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2018-2023 Strategic Plan

In order to align with the vision and values of the University of Washington, the UW Libraries will pursue strategies and initiatives that support the evolving needs of our user communities. The 2018-2023 Libraries Strategic Plan establishes our goals, guides our decisions and shapes our budgeting and resource allocation. The plan defines our key priorities, allowing us to rationalize what successful pursuits we continue, what new initiatives we begin and what activities we modify or suspend in the interest of maximizing our impact on our institution and communities.

In its commitment to provide comparable experiences for all UW students, faculty, and staff, the University Libraries operates on a principle of “One Library: Three Campuses” that involves collaborative planning, centralized work functions, and shared outcomes that balance priorities in common with unique, local needs across the Bothell, Seattle, and Tacoma campuses.

Advance Research for the Public Good

UW research attains its greatest impact on our most pressing global challenges when we advocate for open, public and emerging forms of scholarship.


  • Increase access to and improve dissemination of UW scholarship by leading the development of institutional open access publishing, resources and technologies.
  • Advance digital and interdisciplinary scholarship by collaboratively investing in infrastructure and leveraging expertise in new areas of research support.
  • Enhance the ability of researchers to measure and communicate the impact of their scholarship.
  • Improve researcher workflows by expanding support for the entire research lifecycle.
  • Invested in tri-campus digital scholarship infrastructure including Manifold, Pressbooks, and Reclaim Hosting, providing the UW community with opportunities to share scholarship openly and offer students course-integrated opportunities to engage with the full research to publication life cycle.
  • Launched the virtual Open Scholarship Commons in Fall 2020 to support digital, interdisciplinary, and community-engaged scholarship. Since the launch, programming has reached over 4,200 students, faculty, staff, and community members through over 90 unique events on topics such as text mining, research impact, data visualization, privacy, and podcasting.
  • Continued investments in Open Access and implementation of the UW Open Access Policy through support of open articles, journals, books, databases and infrastructure, including a joint UW Libraries Press project to open the Press’ series Studies on Ethnic Groups in China.
  • Successfully negotiated a journal subscription contract with Elsevier, maintaining access to over 2,500 publications with lower annual price increases. Agreement includes provisions for pilots in Green Open Access and International Interlibrary Loan in order to foster research for the public good and develop sustainable subscription/publishing models.
  • Initiated a coordinated outreach and programming plan oriented towards support for core elements of the research life cycle (planning, implementation, publishing, discovery & impact, preservation, re-use).


4200+ people reached through 90 unique events

Enrich the Student Experience

Students reach their full potential as learners and global citizens when we collaborate to transform support for the holistic experience of undergraduate, graduate and professional students.


  • Address the student affordability crisis by leading efforts on open educational resources and other approaches that improve access to resources and services.
  • Increase opportunities for student learning by investing in scalable, sustainable and technology-rich teaching focused on critical information skills.
  • Enhance University initiatives focused on the success of diverse student populations through strengthened partnerships and Libraries-wide support.
  • Develop and advocate for new and evolving library spaces that address student enrollment growth and changes in scholarship and learning.
  • Enhanced tri-campus Open Education Resources (OER) and Pedagogy efforts by creating a full-time Seattle campus OER librarian position, creating online faculty workshops and robust campus support at Bothell, Tacoma, and Seattle campuses, and rolling out the Pressbooks platform, which has 275 active users in 2022 and 17 published titles from UW faculty and students.
  • Accelerated tri-campus development of remote support for undergraduate student success, teaching & learning, including the development of an Undergraduate Researcher Tutorial, which has averaged 33,000 views each academic year since launching in 2020.
  • Strengthened graduate student support through Graduate Student Research Institute (GSRI) and Research Data Management online courses, with over 600 graduate students from all three campuses registered for the 5th annual GSRI in 2021.
  • Invested in new spaces and projects to support collaboration and student success, including the Tacoma Learning Commons, the Sandpoint/iSchool partnership to reimagine library spaces, the Health Sciences Active Edge Library, and the $6 million gift from Atsuhiko and Ina Goodwin Tateuchi Foundation to the East Asia Library to support user-focused spaces, programs and operating enhancements.
  • Increased number of student employee scholarships through Advancement efforts, reaching 48 scholarships of $1,000 each in 2022.

