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UTSA Libraries Strategic Plan 2016

The nature of information dissemination has changed dramatically in the past decade, causing academic libraries to reexamine their approaches to serving their communities, not to mention their very missions. The UTSA Libraries intend to be at the forefront of this shifting paradigm, emerging as a new breed of academic library that offers a comprehensive program of services to support learning and research at a Tier 1 public research institution. 

The UTSA Libraries will focus on providing access to the best, most current information resources available, placing special emphasis on digital materials in order to designate as much physical space as possible for student learning.  Just as important, the libraries will continue to help students build skills in information literacy, learning to apply critical thinking in today’s information-rich culture.  All of this will be done within an environment that is intentionally user-centered, and with a recognition that the libraries’ virtual space is as critical to student success as its physical space.

In a broader sense, the UTSA Libraries will serve the greater scholarly community through programs that will build, preserve and digitize distinctive collections of national importance, thereby contributing to the aggregation of research resources and services in North America.

UTSA Libraries Strategic Vision

To be the model for a new breed of 21st century academic library focused on providing students and faculty with seamless and comprehensive access to information and learning resources, fueling UTSA’s assent to Tier One public research university status.

Strategic Advantages and Challenges

Strategic Advantages

  • An experienced and dedicated staff
  • Direct financial support from students through the library resources fee
  • Solid partnerships with the University of Texas System libraries, TexShare and other organizations, significantly expanding access to digital resources
  • Well-utilized main campus and downtown libraries that currently serve as popular study destinations for students
  • Recent Phase I renovation of the John Peace Library, providing dramatically improved study spaces and more computers available to students
  • The forthcoming integration of the Teaching and Learning Center, Writing Center, and the tutoring and supplemental instruction units of the Tomás Rivera Center for Student Success into the John Peace Library

Strategic Challenges

  • Lack of space for physical collections at all three libraries
  • Providing information literacy skills to students raised in a “Google culture”
  • Ensuring that student users are easily able to search and locate digital and physical collections within a complex structure of databases
  • Keeping on the forefront of ever evolving new technologies for resource management, assessment, and discovery
  • Maintaining and expanding access to resources in all disciplines in which the University is committed to distinction
  • Large number of students with little-to-no experience using libraries

Strategic Initiatives and Goals

As the intellectual heart of campus, UTSA’s libraries play a pivotal role in the institution’s assent to Tier 1 research university status.  And yet, the landscape for academic libraries is changing rapidly.  The vision for the UTSA Libraries is multifaceted and involves fresh thinking on strategic collection development, student intellectual engagement and physical space.  

UTSA’s libraries are committed to pursuing seven goals within the framework of the University’s 2016 strategic initiatives. 

UTSA Strategic Initiative I: 
Enriching Educational Experiences to Enable Student Success

The information environment has become increasingly complex.  Critical appraisal needs to become second nature early in every student’s tenure in higher education.  Information literacy instruction provides a foundation for student learning and success by helping them understand how information is organized, accessed, evaluated, and incorporated into independent intellectual thought.  The ability to evaluate information sources has been linked to improved critical thinking skills. These information skills improve student success and also help students become better-informed citizens.

Our students, many of whom are first generation college students, must learn to successfully navigate the challenges of a large research institution.  The library provides a central place for student engagement where students can collaborate, study, and interact with peers.  Library staff members have the opportunity to interact with students outside the classroom, and they can identify student needs for improved library research skills and other academic skills.  The library provides an environment that is easy for students to navigate, connecting students with support services that are known to lead to their success.

Goal 1.  Increase the number of students receiving instruction in information literacy and library research methods.

  1. Reach all first year students to establish the basic information literacy skills necessary for academic and lifelong success. 
  2. Partner with faculty to provide instruction for specific subjects and research topics in order to develop the advanced skills necessary for academic and career excellence.
  3. Provide expert assistance to students at the point of need, using online and face-to-face communication methods.

Goal 2.  Increase student study spaces and available services in the library.

  1. Improve and develop campus partnerships to provide comprehensive learning support.
  2. Develop specialized services and learning environments that prepare students for successful academic years and future competitive work environments. 

UTSA Strategic Initiative II: 
Serving Society through Creativity, Expanded Research, and Innovation

The abundance of information has made it impossible for a library to collect everything.  The complex challenge is for a library to know what should be purchased and held locally, what should be made available through subscriptions and other licensing agreements, what should be borrowed, and what combination of print and electronic formats will best meet local information requirements.  Great universities provide unique collections that move forward the research interests of the university community.

UTSA’s goal of becoming a Tier 1 Research university creates the imperative for collections that provide a competitive advantage to our researchers.  It is no longer possible, or even desirable, to acquire print content for all of the needs of faculty and staff.  Instead, the library provides access to content in the form that is most appropriate for faculty and students.

To assist faculty and students in obtaining information, the libraries make services conveniently available at the point of need and provide expert consultation via the method preferred by the individual patron, whether that is online or face-to-face.  The libraries also provide new technology tools for faculty and students, enabling them to more effectively access, organize and reuse information.

Goal 3.  Expand and improve the availability of information in the appropriate format (print or electronic).

Develop and make accessible:

  1. collections so the library effectively supports the University’s Tier 1 Research goals, responds to and anticipates changes in faculty and student expectations, takes advantage of the availability of electronic collections, and optimizes the use of space.
  2. an archives and special collections program that documents the rich culture and history of the South Texas region.

Goal 4.  Provide services that enhance the ability of faculty and students to efficiently find, obtain, evaluate, and use information.

  1. Adopt innovative technology that pushes customized support services to faculty and student desktops, simplifying access to information.
  2. Use technology to integrate information discovery to improve student and faculty productivity.
  3. Create partnerships with academic units to provide innovative services to support research.

UTSA Strategic Initiative IV: 
Serving the Public through Community Engagement

The creation and advancement of knowledge is the UTSA Libraries’ driving purpose.  As one of the largest repositories of informational resources in San Antonio and Southern Texas, the reach of the UTSA libraries must extend beyond our campus borders to engage with scholars from other institutions as well as the local community. 

Goal 5.  Provide a gateway for intellectual engagement between the community and UTSA.

  1. Partner on campus to strengthen existing activities and create new activities to provide opportunities for lifelong learning
  2. Partner with libraries and other institutions to provide leadership in developing a rich and vibrant culture in the arts and humanities
  3. Develop one of the nation’s finest special collections and archival repositories and bring state and national distinction to UTSA by advancing scholarly research and education

UTSA Strategic Initiative V:
Expand resources and Infrastructure

Physical space in all three UTSA libraries is at a premium.  Our challenge is to continually balance the need for maintaining collections befitting a premier public research institution while simultaneously ensuring we provide the physical space, academic support and technology resources our students need.

Goal 6.  Renovate the library to improve student study spaces and expand the collections space.

  1. Renovate the second floor of JPL to maximize student support spaces including comprehensive learning services, individual learning, and collaborative learning spaces.
  2. Develop a Special Collections reading room and a long-term strategy for the storage of special and unique collections.
  3. Renovate the fourth floor of JPL to provide faculty services and instruction space.
  4. Renovate the third floor of JPL to improve collections space and increase group study space.
  5. Develop a long-term strategy for collection storage.

Goal 7.  Improve the print and digital information control system to meet the needs of an academic research library.

  1. Improve our collection inventory management system
  2. Implement an archival management system.