Information ServicesLibrary strategy

The Andersonian Library Strategy document sets out the University Library's vision, mission and key strategic aims for the next four years.

The Andersonian: a library at the heart of the University

Library Strategy 2016 to 2020


As a research-led university, Strathclyde's students and academic colleagues place high value on the importance of a strong, ambitious and well-resourced library.

The Library may mean different things to different people however demand continues to grow year on year for our services, spaces and collections.

Some researchers may never visit the physical Library. Yet they make daily use of e-journals and databases and contribute to the 3,085,000 million journal article downloads per annum from content acquired and licensed by the Library.

Some students spend long hours in independent study in our libraries, working quietly alone or increasingly in groups. An increase of almost 20% in library visits over the last four years, rising to over 950,000 visits last year, is a testament to the continuing appeal of the Andersonian Library as a popular neutral study space. It's a 'common ground' where students want to meet, think, learn and engage with their chosen discipline and academic peers.

Relative to others in the sector, and measured against our comparator groups, Strathclyde enjoys competitive levels of investment in information provision and benchmarks well in terms of the number of library study seats.

Undergraduate student satisfaction with library resources and study space at Strathclyde is high. The Andersonian Library currently enjoys 2nd place in Scotland with an NSS score of 93% in response to Q.16 (the Library resources and services are good enough for my needs).

We are less highly rated by PGR and PGT students, where current satisfaction levels in surveys are lower. We need to work with colleagues across the institution to devise strategies for improving the postgraduate experience.

We will need to take advantage of new technologies to modernize further so that we deliver innovative, bold and ambitious services which meet the changing needs of our customers. In particular, there are new services we need to develop for which we currently do not have the capacity. This capacity can only be developed by changing the ways in which we currently do things, freeing resources from some service areas to take on new services which add value to customers across the institution.

At its best, a University Library is a core and trusted academic service providing vital professional support and partnership in learning, education and research. That is why this strategy is important.

Our sector is going through major change, from greatly enhanced student expectations to changes in the publishing landscape. We are not immune to the financial and market pressures in the wider information sector, itself exacerbated by the recent uncertainties from the prevailing economic and political volatility.In particular, the impact of the UK's exit from the EU will have implications across a number of fronts. It may constrain the University's ability to engage successfully in international research and business partnerships or attract international students. For our own area, it may prove difficult to sustain funding levels for information resources within currency fluctuations and changing markets.

In this context, it's time to revisit our priorities and future direction with those who use our services most - our students and our academic colleagues.

This strategy is designed to stimulate debate and discussion to help us achieve that goal through engagement and dialogue with our academic, student and Professional Services partners.

University Librarian, September 2016

Strategic overview

Our vision

To deliver high-quality information resources and services, through leading-edge information technology, which is recognised internationally as innovative, creative and sector-leading.

Our mission

To support learning, teaching and research by providing the best possible services, information, guidance and support both in the Library and digitally.

Our five strategic development themes

These mirror the University’s 5 Strategic and Cross-Cutting Themes and identify ways in which the Library contributes to institutional success.

ThemeKey aims
Strategic Theme 1: Outstanding student experience
  • to provide welcoming, well-trained staff offering a variety of support and guidance to all customers
  • to ensure that all services, on and off campus, are equally available and streamlined
  • to provide access to extensive and wide-ranging resources which support and stimulate learning and academic endeavour
  • to provide high quality, technology-rich environments which facilitate student collaboration and the generation of innovative approaches to learning
  • to deliver training and support to students to facilitate their learning, maximise their use of information resources and enhance their academic success
  • to seek out, welcome and embrace customer feedback, using it to shape our services and ensure they are responsive to changing needs
Strategic Theme 2: Internationally-leading research
  • to provide a high-quality, responsive portfolio of materials that support research activity
  • to work in partnership with academic and research staff and students to identify, prioritise and support their requirements and collaborative activities
  • to ensure appropriate metadata (in PURE/Strathprints/RDM) so that Strathclyde research outputs are discovered and cited
  • to maintain a digital collection of research outputs that showcase Strathclyde researchers and expose their work to an international audience
  • to strengthen, increase access to, and promote the use of our unique and distinctive archives and special collections
Strategic Theme 3: World-leading innovation and impact
  • to promote University knowledge capital through Open Access
  • to deliver information services to collaborators and identified community groups
Cross-cutting Theme: Global engagement
  • To promote unique archives and special collections through the innovative use of technology
  • To build reputation through innovation and leading-edge technology
Cross-cutting Theme: Operational excellence
  • to deliver services through a single intuitive service point online and in person which will deliver the same service to the same high-quality standard irrespective of geographical location
  • continue to monitor and develop our services through regular customer and staff feedback to deliver improvements
  • deliver a responsive portfolio of information resources for learning and research
  • promote a knowledgeable, positive, and compliant culture with respect to copyright and licensing among staff and students

