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Strategic Planning Update

In April 2010, the Libraries produced a Summary Document from Phase II of the strategic planning process with five goals and a number of key strategies for achieving them.  In June 2010 an implementation plan was introduced for the 2010-11 academic year with 17 action items in strategic areas drawn from the summary document. 

We begin Year Two of the strategic plan with this overview of what has been achieved in these areas.  In addition to the action items, this report highlights other accomplishments from the past year that contributed to the goals laid out last spring. Staff from all departments of the Libraries contributed to these accomplishments, helping move the Libraries forward and laying the groundwork for continued progress in the years ahead. 

The next step is to develop priorities for the coming year.  The Strategic Vision Council will examine what was left undone or incomplete from last year’s plan.  We will also look at changing circumstances and emerging needs to develop a new set of goals and key strategies.  The Innovative Operations Council will then be asked to develop an implementation plan with action items for the 2011-2012 academic year.

Staff throughout the Libraries will have an opportunity to provide input throughout this process and will, of course, be key in the achievement of these new goals and action items.

Summary Document Update

The summary document laid out five areas with goals and strategies for each: Information Resources & Collections; Special Collections & Scholarly Communication; Service & Content Delivery; Engagement, Partnerships & Community Building; and Organizational Culture.

Information Resources & Collections

Goals and strategies in the area of Information Resources & Collections focused on reconfiguring our collections in a changing environment to provide more digital content; improved organization and access to all collections; and flexible policies and procedures for an uncertain and rapidly evolving environment.

During the past year the Libraries expanded digital content with growing collections of e-books, streaming media, e-journal backfiles, and open content from Hathi Trust and other sources via Holmes.  Material in offsite facilities was assessed and reorganized to provide easier discovery and retrieval.  A patron driven acquisition project was launched with eBrary, along with other efforts to study new ways of managing collection development in the growing area of electronic books. Preliminary research was done on development of core print collections at other institutions with the long term aim of freeing up for new uses space currently used for print resources.  Staff gathered input from faculty and other users that helped drive allocation decisions in retrospective monograph acquisition, end-of-year “big item” purchases, and application of strategic funds from the Provost’s office.

See Information Resources & Collections in the appendix for the complete list of goals, strategies, and accomplishments in this area.

Special Collections & Scholarly Communication

Goals and strategies in the area of Special Collections & Scholarly Communication focused on converting unique holdings of Burns Library to digital format; collecting, preserving, and providing access to faculty research and key university documents; and providing e-publishing and digital scholarship leadership and expertise to the campus.

New positions of Scholarly Communication Librarian and Associate University Librarian for Special Collections were created in the past year.   A Digital Program Planning Group was formed with several task forces focused on identifying items for digitization, setting policies and procedures, and increasing awareness of digitized content of value to BC faculty and students and the broader academic community. The number of digital objects hosted in the Libraries’ Digitool program increased 163% and now includes graduate and undergraduate honors theses, faculty and administrative staff publications, Boston College histories, and library special collections.  More than 400 books from the Libraries were digitized as part of the Boston Library Consortium-sponsored Open Content Alliance Scanning Center. Faculty were surveyed regarding their publication practices and e-scholarship service needs with follow-ups scheduled with faculty interested in making their research available via eScholarship @ BC, the Libraries’ institutional repository.

See Collections and Scholarly Communication in the appendix for the complete list of goals, strategies, and accomplishments in this area.

Service & Content Delivery

Goals and strategies in the area of Service & Content Delivery focused on expanded use of virtual and mobile services, consolidation of physical service points, development of new delivery options, revamping of the Libraries website, and integration of library services and content into campus learning environments.

A new version of the Libraries mobile site was launched in the Spring with connections to library hours, mobile research services, and the ability to renew loans, book study rooms, view course reserves, and get help.  Course reserve access was also integrated into Blackboard Vista. Hours for text and chat references services were expanded with use of text more than doubling over the previous year.  A new streamlined Libraries home page was launched with a direct search link into Holmes. New online subject portals and more than 20 new course-specific research guides were added.  O’Neill circulation and course reserves were consolidated into a single service point with a self checkout machine nearby. Testing and preliminary launch of the WorldCat Local service was completed for improved resource sharing with other Boston Library Consortium institutions.  Delivery services among the Chestnut Hill, Brighton, and Newton campuses were expanded to all faculty and graduate students. An Enhanced Instruction Group was established and began work on new ways of integrating library instruction into the university curriculum.

See Service & Content Delivery in the appendix for the complete list of goals, strategies, and accomplishments in this area.

