Libraries play an important role in academia. At UC Libraries, it is articulated in our mission “to empower discovery, stimulate learning and inspire the creation of knowledge by connecting students, faculty, researchers and scholars to dynamic data, information and resources.” That verb-laden statement describes the Libraries as a place of action. More than a set of buildings and locations, more than our collections, or a bank of computers, or a neutral place to study, the library is an active, responsive environment meant to empower, stimulate and inspire all of our users.
We believe libraries should be places for inquiry, deeper thought and the open exploration of ideas. UC Libraries offers open access to information, spaces to study and to collaborate, and research services for all regardless of political, socioeconomic, or institutional affiliation, as well as to all races, religions, countries of origin or gender identification. It is through this role as open information providers that libraries help to create informed, educated and enlightened citizens.
This spring, the Associate of Research Libraries (ARL) posted an article about member libraries issuing statements and posting signs affirming their core beliefs. This prompted me to work with my director of library communications, Melissa Cox Norris, on the creation of a statement for UC Libraries. We quickly discovered that, while some of the language needed refining, we already had core beliefs to guide the Libraries in the 11 tenets of our UC Libraries’ Strategic Plan.
These tenets, listed below, are the cornerstone of everything we do. They guide us, provide inspiration, and remind us of our mission. This kind of focus is important for any business, department, program or institution striving to achieve long-term success. For UC Libraries these tenets, these core beliefs, are essential to our continued relevance and growth and, mostly importantly, our ardent desire to provide our users with a safe bastion to learn and to explore, in a sometimes-tumultuous world.
- Lead – We are leaders on campus and in the library profession, guiding initiatives that advance the academic pursuits of students, faculty, researchers, scholars and library colleagues.
- Partner – We pursue and actively participate in partnerships that further our mission and that of the university.
- Collaborate – We liaise with and work collaboratively with colleagues, students, faculty, researchers and scholars both within and outside the organization in order to bring varying skill sets and mindsets to play in connecting and enabling all users to achieve their greatest potential in their academic pursuits.
- Build – We acquire and provide access to the published scholarly record for a broad range of disciplines with emphasis on the university’s areas of excellence.
- Learn – We are seekers of new knowledge and skills that empower us in changing the current and future library landscape.
- Teach – We impart knowledge. Every member of UC Libraries is a teacher, guiding the university community in utilizing library resources, increasing the information literacy of our users and advancing the skill sets of ourselves and our colleagues.
- Steward – We collect, provide, protect and preserve the scholarly record and intellectual output of the university and community of scholars as we responsibly manage the data, information and resources of the university.
- Innovate – We seek new, creative and cutting-edge practices, workflows and technologies to deliver library services, collections and programs to users anytime and anywhere.
- Explore – We try new things, embrace change, take risks, and when necessary, change and modify course in pursuit of our mission.
- Thrive – We foster an engaged workforce that is encouraged and supported to strive for excellence, balance and work satisfaction.
- Transform – We embrace our mission, vision and tenets as our guideposts as we work to transform ourselves, the library landscape and the teaching, clinical and research endeavors of the university.
To inform or diverse community of scholars, students, researchers and visitors of our Core Beliefs, the statement and tenets are included on the UC Libraries website at http://libraries.uc.edu/about/core-beliefs.html. In addition, posters featuring the 11 tenets are hanging throughout the libraries and are being posted on Twitter throughout the fall semester at https://twitter.com/UCLibraries.