The academic library has always been the go-to hub on campus for students to develop the skills that will propel them towards success post-graduation. But in a world where budget cuts and university funding rule, it’s important that you can communicate the value of your academic library in a multitude of ways: not only do you need to support students, but you also need to provide resources for faculty and staff—and help your host academic institution thrive.
One way to prove the value of your academic library on campus is to take the time to align with the university mission statement. Each university has a mission that’s different from the next and many times they embody multiple goals. By breaking the mission statement down, you can determine where the library’s workings intersect with it. Here are three ways your library can support your campus mission.
As college campuses become more diverse, many universities are building their mission statements around bringing students of different backgrounds, cultures, and beliefs together. Check out this statement from Harvard College’s mission: they strive to promote “a diverse living environment, where our students live with people who are studying things that are different from them, who come from different walks of life, and have evolving identities. This not only deepens the intellectual transformation, but also creates the conditions for a social transformation – who they are, and how they relate to others.”
Heady stuff, but this goal of intellectual transformation is something your library can work to achieve. Promote this kind of mission by offering resources as diverse as the student body. Bring in collections that offer a wide range of perspectives on issues to give students access to multiple viewpoints and help them form a more complete understanding.
Promote ethical leadership
If your institution’s got similar values as Pitzer College, whose mission statement details a wish to produce “engaged, socially responsible citizens of the world through an academically rigorous, interdisciplinary liberal arts education emphasizing social justice, intercultural understanding and environmental sensitivity,” you’ve got a great opportunity to add value to your offerings by helping promote ethical leadership.
Consider hosting monthly themed events around a different topic related to social responsibility. Highlight local leaders doing great things, host professor-led discussions on hot issues and let students know about the latest publications from prominent authors in the field. Not only can books, digital collections and physical resources teach students about how to become socially responsible leaders, offering discussions, forums and presentations in your library’s space can be a great way to get your campus talking.
Promote new ways of learning
Universities are always on the cutting-edge of education, and if your school’s mission is to promote new ways of learning, your library can be an integral part of realizing that goal. If, like George Mason University, your college is committed to innovation and “new forms of education that serve our students better and new paths of research that can uncover solutions to the world’s greatest challenges,” your library can help achieve this goal.
Stay up-to-date on the latest research technologies and keep your collections filled with relevant journals and books. Host craft fairs, debates and hackathons to get students learning in new ways. And if you’ve got your eyes on a new 3-D printer for your makerspace, let your dean know that the investment is worthwhile because of how it will help students explore new ways of learning.
Once you understand the core values of your university’s mission statement, you can transform or build programming and resources around it, making your library an even more valuable asset to the campus and university community than before.
Looking to step up your library’s resources? Take a look at our checklist of the 9 innovations shaping academic libraries today!