Kicking Off another Planning Cycle

It’s March, which means that another planning cycle is getting into full swing. At the Cabinet retreat tomorrow, we will begin discussing the 2020–2022 local priorities that have been developed by the directors. You can read them yourself on our Annual Planning and Priorities page: Camden, Newark, New Brunswick, RBHS.

Over the past several planning cycles, information control has been among our top priorities as a system. This was based on feedback we received in the 2016 LibQUAL+ survey, which indicated we had room for improvement in this area in particular. As you know, this led to a whole suite of changes, not the least of which was the implementation of QuickSearch. We’ve also added extensive backfiles in recent years, working to address gaps in our collections so that they better meet the needs of Rutgers researchers. It has been a lot of hard work, but signs point to it paying off. The 2019 LibQUAL+ results, for instance, coupled with indicators like the drop in ILL numbers, give us reason to believe that we have made significant improvements when it comes to information control. This is a huge achievement for us, because it’s where our users indicate that they have the highest expectations for library service.

That said, it isn’t entirely surprising to see that information control is becoming less of a focus area in some of the plans for this cycle. Of course, this doesn’t mean that this aspect of our work is any less important—it just means that we’ve laid an effective foundation and are ready to build toward new things.

It is important that we take a moment to congratulate ourselves for this amazing accomplishment. Having a strong information control foundation allows us to build new services that will be both scalable and robust. These services fall into a category that we are calling in our priorities information management.

Information management will be the organizing theme for many of our new initiatives in the coming years. One such area is our support for scholarly communication, and I wrote in my last post about Esploro and how it will strengthen our ability to provide open access to articles and data. We also see local initiatives in this cycle’s plans such as the Health Sciences Libraries’ pursuit of research information management services, Newark’s revitalization of the open access Journal of Jazz Studies, New Brunswick’s development of bibliometrics, or Camden’s creation of digital projects based on undergraduate and graduate student research. These are all encouraging signs that the work we’ve done is opening up new possibilities for how we serve the scholarly communities on our respective campuses, and I’m excited that we’re finally at the point where we can pursue these sorts of activities.

My next Agenda post will be in May, and by then we’ll have had a chance to review the local plans and determine which priorities require central support. We’ll then begin finalizing the plans based on the capacity of our infrastructure and which priorities will move the most people forward. It’s an exciting time of year as the work on our horizons comes into sharper focus, and I look forward to exploring all the possibilities with Cabinet. But it’s also an occasion to reflect on how far we’ve come, and for that I have all of you to thank.

Krisellen Maloney