Vol 20, Issue 2

NEXT Directions: Strategic Framework for the University of Cincinnati Libraries

The University of Cincinnati’s NEXT Lives Here Strategic Directions focus on the core areas of Academic Excellence, Urban Impact and the Innovation Agenda in order to engage people and ideas – and to transform the world. The University of Cincinnati Libraries is key to what’s NEXT. UC Libraries fuels student success, research, scholarship and engagement with the community. We forge pathways to discovery and empower students, faculty and researchers to achieve academic success.

Through fulfillment of our NEXT Directions, the University of Cincinnati Libraries aims to increase our impact by: creating paths to education innovation and student success; contributing to the university’s research, learning and teaching agendas; and by creating partnerships within UC, the wider Cincinnati urban community and at national and international levels. This work requires a substantial investment in ourselves, a renewed commitment to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and a continued focus on and acceleration of digital transformation as we continue to fulfill our mission and achieve our vision.


The University of Cincinnati Libraries empower discovery, stimulate learning and inspire the creation of knowledge by connecting students, faculty, researchers and scholars to dynamic data, information and resources.


The University of Cincinnati Libraries are the globally engaged, intellectual commons of the university – positioning ourselves as the hub of collaboration, digital innovation and scholarly endeavor on campus and beyond.

Guiding Principles

The following Guiding Principles serve as our North Star. They are central to our mission and serve as critical tenets signifying who we want to be and where we want to go. They are the common thread throughout all our services, activities and initiatives.

Investment in Our People

Our people are the foundation upon which all else is built. We will invest and advocate for library faculty, staff and student assistants in order to create and retain an informed, empowered and engaged workforce that embraces a culture of continuous learning, creative thinking and the pursuit of excellence. As a leading employer of students, we create experiential learning and professional opportunities that enhance their educational experience and support their academic goals and career aspirations.

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion is our guiding force. It infuses our daily work and interactions with all whom we come in contact. We value, celebrate and promote Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in our workforce and in the communities we serve. Our services, resources and collections should reflect the diversity of the world and highlight marginalized and previously unseen communities – and where we fall short, we will work to do better.

Digital Transformation

Digital Transformation challenges the Libraries to reflect on how we engage people, spaces and culture around technology in pursuit of our mission. We are actively involved in the creation, discovery and delivery of digital technologies, tools and platforms that foster inquiry, knowledge creation, research and analysis. Our library services, collections and programs foster the spark of inspiration for a digital culture that integrates traditional ways of learning with new ways of discovery and exploration. We will elevate the Libraries’ role in digital transformation to enhance, create and propel the pursuit of all aspects of what’s NEXT.


The following pathways of Enrich, Empower and Engage will lead us in our next Directions. They will set our course of action and enable us to continue to fulfill our mission and to achieve our vision.

The items under each pathway are not meant to be an exhaustive list of all the work done in the Libraries, but are immediate action steps along the various pathways. The bulleted list should change as priorities and needs shift and the environment in which we work changes. When we accomplish certain steps along the Pathways they will be crossed off while new steps may be added or amended.

The Strategic Framework works as a guide for our work and should grow and adjust as we do.

1. Enrich – the Academic Experience

By providing access to collections, services, technologies, instruction and spaces, the Libraries create pathways to education innovation and student success and make a substantive impact on the research, learning and teaching agendas of faculty, staff and students.

The spectrum of collections, services, access, instruction and the expertise of our people are at the core of what libraries do.

Steps along the pathway:

  • Develop and implement a strategy for collection development and access, while investing in the preservation of print collections and the creation of digital collections selected equitably and inclusively from the Libraries’ distinctive, special collections.
  • Actively participate in digital core competency initiatives across UC so that data/information literacy skills can be cultivated across all disciplines and data/information can be elevated to knowledge insights.
  • Create spaces that meet current student needs, but are flexible for the future and align with the university’s growth strategies for enrollment, research and community impact.

2. Empower – Research, Scholarship & Innovation

Foster scholarly pursuits and the broader research agenda through a commitment to inclusive and equitable access to diverse information, resources and collections – whether in-person and one-on-one with library experts or when accessing library resources online. We will support and inspire local and global, novel, innovative and one-of-a-kind research and scholarship through our collections, expertise and services.

We pursue innovation through empowerment, education and open exploration with a commitment to expanding discovery and knowledge.

Steps along the pathway:

  • Lead campus interdisciplinary research initiatives by integrating the Digital Scholarship Center’s core machine learning and data visualization technologies into the Digital Futures operations.
  • As an Open Agenda leader on campus and beyond, continue to actively pursue the unrestricted availability of equitable and inclusive Open Access (OA) resources.
  • Integrate research data management and innovations into the research agenda and workflow by supporting and assisting researchers in acquiring, managing, presenting and preserving data.
  • Partner with faculty and academic units to leverage library collections, creating a holistic learning experience for students that utilizes modern teaching and learning practices while recognizing historical contexts.

3. Engage – We are Cincinnati

By engaging and collaborating with our academic and community partners, we insure that UC Libraries is a hub for learning, economic development, discovery and access. Our faculty and staff collaborate across campus and the broader community to create an inclusive, accessible and engaging experience for all users.

Engage with the local, regional and global community to foster innovation, learning, research and to develop the future information professional. We are dedicated to the collection, organization, dissemination, preservation and promotion of information and knowledge. We are community catalysts.

Steps along the pathway:

  • Actively partner in the Cincinnati Innovation District to create new pathways to research, entrepreneurship and knowledge creation.
  • Partner with local and regional cultural and research institutions, affiliates and campus affinity organizations to share and promote collections and resources in order to foster the creation of knowledge.
  • Expand the Libraries role in Urban Impact initiatives aimed at enriching the high school experience and preparing students for college, as a means to foster the understanding and use of library collections, expertise and opportunities – both now and in their futures.
  • Increase participation with CPS Strong to increase student engagement with library resources and to cultivate interest in the current and emerging library profession.

For more, and to check our progress, visit the Strategic Framework website.