both east and west, and adding the Buckeye Reading Room, the Campus Reading Room, group study rooms and other inviting, user-focused spaces.

The project was celebrated with awards and recognition from the Columbus Landmarks Foundation, the American Institute of Architects, Library Journal and the American Library Association. Following the renovation, Thompson Library quickly resumed its place as the heart of campus – both physically and symbolically – counting more than 21.6 million visitors since its new doors opened in 2009.

Importantly, the renovation afforded an opportunity to reexamine what a modern library should look like. Not just physically, but in its mission and reach. And as active partners in several of Ohio State’s key strategic initiatives, including the University Institute for Teaching and Learning and the Affordable Learning Exchange to name just two, the University Libraries plays a vital role in enabling the university to live its values and meet the challenges core to its teaching, research and outreach missions.

We extend a sincere thank you to all those whose gifts, big and small, made the renovation possible and helped position us to become a national role model for academic research libraries.

Damon E. Jaggars
Vice Provost and Director of University Libraries

Enjoy these photos documenting the renovation and re-dedication…

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The Learning Organization and IT Project Design

In response to input from University Libraries’ colleagues requesting to hear more about what our Associate Directors are working on and/or thinking about, we are interspersing guest posts from the ADs on the From the Director blog. Here’s a guest post from Jennifer Vinopal, Associate Director for Distinctive Collections and Digital Programs

I recently published a short piece in Educause Review entitled Designing IT Projects to Advance the Learning Organization. I’d like to pick up here a couple of thoughts from this piece and add a bit more context.

First, it’s important to understand what a learning organization is and why we strive to be one. Learning organizations are adept at creating new knowledge through exploration, and then integrating what’s learned into improved work practices. It’s a virtuous circle of learning and integrating that also includes taking risks and learning from mistakes. To be successful, learning organizations emphasize knowledge sharing, curiosity, and a culture of collaborative learning. Our strategic plan articulates the need for these and related skills in order to Invest in People and to Model Excellence.

Organizational learning–and becoming a learning organization–don’t just happen spontaneously: it takes
thoughtful intention and daily work on the part of leaders throughout the organization. (See Peter Senge’s article Rethinking Leadership in the Learning Organization on the need for leadership throughout the organization.)

How do we learn to be a learning organization? Just like we learn everything else: we practice. In my article I describe how we have used two recent Libraries IT projects—website redesign and the development of our Discover platform—to advance our organizational understanding of and learning in six areas: communication; collaboration; decision-making; shared leadership; user-centeredness; and agile, iterative planning and operations. In addition to actually producing the services we intended, over the course of these two projects I believe we as an organization did get more experience with agile and iterative development, design driven by user experience, and incremental release of new content and features.

This intentional design of projects, initiatives, and actions to advance organizational learning is not special to IT. We’re lifelong learners as individuals and as an organization. And through all our initiatives large and small, we need to be thoughtful and persistent in advancing our practices of shared leadership, participatory decision-making, active engagement, and cross-organizational work and communication.

I would like to acknowledge the people, in alphabetical order, who did the project work I mention above:

Website redesign:

Chris Bartos
Sue Beck
Stephen Cassidy
Eric Haskett
Michelle Henley
Travis Julian
Ousmane Kebe
Phoebe Kim
Meris Longmeier
Jason Michel
Kati Minsavage
Robyn Ness, project lead
Erika Pryor
Russell Schelby
Beth Snapp, implementation lead

Discovery Platform Initiative:

Chris Bartos
Morag Boyd
Jolie Braun
Stephen Cassidy
Anita Foster
Eric Haskett
Michelle Henley
Travis Julian
Ousmane Kebe
Phoebe Kim
Meris Longmeier
Jason Michel
Brian Miller
Jessica Page
Terry Reese, project lead
Russell Schelby
Beth Snapp, implementation lead
Gene Springs
Nicholas Wilkenson

Advancing Inclusion, Diversity and Equity at IDEAL ’19


As we move into a new semester, I thought it appropriate to acknowledge a significant success from this past summer…

The Ohio State University Libraries was pleased to host IDEAL ’19  at the Ohio Union on August 6-7, where over 650 colleagues from across the United States and Canada came together to discuss inclusion, diversity, equity, and accessibility in libraries and archives.

