2015 - 2020
ENGAGE. EMPOWER. EXCEL.
Message From Catherine
I am very pleased to share Western Libraries’ new Strategic Plan with you. The plan builds upon Western Libraries’ key areas of strength: our people,
our dedication to service and to the core mission of the
University, as well as our rich and diverse world-class
research collections. These are the very strengths that drew
me to Western University as Vice-Provost & Chief Librarian
one year ago.
I would like to personally thank each member of our
community who participated in the development of this
plan. Staff, students, faculty, and community partners
took advantage of the many engagement activities and
opportunities for input to our planning process. Your
contributions were thoughtful, provocative, informative
and constructive. You made it clear that you have high
expectations for Western Libraries and our contribution to
student success and research outcomes now and into the
future. You see engagement, collaboration, and innovation
as critical elements of our continued success.
Together, through the creation of this strategic plan, we
have identified core strategies for Western Libraries to
accelerate excellence in research, teaching, and scholarship
at Western University over the next five years. These
strategies embrace the transformations occurring in higher
education, research, and scholarly communication which
impact our work, and demonstrate our commitment to
build and strengthen our existing capacity, and to evolve
our services and practices in the digital age. They encourage
us to engage in new ways, to empower our community, and
to excel where it matters most.
The Strategic Plan represents our overarching aspirations
in the achievement of our Mission and Vision. It will guide
us in the identification of priorities and strategic initiatives
and inform Western Libraries’ annual operational planning
processes. The plan will be brought to life over the course of
the coming five years, adapting to changing circumstances
and opportunities that arise.
As we embark on this next phase of Western Libraries’
journey, I encourage you to continue the conversation
and to share your ideas about how we can best realize our
strategies and achieve our outcomes. As we have done so
well in the past, we must continue to work together to forge
new ground and to secure a bright and exciting collective
future. Please join us as we journey to 2020.
Vice-Provost and Chief Librarian
ENGAGE. EMPOWER. EXCEL.
Western Libraries has been bringing people and information together as a key partner in the academic enterprise at Western
since 1901. It has been our responsibility and is our
privilege to cultivate knowledge creation and contribute
to excellence in teaching, research, and scholarship at
Western. In order to continue this important work, the
activities we engage in and the capacities we build must
Accordingly, we launched our strategic planning initiative,
FLIP: Future Library in Progress, in February 2015.
Designed to engage and inspire our key stakeholders –
Western’s students, faculty, researchers, and staff, as well
as our partners across campus and in the broader London
community – we challenged our user community and
ourselves to think boldly about the future and to chart a
course for Western Libraries that would propel us forward
through 2015 and beyond.
With the University’s new Strategic Plan, Achieving
Excellence on the World Stage, to serve as our guide,
we reached out and engaged with over 3,000 members of
our user community. We listened, learned, and reflected
a great deal about our current state and about what the
people we support and work alongside need and expect
from us. We also challenged some of the perceptions that
exist about the nature of our work and our prospective
contributions to the University’s core missions of teaching
and research. Borne out of these engagements, a new
Vision for Western Libraries was conceived, along with
ambitious strategic directions that will guide us over the
next five years to realize our potential and make an even
greater difference in the work and lives of the people we
My service at Western extended over some 44 years.
Weldon--and, in particular, the staff at Weldon--not only
made everything easier. They were indispensable to
everything I achieved. And Weldon and its people remain
indispensable to our students, in particular.
I can’t even imagine what my studying experience
at Western as a music student would have been
like if we didn’t have a music library. It has had an
extremely positive impact on my time at Western as
an undergraduate student.
Strategic Planning Methodology
Our Strategic Planning Process
Western Libraries applied the Balanced Scorecard (BSC) methodology to create this Strategic Plan. The methodology
charts the organization across four Strategic Pillars and enables us to make fundamental decisions about our Vision,
Mission, and strategic priorities for the next five years. Going forward, it positions us to translate strategy into action and
will allow us to measure our performance and results.
A Strategy Map forms the foundation of the BSC approach and communicates our strategic directions in a single diagram
that maps our Vision, Mission, and Values across the four Strategic Pillars.
To build Western Libraries’ Strategy Map, we reflected on five key questions:
The answers to these questions shape our Strategy Map, which is in essence the blueprint for Western Libraries’ 2015-
2020 Strategic Plan.
What is our Mission and
Vision for the next five
To achieve these outcomes,
what processes and practices
must we excel at?
To achieve our Mission and
Vision, what outcomes must we
achieve for the communities we
In order for us to excel in these
areas, what capacity do we need,
specifically linked to organizational
culture, staff, technology, and
And finally, to build and sustain
this capacity, what resources do
we need and how will we utilize
these resources to sustain Western
01 Mission and Vision
03 Pillar #2: Strategies of
02 Pillar #1: Strategic Stakeholder
04 Pillar #3: Organizational Capacity
05 Pillar #4: Sustainability
STEERING COMMITTEE MEMBERS
1Our Strategic Plan must be developed from the needs and expectations of
our user community.
2Our Strategic Plan must reflect the complex and changing landscape in
which we operate.
3Our planning process must be collaborative and engaging.
4 Our process must be trust-based and transparent.
5Our process must challenge the status quo.
Catherine Steeves (Chair)
Melanie Mills (Project Manager)
Anne Becker (Consultant, Pathways Consulting Group Inc.)
Guiding Principles for Strategic Planning
Throughout our strategic planning process, we were guided by the following principles:
To honour these principles, we grounded our planning in continuous learning and ongoing consultation and
engagement. Guiding the process was a Steering Committee comprised of eight Western Libraries staff representing a
cross-section of the organization. The Steering Committee identified and defined the community engagement processes,
reviewed and reflected on the data gathered, and used the information collected to create the Strategy Map.
The libraries and seminars on research strategies are
amazing and have helped me to be more efficient
and smarter with how I work.
Our strategic planning process encompassed three primary phases: Stakeholder Engagement, an
Environmental Scan, and finally, Data Analysis and Decision Making.
Western Libraries Staff
• Strategic Planning Initiative
• Focus Groups
• Staff Survey
• Western Libraries’ READS
• Regular and Ongoing
• Undergraduate and
Graduate Student Surveys
• On-site White-Boarding (i.e.,
Faculty and Campus Partners
• Faculty Survey
• Targeted Focus Groups:
• Teaching and Learning
• Archival & Research
• Strategic discussions with