Engagement, Partnership & Community Building

Goals and strategies in the area of Engagement, Partnership & Community Building focused partnerships with other campus entities to develop new and enhanced services and spaces, engaging with faculty around areas of mutual interest, and creating robust and vibrant marketing/communication and events programs.

Ongoing meetings with graduate and undergraduate student groups and online polling led to several changes, including: expansion of graduate study space with new furniture; addition of new scanning stations; adjustment of technology loan periods; and development of a library technology support center.   Collaboration with Instructional Design and eTeaching Services led to intergration of Course Reserve content into Blackboard Vista.  The library is also developing tools to allow faculty to search for library media materials from within Blackboard and to request digitization services for materials of interest. Linkable image slideshows promoting library resources were added to the website. New and renovated spaces in the Libraries include: the addition of study booths and vending machines on Level 1 of O’Neill; art galleries of on Levels 1 and 3 of O’Neill; and collaborative space in the Educational Resource Center. Libraries staff advised and assisted OMC staff on the BC Proud Refrain project which will be a web-based, multimedia collection of contemporary accounts and alumni recollections of life at BC through the years.

See Engagement, Partnership & Community Building in the appendix for the complete list of goals, strategies, and accomplishments in this area.

Organizational Culture

Goals and strategies in the area of Organizational Culture focused on flexible and adaptable structures, continued development of a learning organization, shared leadership, innovation at all levels, transparency, and a culture of assessment.

The Advisory Group on the Learning Organization was formed in the summer of 2010 and formed several task groups.  The Internal Communication task group established an electronic bulletin board and other internal communication mechanisms.  The Committee Inventory task group created an inventory of library groups and committees.  The Discussion Forums task group initiated monthly staff coffee hours with the University Librarian and began planning a program of guest speakers on organizational culture.  The Climate Assessment task group began preparation for fall implementation of ClimateQual, the Association of Research Libraries’ survey tool for assessment of library staff perceptions concerning the library's commitment to the principles of diversity, organizational policies and procedures, and staff attitudes.

See Organizational Culture in the appendix for the complete list of goals, strategies, and accomplishments in this area.

APPENDIX: Goals, Strategies, and Accomplishments


Goal:The Boston College Libraries excel at providing information resources and collections that support and inspire outstanding teaching, innovative research, and a culture of intellectual curiosity.

Key strategies:
  • Define core onsite print collection that is reflective of the needs of the various academic disciplines (reflects need for a reduced collection footprint in O’Neill, a key assumption of current space planning study).
  • Develop and implement collection-building strategies, policies, and procedures that are more agile and responsive to demonstrated user interests and needs (e.g., course reserves, purchase on demand).
  • Significantly increase the digital component of collections.
  • Experiment with new modes of information delivery (e.g., print on demand, purchase on demand, pay per view).
  • Provide high-quality metadata to enable discovery and facilitate management of collections.
Key Accomplishments
  • Core Onsite Print Collection
    • Collection Development did preliminary research to identify experiences at other institutions.
    • Discussions were held with Systems to discuss reporting needs which would support this initiative
    • A preliminary list of selection criteria was identified, noting that criteria would necessarily vary across disciplines.
    • Began relocation of St John’s Special Collections from Retrievex to Burns and TML
  • Collection Building Strategies, Policies, Procedures
    • Allocated Provost strategic funds based on faculty requests and subject specialists evaluations
    • Relied on faculty requests to prioritize end-of-year fund expenditures
    • Continued to create scenarios for future budget management,
    • Launched e-book patron driven acquisition pilot with eBrary and committed additional funding for ongoing project in FY2012
    • Purchased PDA-like called Evidence-Based Selection e-book collections in environmental sciences from Elsevier
    • Continued to work on scenarios for future budget management
  • Digital Collections
    • Increased collections of e-books.
    • Purchased additional e-journal backfiles with end-of-year funds
    • Developed e-only policy for journals with ongoing migration to e-only
    • Made commitment to Open Content Alliance in its 3rd-4th year
    • Added 1.3 million Hathi Trust records for out-of-copyright e-books to Primo
  • Information Delivery
    • Expanded ILL participation in Rapid to ensure quick turnaround on journal article requests
    • Began discussion of purchase on demand for print.
  • Metadata
    • Made committment to loading MARC records for databases
    • Recognized metadata problems in Holmes with launch of new interface
    • Partnered with Ex Libris on ongoing development of ALMA


Goal: The Libraries create and maintain a unified and distinguished digital library of institutional assets to enhance the reputation of the University and to support users’ research and scholarship.