The conference began with a land acknowledgement by Shannon Gonzales Miller and a warm welcome from Ohio State Provost Bruce McPheron. A stirring opening keynote by Kimberle Crenshaw framed many of the topics to be presented in conference sessions through the lens of intersectionality – talks ranging from “Talk About It and Be About It: Building a Self-Sustaining Network of Active Bystanders” and “Is Your Outreach Plan Inclusive? Creating A Marketing Strategy to Benefit All” to “1,000,001 Unwritten Rules for Being a Librarian of Color” and “LGBTQ+ Inclusion and Community Engagement,” just to name a few. The highly successful conference concluded with closing keynote speaker, Nikole Hannah-Jones, who provided a powerful lesson on the slavery-based roots of racism and inequity in the United States and encouraged participants to think of black people as a solution to societal problems rather than a cause. For two days colleagues came together in Columbus to actively engage in difficult conversations, skill enhancement, and community building.

During and after the event conference volunteers and organizers received countless expressions of gratitude from participants. In particular attendees expressed appreciation for how well the conference was organized, how visible and proactively helpful volunteers were, the efforts organizers took to make the event as inclusive and welcoming as possible, and let’s not forget the unbelievable dessert room at the conference reception!

It takes a lot of dedication and effort to successfully pull off an event like IDEAL ’19. So, please join me in thanking the folks that made it happen. There’s a lot of them!

Quanetta Batts, Program Committee Co-chair, Ohio State
Jennifer Vinopal, Program Committee Co-chair, Ohio State
Christina Adams, Ohio State
George Perkins Anene, Ohio State
Tyler Alfredo, Ohio State
Ariel Bacon, Ohio State
Sue Beck, Ohio State
Leigh Bonds, Ohio State
Jolie Braun, Ohio State
Amy Bulgrein, Association of Research Libraries
Hilary Bussell, Ohio State
Theresa Cavin, Ohio State
Judith Cerqua, Ohio State
Kay Clopton, Ohio State
Nancy Colvin, Ohio State
Alyssa Cruz, Ohio State
Allison DeVito, Ohio State
Sandra Enimil, Ohio State
Ash Faulkner, Ohio State
Amanda Folk, Ohio State
Jane Hammons, Ohio State
Aaron Heil, Ohio State
Leta Hendricks, Ohio State
Anson Hiew, Ohio State
David Holbrook, Ohio State
Madeline Hull, Ohio State
Ana Maria Jimenez-Moreno, Ohio State University Press
Emily Johnson, Ohio State
Moon Kim, Ohio State
Annamarie Klose Hrubes, Ohio State
Brent Lewis, Ohio State
Meris Longmeier, Ohio State
Federico Martínez-García Jr., University of Colorado, Colorado Springs
Cheryl Mason-Middleton, Ohio State
Bruce Massis, Columbus State Community College
Pam McClung, Ohio State
Caitlin McGurk, Ohio State
Christina Moore, Ohio State
Shannon Niemeyer, Ohio State
Christine O’Connell, Ohio State
Angela Pappalardo, Association of Research Libraries
Alicia Perkins, Ohio State
Elaine Pritchard, Ohio State
Cate Putirskis, Ohio State
Wendy Ramsey, Columbus Metropolitan Library
Rachel Rubin, University of Pittsburgh
Joshua Sadvari, Ohio State
Pat Schell, Ohio State
Rachel Schreier, Ohio State
Sanghee Seo, Ohio State
Julie Beroukas-Snyder, Ohio State
Eliza Starr, Columbus Metropolitan Library
Mira Swearer, Association of Research Libraries
Djorgi Sunoto, Ohio State
Kapil Vasudev, Ohio State
Shaunda Vasudev, Capital University
Susan Vega Garcia, Iowa State University
Wendy Wei, Ohio State

Needless to say an event like IDEAL ’19 requires substantial financial and infrastructure support. So, join me in thanking all of the IDEAL ’19 sponsors and our colleagues at the Association of Research Libraries and the Association of College and Research Libraries, both of which served as official co-hosts and sponsors. This broad support from the library community helped fund a hugely successful event and provided over 50 scholarships for participants who otherwise would not have had the financial resources to attend.

To learn more about IDEAL ’19, please check out the conference website, where you can find information about conference sessions, presentations, handouts, and more.

Damon E. Jaggars
Vice Provost and Director of University Libraries

Enjoy these photos from IDEAL ’19!


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Ohio State University Libraries at ACRL 2019!

