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About the Libraries

Mission

Inclusivity, Diversity, Equity, and Accessibility

Guiding Principles

Three-to-Five Year Priorities

Mission

The Jean and Alexander Heard Libraries are fundamental to the university’s goal of advancing scholarship and learning. We collect, preserve and make accessible a wide variety of resources, we partner with faculty and students to shape research, and we encourage the development of informed scholars and engaged citizens.

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Inclusivity, Diversity, Equity, and Accessibility

Vanderbilt Libraries acknowledge our responsibility to work as allies in an effort to create a community that is open-minded and anti-racist.

Modern librarianship adheres to an essential set of core values that include freedom of speech, promotion of diversity, and recognition of our social responsibility to inform and educate for progress. As our mission statement makes clear, we want to be part of the effort to improve or solve the critical problems of our society. Libraries nurture and inspire the next generation of leaders in America—leaders who will do better, be better, and take us to a better place.

We recognize the challenges and we commit to furthering the mission of the  Vanderbilt Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion to create an equitable, diverse, inclusive, and accessible educational environment both on campus and off. The Libraries are dedicated to challenging and dismantling systemic oppression by acknowledging our shortfalls and recognizing that inequalities in higher education are pervasive and continue to hinder access to information and impede scholarship. We pledge to work towards Inclusivity, Diversity, Equity, and Accessibility (IDEA) by fostering a culture of tolerance, empathy, and proactive change in these areas: Outreach & Engagement; Collection Development & Information Discovery; Research & Learning; and Library Team.

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Guiding Principles

Facilitate Easy and Equitable Access to Collections and Spaces

  • Create environmentally sound, secure, open, and welcoming spaces for creative and scholastic contemplation, cross-disciplinary collaboration, experimentation, and discovery.
  • Ensure accessibility to library physical and digital collections by clearly organizing content and providing users multiple ways to locate and retrieve material, both on-site and remote. 
  • Develop library collections with transparency, reflecting the research and teaching needs of the university community and the library’s commitment to inclusion, diversity, equity, and access. 
  • Work with researchers and publishers to enable lasting change to scholarly communications and shift to a more accessible information-sharing environment, including promoting and enabling scholarship in open venues.  

Inspire Learning in and Outside of the Classroom

  • Teach 21st-century research skills, critical information literacy, and digital citizenry; educate in formats and frameworks that accent reach, the creation of new knowledge, and platforms for sharing research.
  • Collaborate with faculty and campus partners to provide student learning opportunities for thorough library instruction and cooperatively designing learning outcomes design. 
  • Create opportunities for student experiential learning in curricular, immersion, and library work. 
  • Develop creative, flexible, and entrepreneurial approaches to engagement, outreach, and learning that align with campus initiatives, priorities, and communities.   

Cultivate a Diverse and Expert Library Workforce 

  • Foster an inclusive culture by demonstrating our commitment to diversity, equity, and accessibility in recruitment and retention. 
  • Develop a culture of assessment to support, scale, and sustain services with a focus on impacting the work of campus stakeholders.
  • Showcase the Libraries’ expertise to enrich library praxis, services and operations, as well as bring the libraries’ perspective to advance campus-wide initiatives, committee work, and institutional planning. 
  • Empower library staff to engineer and respond to ongoing changes in information science, data management, and scholarship and teaching.  

Advance Scholarly Research and Informed and Creative Teaching 

  • Invest in the pedagogical development of librarians and build faculty partnerships for collaborating, supporting, and enhancing their research and teaching at Vanderbilt.
  • Foster faculty and library staff scholarship by identifying new computationally enabled methods of creating and sharing knowledge; expand use of open venues for information dissemination. 
  • Guide, design, and maintain student and faculty data management throughout the research life cycle.
  • Preserve and provide access to physical and digital resources that inspire original research and provide curricular and co-curricular instructional programs.

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Three-to-Five Year Priorities

Increase Faculty and Researchers' Productiivty and Output
Build a stronger digital infrastructure to support researchers' emerging needs

  1. Launch and promote the Digital Commons, a center to equip faculty with digital skills for research and teaching.
  2. Identify the libraries' unique value proposition on campus for information and digital technologies, avoiding unnecessary overlap and confining partnerships with campus stakeholders in this space.
    1. Assist researchers with acquiring/ licensing unique datasets
    2. Keep up-to-date and vet modern research tools and recommend them for campus use
    3. Create opportunities for serendipity
    4. Participate in the entire research lifecycle
  3. Investigate and report the libraries' ability to grow capacity in monitoring, measuring, and communicating the research output of the university.
    1. Promotion of faculty scholarship, e.g. Wikicite/Wikidata

Equip Vanderbilt Students for Life-Long Information Fluency
Ensure that students across disciplines and schools graduate with a baseline of knowledge and skills in evidence-based information and data literacy. Raise the reputation of Vanderbilt as global leaders in information and data criticality. 

  1. Begin the development of systemic information and data mastery programming.
  2. Programmatically ensure that all incoming students (graduates and undergraduates) have the information skills to be successful in their course work.
    1. Identify and define an info/digital/data literate student/
    2. Develop Student Learning Outcomes
  3. Develop a version of the program for the alumni and broader community for life-long learning, career success, and citizenship.

Increase Opportunities for Interdisciplinary Engagement and Experimentation
Redesign library spaces to elevate the student experience and the profile of Vanderbilt within the broader community, while protecting, preserving, and making available on-demand Vanderbilt's valuable collections.

  1. Create purpose-built, modular, and consolidated off-site storage for Special Collections, Archives, and books.
    1. Launch comprehensive feasibility study for a purpose-built, modular, and consolidated off-site storage for Special Collections, Archives, Gallery
    2. Science & Engineering Library renovation planning
  2. Investigate a VU sponsored partnership with local universities and colleges for environmentally stable shared print, storage, and retrieval.
  3. Develop a comprehensive plan for library environments across campus.
    1. Investigate creating spaces with technology that supports content creation, e.g. podcasting studios, green screens
    2. Flexible spaces that accommodate multiple ways of learning
    3. Spaces to engage with VUs unique content, e.g. special collections and gallery
    4. Develop staff spaces
      1. Work-at-home assessment and hoteling space

Deepen Faculty and Student Engagement with the Libraries' Resources
Proactively connect students and faculty with Information resources and open the library's collections to more audiences in and outside of Vanderbilt. 

  1. Integrate data, objects, archival material, and primary sources into curricula for richer teaching and learning experiences.
    1. Curriculum Mapping
    2. More deeply embed in Brightspace
  2. Develop a model to preserve and share (beyond campus) our researchers' digital objects.
    1. Investigate ways to support researcher's databases
  3. Through new collecting and metadata frameworks, expand access and discovery of hidden and marginalized history, peoples, and ideas.
    1. Enhance metadata

Optimize Access to Collections and Information Resources
Through strategic regional partnerships and novel collecting and access models, responsively connect faculty and students with the quality information resources they need and want, when they need and want them.

  1. Define and articulate an acquisitions and contemporary collections strategy and philosophy, preferring need- and request-driven information access over speculative purchase and permanent ownership.
  2. Develop same or next-day delivery service from new off-site storage facilities.
  3. Develop staff expertise in providing access to new and emerging forms of information for research, teaching, and learning (e.g. research data sets, text mining corpora).
  4. Articulate a university-wide stance and policy on licensed and open access information resources.
    1. All librarians able to articulate a shared philosophy with knowledge of their domains

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