Key Strategies
  • Convert the unique holdings of the Burns Library to digital formats.
  • Collect, preserve, and make widely accessible (preferably as open access) publications and research data from faculty and research centers.
  • Provide campus leadership and expertise in e-publishing initiatives.
  • Create state-of-the-art digital scholarship and publishing center that will guide and facilitate innovations by BC faculty and students in electronic experiments in alternative production and dissemination of digital projects.
  • Develop preservation program that identifies, prioritizes and ensures the preservation of most essential of BC’s collection.
Key Accomplishments
  • Burns Digital Collections
    • Increased the size of the collection hosted in Digitool by 207% (from 494GB to 1.023TB) and the number of digital objects by 163% (from 13,180 to 21,527).
    • Digitized 441 books (171,158 pages) as part of the BLC sponsored Open Content Alliance Scanning Center with a focus on O’Neill science books, Sesquicentennial initiatives, and faculty requests.
    • Developed criteria and process for digitization decisions.
    • Identified and began working on short list of digitization projects and collections for selective digitization.
    • Selected and began implementation of Archivist’s Toolkit, a management system for archival materials.
    • Developed programming to involve subject liaisons in outreach about special collections.
  • Faculty & Research Center Publications
    • Worked with subject liaisons to survey faculty regarding their publication practices and eScholarship service needs.
    • Set up meetings with all faculty who expressed interest in depositing in eScholarship.
  • E-publishing Leadership
    • Created and filled Scholarly Communication Librarian position.
    • Created position of AUL for Special Collections and Assistant to the Digital Collections Librarian.
    • Launched two new open access e-journals on the Open Journals System platform and converted two others to OJS.
    • Collaborated with Office of Marketing and Communications to put monographs and the BC Magazine into eScholarship.
    • Developed a proposal to digitize and display The Heights and the Sacred Heart Review.
  • Digital Scholarship
    • Held electronic dissertations and theses workshops and moved to e-only submission of dissertations and theses.
  • Preservation
    • Created a preservation needs task force to develop a triage process for identifying and dealing with items that have time-critical preservation needs.
    • Preserved Electronic Theses and Dissertations, a photographic archive, and a collection of historic New England legal documents through involvement with MetaArchive Collaborative.
    • Began working with MetaArchive partners on grant-funded project to develop tools and infrastructure for preserving digitized newspapers.
    • Made improvements in image quality and consistency via new equipment and staff training.


Goal:  The Libraries offer personalized, proactive, and pervasive services that are user-oriented and support research and information needs through reference, consultation, seamless access and delivery, and integration with teaching and learning.

Key Strategies
  • Develop comprehensive suite of virtual and mobile services to meet user demand for seamlessness, portability and ability to access content, complementing existing in-person services.
  • Expand virtual, self-directed instruction through tutorials and other distance methods.
  • Aggressively develop partnerships and tools to promote integration of library services, instruction, and content into courses of study and learning environments.
  • Consolidate physical service points for access services (circulation, ILL, reserves, document delivery) and expand physical delivery options.
  • Redesign library website and fully integrate discovery and delivery tools.
  • Greatly expand users’ ability to produce and experiment with multimedia.
Key Accomplishments
  • Virtual and Mobile Services
    • Launched new mobile site in Spring 2011 with library hours, new acquisitions lists, links to mobile research, loan renewals, course schedules, course reserves, study room booking, and more.
    • Added mobile search interface to Holmes One Search.
    • Began dedicated  BC-only chat reference service (in addition to shared AJCU service)
    • More than doubled average monthly text-a-librarian questions answered
    • Simplified e-mail reference access from website; doubled average monthly number of questions answered
  • Self-Directed Instruction
    • Added more than 20 new course-specific research guides
    • Launched new LibGuides-based subject portals
  • Integration Into Learning Environments
    • Collaborated with IDeS to integrate new, seamless Course Reserves widget into BlackBoard Vista.
    • Began working with IDeS to develop and deploy a Video/DVD search engine and video clip creator into Holmes.
    • Began collaboration with Provost’s office and ITS to integrate bibliographic and citation-checking services into Digital Measures (University’s faculty production software).
    • Established Enhanced Instruction Group to work on future instruction scenarios.
    • Conducted hands-on workshop for instruction librarians designed to help us think about the ways in which we design, build the framework, and deliver library instruction to our students.
    • Investigated the opportunities to develop a learning objects repository.
    • Began development of reusable templates in LibGuides.
  • Consolidated Service Points/New Delivery Options
    • Consolidated Course Reserves and Circulation in single service point
    • Established new sorting/reshelving areas in the stacks
    • Completed testing and preliminary launch of WorldCat Local/BLC resource sharing service
    • Developed collections for on site use in the Chemistry and Math Departments
    • Made request/delivery service between Newton, Brighton, and Chestnut Hill campuses available to all faculty and graduate students
    • Added self-checkout machine in O’Neill
  • Library Website
    • Developed recommendations for home page redesign by: identifying model sites; soliciting staff input; getting usage statistics on current services; conducting ten individual student user assessment interviews.
    • Created a new library homepage (based upon the report created by the Web Core Services Group) which integrates “core” library services with a direct search link into Holmes.
    • Began implementation of web-based single-sign-on (SSO) system to support new targeted, profile-based library services.
    • Installed embedded slideshows, with support for mouseovers and links to related sites from individual slides on the Libraries home page.
    • Conducted environmental scan of libraries’ use of social media and formulated policies and practices for Boston College Libraries social media.
  • Multimedia
    • Established a media production center with two workstations for video and audio production work in O’Neill Library.