Many of us who work in college and research libraries will be converging on Cleveland next week for ACRL 2019. Ohio State University Libraries’ faculty and staff are well represented across the conference program – a total of nine sessions by my count – presenting on affordable learning initiatives, research impact interventions, library experiences of students of color, library-community partnerships, and more. The theme for this year’s conference is “Recasting the Narrative,” and our University Libraries colleagues will be reporting on research and service initiatives that are indeed changing the story of how a research library can impact the research, educational, and outreach missions of a national public flagship university.

Take a look at some of the important work our Buckeye colleagues will be presenting:

Recasting the Affordable Learning Conversation: Considering Both Cost Savings and Deeper Learning Opportunities

“We present Deeper Learning (DL) as a valuable theoretical framework to recast the affordable learning conversation from one based on cost-savings to a narrative of pedagogical opportunities that encourage 21st century skills and transferable knowledge. Recent research has indicated that students may not be cultivating modes of critical thinking related to the DL framework. The development of these skills require instructors to engage students in the classroom, encouraging an active role in their learning that can increase student success. Faculty who adopt affordable materials often do so with a goal of improving student learning and critical thinking skills.”

Speakers: Marcos Rivera, Amanda Folk, Shanna Jaggars, and Marisa Lally

How Faculty Demonstrate Impact: A Multi-Institutional Study of Faculty Understandings, Perceptions, and Strategies Regarding Impact Metrics

“Faculty and institutions are increasingly called upon to present succinct, quantified descriptions of their research impact to administrators, funders, legislators, and academics. This project explores how researchers feel about these research impact measures across disciplines and institutions. Presenters will discuss findings from a multi-institutional faculty survey (n=1202), including what faculty actually know about journal and article-level impact metrics, what faculty think about these metrics, and how they use statistical measures to demonstrate the importance of their scholarship, as well as possible implications for librarians supporting these faculty members.”

Speakers: Dan DeSanto, Caitlin Bakker, Jonathan Bull, Aaron Nichols, Jenny McBurney, Allison Langham-Putrow, and Nancy Courtney

Narratives of (Dis)Engagement: Exploring Black/African-American Undergraduate Students’ Experiences with Libraries

“Libraries are increasingly devoting resources to programs and services related to equity, diversity, and inclusion, as well as including these as core values of the organization. Despite this, there is a dearth of literature that highlights the voices of students of color. While we often boast about our community outreach programs on diversity, there is a lack of engagement in research about servicing students of color and understanding their library experiences. We will introduce a qualitative research study that explores Black/African-American undergraduate students’ experiences with libraries both before and during college, as well as sharing preliminary findings.”

Speakers: Amanda Folk and Tracey Overbey

Enhancing Career Readiness through a Library-Community Partnership: Living the Land Grant Mission

“Learn about how the Ohio State University Libraries is partnering with a community organization, the Expanding Visions Foundation, to support high school students from underserved and at-risk communities with career development and work place experience. The program also introduces the students to professional mentorship and careers in libraries. This panel discussion will explore the successes and learning after two years of the program from the perspective of a library administrator, a library faculty sponsor, the program coordinator, and a representative of the community organization.”

Speakers: Quanetta Batts, Nena Couch, Diedra Herring, Cornell Lewis, and Jennifer Vinopal

Improving Diversity Residencies through learned experiences

“This panel session provides an opportunity to learn about Library Diversity Residencies through the experiences of Library Diversity Residents and a Residency program director. A panel of two current residents, one former resident and a residency program director will discuss the design of their residencies, practical skills gained, suggested new approaches and work-preparedness after a residency. Participants will come away with a more holistic understanding of diversity residencies from multiple perspectives. This knowledge will hopefully lead to new ideas of how to recast and design residencies to better suit new librarians and increase the diversity in the profession.”

Speakers: Selena Bryant, Sheila Garcia, Carlos Duarte, Morgan Davis, and Quanetta Batts

Start something new: How libraries support cross-campus entrepreneurship education, commercial and nonprofit start-ups, and entrepreneurial thinking

“Students are increasingly creating their own jobs and supporting their communities through both commercial startups and social entrepreneurship. Campuses across the country are adopting mandates to support entrepreneurial thinking and cross-campus entrepreneurship education. Libraries are at the center of such initiatives, with librarians helping students find their paths and make a difference. In this session, you’ll hear from four librarians supporting entrepreneurship in a variety of ways on diverse campuses. Topics will include outreach, instruction, campus and community engagement, and collection issues. We will ask audience members to contribute their own ideas, successes, and challenges with campus entrepreneurship.”

