August 30, 2006

Academic Library Makeover - Part 1

In the summer of 2006, the Ottenheimer Library at UALR welcomed a new dean to their midst. Prior to her arrival, the head of the library was a Director position and had a person with a long-standing connection to the university. This new leader brought a world of fresh thought and direction to an already thriving community.

Strategic plans across campus were due July 1st and new deans were provided extended deadlines until the end of the year. Within in the first month, the dean organized a retreat of all library employees, leaving only a skeleton crew behind. An outside facilitator was retained to lead the group through a quick basic understanding of the strategic planning process. An agenda of Mission, Vision, and Strategic Directions were fare for the day.

Participation from all areas of the library allowed for lively inquiry into the direction of the library. Several strategic directions were enumerated within the allotted time period, providing the springboard for the "real work" about to begin.
Upon returning to daily routines, the Dean called for full staff participation on their choice of several "task groups" - Mission/Vision, Working with other libraries, Staff Development and Training, Building Redesign, Interdepartmental Communications, Fund raising, Community Outreach, Marketing, Assessment, Change Management, Collection Building, Offsite Storage, and Technology Advances in Education. The first group that was called to action was the Mission/Vision group.