Academic Library

Academic Library

Strategic Plan

For several decades, the design school’s main library – housed in a landmark building on a beautiful campus – had been marginalized administratively and academically. A barren plaza, gloomy entrance and dated furnishings were immediately apparent, while a smaller branch on an adjunct campus seemed disconnected. In addition, a change in library leadership during a recent institution-wide planning process left it on the sidelines.
Yet inspiring collections, an eager professional staff, and generous spaces offered untapped possibilities.


The school’s library needed repositioning as an essential player in the daily life and definition of the school, and a clear sense of momentum and excitement under its new leadership.


The starting point was a series of visits to libraries at comparable academic institutions in the region, to analyze facilities, collections, access options, programs, fundraising, and administrative practices. The strategic planning process that followed engaged hundreds of students and scores of faculty, and showed that the library mattered to the campus.

Product &

• Crafted a strategic plan for the design school’s library that reinforced its value by aligning key objectives with the school’s major goals, following input broadly solicited across the institution.
• Connected the strategic plan to larger institutional capital and program initiatives to reposition the library as a critical partner in meeting academic and fundraising goals.
• Conducted a first-ever staff retreat that engaged both staff and professionals in imagining the future, to secure the “ownership” of the strategic plan by its implementers.