Speakers: Ash Faulkner, Steve Cramer, Genifer Snipes, and Marlinda Karo

Reflect, Express, Compare: Reimagine Your Teacher Identity with the TeachPhil U-model and Strengths-Based Reflective Practice

“Find out how our new flexible U-model can help you develop or refresh your teaching philosophy and assert your teacher identity. Choose the path through our process that reflects your strengths, and engage in a series of reflect-express-compare activities in response to trigger questions and sentence-completion prompts, with support from three experienced facilitators and handouts containing models and examples as additional guidance. By the end of the workshop you will have captured and connected the key features and contexts of your teaching, including your inspirations, guiding principles, goals, style, and distinctive practices, as the basis for an authentic congruent self-portrait.”

Speakers: Sheila Corrall, Amanda Folk, and Ethan Pullman

Teaching and Learning Centers: Recasting the Role of Librarians as Educators and Change Agents

“Teaching and Learning Centers in higher education are a growing force for educational development and changing the culture of teaching and learning. Librarians can transform their role as educators through joining forces with these Centers and developing a repertoire of approaches for becoming strategic partners, including the use of the ACRL Framework for Information Literacy as a catalyst for conversations and collaborations. This paper presents survey results from higher education teaching and learning centers across the U.S. which explore the involvement of librarians and perceptions of their contributions. These results point to ways for implementing deeper teaching and learning collaborations.”

Speakers: Sharon Mader and Craig Gibson

Beyond Town Versus Gown to Local Partner for Student Success: Recasting the Academic Library for Community Support

“Universities located in urban areas are partnering with neighboring communities to have an impact on middle and high school students’ pathway to higher education. The presenters will share their experience collaborating on local initiatives and programs which introduce students to the college library, both as an academic support and as a potential job and career opportunity. Attendees will learn how to connect with socially beneficial services and discuss how engagement with community programs might serve as a pipeline for bringing under-served populations into the library profession.”

Speakers: Steven Bell, Alison Armstrong, and Aaron Mason

I’m extremely pleased to see so much of our colleagues’ work featured at ACRL 2019. The volume is impressive, but, personally, I’m most gratified by the nature of the work and its alignment with university-level strategic priorities, which are themselves grounded in the land grant mission of The Ohio State University.

Go Bucks!

Damon E. Jaggars
Vice Provost and Director of University Libraries


Giving back to the Central Ohio community this holiday season

As we head off for the holidays, I thought it would be apropos to highlight the good efforts of many of our University Libraries colleagues to support underserved populations in Central Ohio.

Wrapping gifts for BBBS!

Recently, sixteen of our colleagues helped inspect and sort over 4,300 pounds of food and other non-perishable donations at the Mid-Ohio Food Bank. More than 525,000 individuals receive emergency food each year through the food bank, and the University Libraries is proud to support this organization. A special thank you to our colleagues who volunteered for this effort: Ariel BaconAnthony BakerQuanetta BattsTheresa CavinAllison DeVitoKeiko HillJian LeeBrent Lewis, Aaron Miller, Aaron OliveraJessica PageLisa Patton-GlinskiElaine PritchardKarla StriebMike Vanecko, and Patrick Visel.

Also, thanks to the generous support of University Libraries faculty and staff, we were able to collect and donate nearly 70 holiday gifts to Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Ohio. These gifts will be given to the boys and girls who participate in the mentoring programs sponsored by BBBS. We currently have nine colleagues who participate in Project Mentor, spending one hour a week mentoring a little brother or little sister. A special thanks to everyone who donated a gift! And thanks to our gift-wrapping crew! –  Sue Beck, Corazon BrittonLisa ChiongSandi Howe-ForneyJulie HigginsShannon Niemeyer, and Elaine Pritchard – who volunteered to wrap all of the gifts for our little brothers and sisters.

I’m deeply grateful to work with so many generous people who choose to live their values through action.

Wishing you all a safe and happy holiday season and a prosperous new year.