Our strategic targets, 2016 to 2020

  1. To continue to improve postgraduate student satisfaction with Library resources and services achieving a year-on-year improvement from 87% (PRES) and 89% (PTES) to 90% by 2020.
    1. Target: 2020
    2. Supporting Strategic Theme 1

  2. To develop Library space to provide a dedicated Research Zone for early career researchers which aligns with feedback from the PRES and PTES and encourages and facilitates inter-disciplinary research conversations in support of the University's PGT/PGR student number targets.
    1. Target: 2018
    2. Supporting Strategic Theme 2

  3. To continue to build high-quality, relevant library collections that support academic research interests and teaching activity across the University.
    1. Target: 2020
    2. Supporting Strategic Theme 2

  4. To continue to develop the Library as the study space of choice in the University, increasing the range and availability of spaces and services through refurbishment projects and opening hours and complementing other campus learning spaces, most notably in The Place.
    1. Target 2020.
    2. Supporting Strategic Theme 1

  5. To continue to achieve <90% satisfaction with Library services in the National Student Survey in each year of the plan.
    1. Target 2016-2020
    2. Supporting Strategic Theme 1

  6. To develop and deliver effective Library services to support business partnerships and knowledge exchange developments.
    1. Target 2020
    2. Supporting Strategic Theme 3

  7. To be recognized as an internationally important centre for research through showcasing and opening up access to our research outputs, archives and special collections.
    1. Target: 2015
    2. Supporting Strategic Theme 2

  8. To achieve year-on-year growth of our digital collections through increased value-for-money deals negotiated collaboratively e.g. through SHEDL.
    1. Target: 2016-2020
    2. Supporting Strategic Theme 2

  9. To achieve a successful transition to sustainable Open Access and Research Data Management services.
    1. Target: 2020
    2. Supporting Strategic Themes 2 and 3

  10. To work across the information sector in an advocacy role to ensure Strathclyde is well-positioned to benefit from the outcomes of the EU exit.

'One Library, One ISD': Our values

The Library's value statements define the behaviours we believe should underpin our service culture and help us achieve our vision.

  1. We listen to our customers, encouraging feedback to ensure we put their needs at the heart of service planning and respond to shape services accordingly.
  2. We take pride in providing high-quality services and stewardship of our extensive research collections.
  3. We aim to create an open and supportive working environment where we are always receptive to feedback from staff which delivers positive change.
  4. We strive for open collaboration and integrity in our dealings with both colleagues and customers, working in partnership to develop our services and facilities.
  5. We are ambitious and bold in pursuit of innovation and creativity to shape and deliver our services.
  6. We are passionate about the pursuit of excellence.

The Library's Strategic Development Themes: 2016 to 2020

The Library's strategic plan is structured around the University's 5 Strategic and Cross-cutting Themes, each with a set of key aims and strategic objectives. These will be reviewed annually and translated into an annual operational plan as part of a 3 to 5-year rolling programme of activity.

Measuring success

We will:

  • develop an annual operational plan and set of performance indicators to help measure success towards our vision and strategic targets
  • benchmark our key performance indicators with a range of comparator groups and will triangulate the results of this with other external surveys (e.g. NSS, PRES, PTES) and other university surveys (e.g. Induction, First Year Student Experience)
  • undertake an annual Library Satisfaction Survey to build up a picture of activity, expectations and satisfaction levels which will inform planning priorities
  • run a series of targeted feedback campaigns to ensure new service developments meet student needs