The NYU Health Sciences Libraries (NYUHSL) support the mission and vision of NYU Langone Medical Center, and related health sciences communities, by connecting people with knowledge that enables world-class teaching, learning, discovery, and patient care.
The NYU Health Sciences Libraries Strategic Plan 2013-2015 lays out a focused set of objectives that align the library with NYU Langone Medical Center’s goal of world-class excellence in patient care, education, and research. The plan is the product of a year’s worth of intense analysis, reflection, and discussion on the part of all library faculty and staff. Key to the planning process was the determination of the following critical strategic issues, and the anticipated outcomes of addressing each:
Issue: User needs and library services
Outcomes: Informed, user-focused decision-making; Service offerings that adapt to user needs
Health sciences libraries, like the communities they serve, are changing rapidly. The ways in which information is delivered, discovered, and used in a digital environment have altered user expectations irrevocably. However, traditional expectations of the library as a place to study and collaborate are still relevant in the digital age. To address this critical strategic issue, the library will establish a formalized assessment program that will enable us to know our users better, incorporate user input in decision-making, and continuously evaluate and adapt resources and services to better meet user needs.
Outcomes: Increased awareness and use of library resources and services; Improved user experience of the digital and physical library
Our users know us by different names. Our physical locations look different. Our website has a look-and-feel that is distinct from the NYULMC standard. This lack of a unified identity has inhibited user awareness and use of our resources and services. Through the development of a consistent brand identity that better aligns with NYULMC standards, and through strategic marketing and publicity efforts to more effectively reach our users, the library will elevate its status across the medical center.
Outcomes: All stakeholders better understand the value and impact of the library; Informed, data-driven decision-making
The library lacks quality metrics to assess and communicate effectively its value and impact. This critical strategic issue will be addressed through the development of consistent metrics and reporting methodologies that will enable us to demonstrate the library’s impact on the NYULMC mission areas. The library will also develop internal metrics that will be used to assess and adapt services and resources for maximum impact.
Issue: Library Culture
Outcomes: Library faculty and staff receive the coaching and support needed to meet the changing needs of users; The library’s strategic direction, including its overarching mission, are reflected in staff roles and responsibilities
An organization is only as strong as the foundation on which it stands. Library faculty and staff are eyewitnesses to the changing landscape of our field; many have worked on both sides of the paradigm shift from print-based library to digital. The pace of change has been swift, but the organizational structure of the library hasn’t always adapted accordingly. Staff positions, in particular, have many legacy ties to a print-based operation. In light of this and related issues, the library will take a fresh look at roles and responsibilities at all levels of the organization, recognizing that all employees must receive the support necessary to perform to their fullest potential. This critical strategic issue will be addressed with plans to support staff development, improve coaching and mentoring, and recognize achievement.
In the midst of the library’s planning process, Hurricane Sandy hit. This historic storm’s impact on the medical center was profound, with damages and losses in the billions. The library was not spared in this event: Ehrman Medical Library, the main library serving the School of Medicine and most of the NYULMC superblock, was destroyed, along with most of the remaining on-site print collection. In the days after the storm, despite and because of the many uncertainties facing the organization, library leadership decided to continue the planning process. When the strategic planning team reassembled in November 2012 to review and potentially reassess the critical strategic issues decided upon before the storm, the work was daunting. Returning to square one after months of effort was a distinct possibility. The outcome, however, was a strong shared conviction that the four issues addressed in this strategic plan were just as vital after the storm as they were before. With a renewed sense of purpose and urgency, the team continued to refine and adapt the action plans outlined on the following pages: timelines and resources were re-prioritized, resulting in a two-year plan rather than the anticipated three, but the path forward remained the same.
NYU Health Sciences Libraries has emerged from this planning process, and the historic events therein, as a stronger, more focused, and re-energized organization—one that is dedicated to contributing to the many shared successes that lie ahead for NYU Langone Medical Center.