James White Library Strategic Plan - 2002

Cover | Preface | Librairies and Change | Themes | Communities | Environment | Knowledge Resources | Human Resources | Appendix




The James White Library produced its first strategic plan in June 1988. Incorporating a self-study, the document reviewed the history and growth of the library up to that time, identified areas of weakness and need, and outlined several objectives. Chief among these objectives was the implementation of an integrated library system within five years. This goal was achieved in 1993 when the library installed the Innovative Interfaces (Innopac) system.

In 1994 a committee commenced work on a new strategic plan which culminated in the publication of "Beyond Walls" in January 1995. The title was intended to recognize that in a time of flux some elements would not change -- the library would continue to need "walls" -- yet the electronic revolution would produce new and exciting ways of sharing and accessing information. That plan outlined seven broad goals for James White Library :

  • •Reflecting our unique mission
  • •Enhancing the academic program
  • •Focusing on the patron
  • •Supporting a global mission
  • •Developing an excellent staff
  • •Remembering our Adventist heritage
  • •Securing financial support

During the intervening years James White Library has worked hard and consciously toward meeting these goals. The library in 2002 is significantly different in character from what it was in 1995. The library's walls are becoming increasingly transparent to the students and faculty of the university as users are able to access the library's digital resources from anywhere at any time. That process is on-going, which is why it is appropriate to think of a new plan as an extension of the previous one.

Meanwhile, the publication in 2002 of this new five-year plan for Andrews University creates an opportunity and a necessity for James White Library to review its own future planning. Entitled "The Andrews Experience" the university plan "looks squarely at the single most important part of the university, namely, the Andrews student." Several reasons are given for this major focus, and they seem important enough to summarize here:

  • •American education continues to struggle to achieve effective learning outcomes.
  • •Holistic education becomes a high priority when it is recognized that education is not complete until the student has been transformed into a knowledgeable, responsible and compassionate individual.
  • •The ideals of a Christian education require constant effort to achieve.
  • •Student success leads inevitably to institutional success, including financial stability.

Overall, the new plan "calls for Andrews University to forge an educational experience -- an Andrews experience -- whereby all members of our diverse student body are exposed to knowledge and its meaning, to responsibility and its undergirding values, and to eternal questions about themselves and their Creator. ... Our goal is nothing less than a life-changing experience for every Andrews student in keeping with the highest ideals of the Seventh-day Adventist philosophy of education."

This newly articulated focus on the student constitutes a mandate for each component of the university to examine its own focus and ensure that it harmonizes with the campus vision. For the James White Library it requires us to determine precisely in what ways we can contribute to the Andrews experience. The 2002 Plan is a conscious attempt to align the library with the campus vision.

Library Trends in 1994

"Beyond Walls" identified seven trends which at that time were seen to be influencing the development of academic libraries. Those seven trends were :

A change from ownership of resources to access.

Comment: This paradigm shift continues to be operative, although the issues surrounding the shift have become increasingly complex. There is now widespread discussion of issues such as preservation of resources, conditions under which access is not an acceptable substitute for ownership, and the quality and speed of access.

Print materials will continue to be important.

Comment: This statement appears to be as true in 2002 as it was seven years ago. While there is a continuing shift from print to electronic media, there is no question that print will continue to be an important segment of knowledge resources for a long time to come.

Cooperation and networking with other libraries.

Comment: This trend continues and accelerates. Many states of the U.S. now have resource-sharing networks, and currently the state of Michigan is actively moving in that direction. In the Adventist setting, ALICE has developed as an international consortium in which more than a dozen libraries participate.

Development of the electronic library.

Comment: The increasing availability of full-text resources, both serial and monographic, confirms this trend. E-books have become an active part of the library acquisitions market, and e-journal resources continue to multiply at a rapid rate.

Increased emphasis on distance education.

Comment: There has been spectacular development in distance education in the United States and abroad, creating an opportunity for libraries to provide a wide range of library services in support of off-campus learners. Several schools and academic departments on the Andrews campus have launched distributed education programs.

Restructuring of academic libraries.

Comment: The tough financial issues identified in 1994 have not diminished during the last eight years. Besides restructuring for effectiveness and efficiency, academic libraries are looking increasingly at cooperative networks in order to provide more resources at less cost.

Increased support of information technology in libraries.

Comment: Re-wording this to read: "Increased potential for library involvement in instructional technology" would better describe what is happening in academia. Academic librarians are increasingly involved in partnering with teaching faculty in the delivery of education.