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Strategic Priorities

The Brookings Hall arch photographed during sunset.

Washington University Libraries’ strategic priorities outlined below are intended to move the University Libraries forward in concert with Washington University’s strategic plan Here & Next, which launched in 2022.

Strategic Priorities Framework

Three priority areas underpin the framework:

  • Infrastructure
  • Collections
  • Collaboration

Each of these areas is a distinct area of focus and is targeting a defined need. However, projects will regularly and often relate to more than one of the strategic priorities. 

A Venn diagram showing the three priority areas - infrastructure, collections, and collaboration - of the University Libraries Strategic Priorities and where the three guiding principles of Research Focus; Academic Distinction; and Diversity, Equity & Inclusion interact within the priority area infrastructure.

In addition to the priorities themselves, the framework calls out three Guiding Principles of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, Academic Distinction, and Research Focus that represent the values of both the University Libraries and the university as a whole. The Guiding Principles should be a consideration in assessing the appropriateness of any University Libraries undertaking or project and are broader than the priorities themselves.


Because the modern research library is both physical and digital, its underlying infrastructure is as well. Washington University Libraries has significant infrastructure needs in both areas. The objective of all infrastructure investment is to do more than address shortfalls and to leapfrog the University Libraries as leaders and valued partners among peer institutions. 


Collections are at the heart of the work of libraries and underpin the broader spectrum of services and programs that the University Libraries offer. Formats of collections are changing and expanding, and those changes have impacts on both workflows and library budgets. Librarians are taking steps to address the cultural bias that long-held collections are recognized to reflect. And, as the university’s research program expands, the libraries must expand collections to address new areas of research, which will impact budgets and necessitate a deeper understanding of the collections. There is also a need to build services, instructional programs, and other types of support to facilitate access and understanding for our users.


Because it is the community that defines the Washington University Libraries, it is important to be a collaborative, connected organization. The University Libraries will work to build connections and be truly collaborative at three different levels: internal, campus-wide, and national and international.

Next Steps

The University Libraries will begin to operationalize the Strategic Priorities Framework through assessment and project tracking. This will involve defining assessment metrics for the priorities outlined above, and also developing a central project tracking and management system to foster collaboration across divisions and ensure an effective and transparent process going forward.