Damon E. Jaggars
Vice Provost and Director of University Libraries

Using organizational feedback to learn and improve


As you are probably aware, the University Libraries’ executive team participated in a full-day retreat in mid-July, leveraging what we learned from the 360-degree and formative review processes conducted this past spring, with the goals of identifying obstacles to success and actions to be taken to learn and improve.

First, we’d like to thank all of you who participated in these review processes by filling out surveys or providing free-text input. Overall, the feedback provided to us, both individually and as a team, was candid, constructive and useful.

I’m pleased to report that the retreat was successful in meeting its aims, and we are excited about sharing its outcomes. The group engaged in substantive, sometimes difficult, conversations about where we are both as a leadership team and an organization, as well as where we would like to be. We spoke frankly about the state of our organizational culture – as evidenced by the feedback provided by many of you – and about how our behaviors as individuals and as a team enable and sometimes hinder organizational success. We identified areas for learning and improvement and committed to making some significant changes to enable future success, in alignment with our strategic directions and collective values.

You might remember that I shared four themes aggregated from this feedback at our general meetings in July (slides from my presentation):

  • Accountability for action in line with values and strategic goals
  • Enabling people to grow and succeed in their roles
  • Visibility and opportunities for sharing vision and providing feedback
  • Changing our culture is still a work in progress

These themes provided the framing for our discussions, during which we identified three areas for learning and improvement for ourselves and the broader organization:

  • Develop a deeper understanding of what shared leadership means and how to do it successfully
  • Develop a deeper understanding of what participatory decision making is and how to successfully enable it
  • Improve organizational communication by implementing more defined process-oriented communications strategies

To develop a collective understanding of these concepts and supporting behaviors, we will need a shared vocabulary. So, we will begin the process of drafting definitions, along with tangible, relatable examples of what these and related concepts might look like in action. These definitions will be workshopped across the organization, so all will have the ability to ask questions and suggest improvements. From this, we’ll build out a glossary that will represent our common understanding of important organizational learning.

In addition, we anticipate creating some simple scaffolding to clarify processes around decision-making and communications, with the goal of providing some light structure to better support shared leadership and participatory decision making across the organization. Many of you provided feedback requesting a little more structure in these areas. As for the definitional work, these light weight tools will be shared across the organization and made available for all to use and hone.

So, expect to see communications about these efforts in the coming weeks and months, and look for opportunities to engage.

Please do not hesitate to contact us with questions or suggestions. Your engagement is both welcome and critical to the realization of our aspirations.

On behalf the Libraries’ executive team,

Damon E. Jaggars
Vice Provost and Director of University Libraries


Discovery to Access (D2A) initiative

I’m pleased to announce the launch of the University Libraries’ Discovery to Access (D2A) initiative, an effort focused on the ongoing improvement of our users’ experiences as they move from discovery of licensed content to accessing it. The initiative’s central purpose is the removal of barriers that confront users while utilizing Libraries’ licensed content, regardless of where such barriers are encountered in the discovery to access process. This work strongly aligns with our strategic values and focus areas of “Seamless discovery, access, and delivery” and “Organizational efficiency and impact.”*

This initiative will exercise and leverage our developing practices of empowering leadership and contribution by stakeholders across the organization. Led by Anita Foster, Electronic Resources Officer, the initiative’s core group includes stakeholders from across the Libraries, with participation anticipated to evolve in line with project needs. Karla Strieb, Associate Director for Content and Access, and Jennifer Vinopal, Associate Director for Information Technology, serve as the initiative’s co-sponsors.

D2A will begin by taking a look at the current state of the authentication processes used to access licensed resources, with the goals of identifying opportunities to reduce complication and confusion and provide a more seamless connection to content wherever users discover it. To help facilitate this exploration, two members of the core team recently participated in a NISO Live Event where they learned more about the authentication options available to libraries and had opportunities to discuss the privacy and data use concerns surrounding various methods.

Additional areas of exploration for the initiative will involve investigating options for customizing licensed resources to better serve primary audiences, as well as expanding opportunities for the discovery and access of content wherever users find it – inside or outside of Libraries’ services and systems. The initiative will examine tools currently used for end-user discovery, such as the Find It service, and identify opportunities for improvement.

This is an exciting initiative, with the important objectives of eliminating barriers and enhancing the success of students, faculty, and other users of Libraries’ content and services.

Damon E. Jaggars
Vice Provost and Director of University Libraries

*See the University Libraries Strategic Directions website for more information our values, focus areas and current initiatives.

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