Planning, planning, planning.

Many people on campus, including some of our colleagues at the Library, have been hard at work the past few months drafting ISU’s new strategic plan. This morning at President’s Council we heard an progress update and next steps. ISU’s new plan connects in a timely fashion with the strategic planning processes for the ISU Foundation and the Board of Regent’s strategic planning. This makes very good sense, since connections with the Foundation and Regents are so important. President Leath’s four priority areas: student success, increasing ISU’s research profile, economic development, and creating a welcoming, safe, and inclusive campus environment are the foundations of the new strategic plan. Open forums on the new ISU strategic plan are scheduled for March 31, 4:30-6pm and April 5, 12-1:30 pm. I’m planning to go on March 31. Please think about attending one of the forums. And, if you would like to join me at forum on the 31st that would be great.

As I was listening to the update at President’s Council I realized how timely this was for us in the Library. Our Library strategic plan, with goals for a superior user experience, with responsive and anticipatory resources and services, dynamic collections, empowering users through teaching information literacy and research skills, engagement, and physical spaces, and a superior staff experience, with an agile organizational structure and healthy culture, connects very well with President Leath’s priorities. We are making progress on many of the action items and initiatives suggested last year by staff members. In just a few weeks we’ll see the first draft for the university’s new plan and just a few weeks after that, at our April 12th All Staff meetings, we’ll talk about our progress on the Library’s plan. Then, this summer will settle on objectives for next academic year. Planning, planning, and more planning, it’s an ongoing process.

On a completely different topic, in national library-related news:  Earlier today Heather Joseph of SPARC reported the very good news that FASTR, the Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act, has moved out of the Senate HSGAC Committee and onto the Senate floor. This means that FASTR is now free to be considered by the full Senate as a stand-alone bill, or to be attached to another bill that might be moving for a vote. You can find more information about FASTR at: and

And, finally, I really like the ideas that have been suggested so far for naming the research lecture series we will co-sponsor with the Office of the Vice President for Research. There’s still time – please get your creative ideas to me ASAP.


Maybe it’s the nice weather these past few days and with it the promise of Spring that makes everything seem so much more promising, do-able, achievable.  Some days working toward our goals can feel pretty daunting but I know we are making progress. I hope you agree.

A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to make a presentation to President’s Council about our University Library. To those of you helped with content for the PowerPoint slides – thank you very much.  President’s Council meets once a month or so, and often includes short presentations from various campus units. I was delighted to be invited to present. My plan was to remind Council members about the services and collections we provide, tell them about some of our newer initiatives underway, and finally – for everyone there to recognize the important contributions we in the University Library make to learning and research and that we want to collaborate with them to increase our contributions in these areas.  Message received!  It turns out that just about everyone wants to talk with us.  OK, I’m exaggerating a bit, but over the past few weeks several campus leaders have contacted us with ideas for collaborating.  Not all of these ideas will develop but others should lead to tangible ways for us to make even more contributions to student success at Iowa State. There are two collaborations coming soon to which I want to alert you.

First, the ITS Solution Center, where ISU students, staff, and faculty go for technology support, will move from Durham into Parks Library later this semester.  The exact location is still being determined but it will be somewhere on the Parks first floor, in close proximity to the stand-up computers, printers, and our main service desk.  Solution Center staff will continue to provide help with software, networking, and other IT service issues as they do now and will also assist with the technology-related support that our library users sometimes need, including printing and scanning assistance, etc.  This is a great way for the Library and ITS to collaborate, but even more importantly it offers convenient access to technical expertise for campus.

Dead and Finals Week. We will try an experiment this semester: Parks Library will pilot being open 24/7 during dead week and finals week.  On Sunday, April 24th we’ll open at our usual time, 12:30 p.m., and we will stay open until 5p.m. on Friday, May 6th.  This extra service is something libraries at some other universities have successfully provided in recent years, and apparently this is something that ISU students have asked for off-and-on.  Since I’d been thinking about it anyway, when I saw the student government campaign poster listing 24/7 access as a platform issue for one of the candidates I decided it was the time to seriously consider the idea and discuss it with Administrative Cabinet. And Admin Cabinet has agreed to give it a try.

There are many, many details still to work out, including investigating CyRide schedules, communicating with other units such as campus police, not to mention scheduling.  For this to be a successful project, we’ll need an adult employee here around the clock for those 13 days.  Please be thinking how you might participate: maybe sign up to staff a night shift or two (I’m planning to), take an extra daytime desk shift or chat session for a colleague who flexes their schedule to work an evening shift, or be flexible about rescheduling a regular meeting for a co-worker who has changed their schedule. There are many ways for each of us, throughout the Library, to contribute.  I am confident we can work together to pull this off and that ISU students will appreciate this contribution to their academic success.  More information about this will follow.

Up next:  Next Tuesday, the Library is sponsoring the final game of the ISU’s Women’s basketball season.  We play West Virginia University and their library dean, Dr. Jon Cawthorne, will visit campus that day to join me at the game for a bit of friendly library/basketball rivalry.  In addition to coming to the game, Dr. Cawthorne will make a presentation at 1:30 on Tuesday. Please check CyPoint for details about his presentation. The game sponsorship gives us another way to support Iowa State students plus provides an outreach opportunity to our area library colleagues – we have invited guests from academic and public libraries around the state to visit campus, tour Parks and go to the game.

Seeking creative ideas:  Another interesting developing partnership is with the Office of the Vice President for Research, for a research lecture series co-sponsored by the University Library and VPR.  We are still in the early discussion stages and need some creative thinkers to assist. Please send me your creative ideas for names for the lecture series – something that will draw faculty in and connect the Library to research.

Please be in touch if you have any questions, suggestions, or comments.