Goal: The Libraries are campus partners in the formation of a new and vibrant intellectual community at Boston College.

Key Strategies
  • Create a robust marketing and communications program.
  • Create a vibrant events program.
  • Develop and leverage collaborations and partnerships with ITS, IDeS, and other campus entities to provide new and enhanced services and space for users.
  • Expand engagement with faculty around areas of mutual interest (collections, research support, scholarly communication and new models of publishing, etc.).
Key Accomplishments
  • Marketing/Communications
    • Added embedded slideshows to Libraries home to raise profile of unique library resources.
    • Conducted series of quick polls via website to gather user feedback.
    • Provided guidance and support to Office of Marketing Commucation on “Proud Refrain” alumni project.
  • Events Program
    • Began planning “Historical Exhibit and Walking Tour” for University Sesquicentennial Commission.
    • Explored process for developing events based on Library exhibits.
  • Collaboration on Services & Spaces
    • Conducted ongoing conversations to explore collaboration opportunities and deepen strategic partnership with Instructional Design & eTeaching Services.
    • Explored digital humanities projects (such as the Yeats project) which build on the special collections by digitizing and making available the collections for broader institutional use and beyond.
    • Worked with IDeS and Course Reserve staff to build and manage course reserve content in Blackboard Vista.
  • Faculty Engagement
    • Provided documentation for faculty on integrating course reserve content into Blackboard Vista.
    • Began development of tools for faculty to search library media materials from within Blackboard.
    • Developed processes for faculty to request digitization services for materials of interest, which can then be embedded in BlackBoard Vista for curricular use.
    • Worked with subject liaisons to survey faculty regarding their publication practices and eScholarship service needs.
    • Allocated Provost strategic funds based on faculty requests and subject specialists evaluations
    • Relied on faculty requests to prioritize end-of-year fund expenditures


Goal: The Libraries are distinguished for an organizational culture built on principles, practices, and structures that engender goodwill, trust, collegial respect, and a commitment to service.

Key Strategies
  • Develop staff capacity for shared leadership.
  • Create flexible and adaptable organizational structures which enable fluidity and operational flexibility, and which foster innovation and continuous improvement.
  • Expand understanding and functioning of the Libraries as a learning organization.
  • Encourage staff creativity, risk-taking, and personal mastery.
  • Encourage transparency at all levels of the organization.
  • Develop culture of assessment throughout the organization.
Key Accomplishments
  • Shared Leadership
    • Formed Advisory Group on the Learning Organization (AGLO).
  • Flexible Structures
    • Developed full inventory of library committees and groups was developed.
    • Began creation of guidelines and recommendations for ongoing maintenance of inventory
  • Learning Organization
    • Presented “Good to Great” paradigm as part of the Libraries’ January Information Sessions.
    • Drafted statement of purpose and planning checklist for a guest speaker series -- “Other Voices: Perspectives from Guest Speakers on Organizational Culture and Climate”.
  • Transparency
    • Held monthly staff coffee hours with the University Librarian.
    • Established prominent AGLO presence on the staff wiki, with continuous updates.
    • Launched first version of an electronic bulletin board, with information of interest to library staff,.
    • Drafted framework for an internal communication plan for the libraries for review by University Librarian.
  • Assessment
    • Began preparation for implementation of ARL ClimateQual survey in fall, including discussions for staff engagement.
    • Drafted a matrix of these themes, action plans, owners, and outcomes to be used as a working document for charting progress in the area of organizational culture.