Message from the Strategic Planning Committee: Looking Forward

Sajewski headshotHello ACRL Arts Section members!

I am the chair of the Strategic Planning Committee, and I’m very excited to introduce you to the section’s new strategic directions.

The planning process began in November, when the previous chair of the Strategic Planning Committee stepped down. Shortly after I became the new chair of the committee, the Vice Chair/ Chair Elect of our section’s Executive Committee Kai Alexis Smith and I began looking for the last strategic plan that the committee had drafted. There was not a strategic plan on our website, and even the longest-serving members of the committee and the section could not recall ever seeing one. After it was determined that there wasn’t an existing document to work with, Kai charged the Strategic Planning Committee with drafting a strategic plan for the next five years.

Throughout the winter, the committee held online meetings in Google Hangouts and via email to discuss the section’s goals. We thought about what the section could do to move forward and to stay relevant, and what the section could do to be a resource to and support arts librarians. Four common themes emerged: member retention and engagement, professional development, organization within the section, and communication within the section.

After the Executive Committee reviewed and agreed with our goals for the section, we decided that we would pursue a statement of strategic directions. While a strategic plan would be looking at the next five years, the strategic directions will allow us to be more nimble and to change with the times.In addition, with the help of the Executive Committee core values were drafted. The Strategic Planning Committee will review the new directions and core values annually, and we’ll also seek input from Arts Section members every year!

The core values of the Arts Section has us committed to:

  • Developing an open, inclusive, and collaborative environment for students interested in becoming an academic liaison to the arts and art library professionals (includes, but is not limited to: arts, art history, dance, and theater in all types of libraries).
  • Cultivating excellence and innovation of art library services to all types of users.
  • Employ ethical practices, professionalism, and integrity related to library services and resources.

The new strategic directions are as follows:

  • Membership. Seek ways to engage and actively involve both new and existing members for increased retention.
  • Professional Development. Foster and develop programming and continuing education opportunities for members to discuss current trends in academic arts librarianship.
  • Organization within the Section. Facilitate the transfer of leadership and continuity within committees through record keeping and communication.
  • Communication. Strengthen communication within the section in order to improve the presence and value of resources to Arts Section members.

As the Arts Section implements these new directions, you’ll notice a few changes! Expect more frequent updates from the Executive Committee, new website, new networking and mentoring opportunities, a new template for submitting committee minutes and reports, an improved orientation manual, increased social media usage, and even more.

To better learn about our members and what they hope to get out of their membership in the Arts Section, the Strategic Planning and Membership committees are working together to develop a survey. When you receive the survey this summer, please take a few minutes to fill it out. Your input will help guide the section forward!

Mallory Sajewski
Music Librarian, Western Illinois University
Chair, ACRL/Arts Section Strategic Planning Committee