Enhance Equitable Environments for Research, Learning, and Working

Students, faculty, staff and community members from diverse backgrounds thrive when we create and maintain inclusive research, learning and working environments.


  • Elevate the voices of historically underrepresented communities at UW and in the Pacific Northwest by partnering to create, preserve and increase access to culturally-relevant information resources.
  • Strengthen contributions to campus-wide initiatives on equity and social justice by actively partnering with UW faculty, staff and students to support equity-focused research, teaching, learning and staff development.
  • Improve access for diverse user communities to physical and digital resources through universal design and accessibility compliance.
  • Foster an equitable and inclusive culture for Libraries staff through programs, mentoring, hiring, retention, and training.
  • Continued to strengthen partnerships to document and preserve the history of marginalized communities served by our three campuses. Projects include the UW Tacoma Founding Stories Oral History Project and outreach via Special Collections "We are History Keepers workshops," which supported ethic communities across the Puget Sound region in preserving their historical and cultural records.
  • Provided UW and wider communities with access to rare archival materials from diverse Pacific Northwest communities, including digitization projects documenting the Lushootseed language and Native American linguistics.
  • Accomplished significant accessibility improvements in Libraries digital systems and physical spaces, including keyboard testing of 650 Libraries e-resources,  transcription/captioning of oral histories and other video in digital collections, and the purchase of accessibility toolkits for lending to library users.
  • Launched successful campus reading programs for social justice, including UW Bothell's Community Reads and UW Tacoma's Real Lit[erature]: Reading for Social Justice. Launched the student and faculty curated Recommended Reads for Equity collection at UW Seattle.
  • Expanded outreach to diverse undergraduate and graduate student populations in preservation, library and museology fields as part of a Mellon grant.
  • Implemented a range of equity-informed hiring practices for Libraries personnel searches and invested in continuing education and training for all Libraries staff to strengthen organization-wide commitments to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) and anti-racism.


650 e-resources keyboard tested for accessibility

Accelerate Scholarship and Learning through Responsive Collections

The work of students, clinicians and researchers is advanced when we develop and maintain collections that align with evolving and future needs.


  • Enhance current and emerging forms of scholarship and learning by increasing access to and acquisition of interdisciplinary and multi-format resources.
  • Strengthen users' ability to efficiently find and use necessary information by improving the discoverability and access to collections.
  • Broaden multi-institutional partnerships to expand the range of information resources available to our user communities and support sustainable collections.
  • Develop scalable, strategic and sustainable models of collection development, preservation and stewardship.
  • Expanded purchasing of e-books and streaming media to support remote teaching during the COVID-19 pandemic. Expanded support for faculty and student research through investments in large datasets and digital collections and increased investments in online digital collections, including in equity and the arts.
  • Enabled continued access to Libraries collections during COVID-19 through HathiTrust Emergency Temporary Access Services, providing access to 1.7 million online books.
  • Developed innovative approaches to enable access to Special Collections materials during the pandemic, including Virtual Reading Room appointment for over 180 individual researchers across 300+ virtual appointments.
  • Developed multi-institutional partnerships such as the Big Ten Academic Alliance (BTAA) Cooperative Cataloging Partnership to increase access, share expertise and costs, and expand access to library collections in a range of languages and formats.
  • Enhanced discoverability of resources through participation in Program for Cooperative Cataloguing’s Wikidata Pilot Project
  • Participated in the Linked Data for Production: Pathway to Implementation project led by Stanford Libraries as part of the Andrew W. Mellon grant to transition from current MARC-based systems to linked data-based workflows.
  • Awarded a $1 million grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to advance shared conservation services among the UW Libraries, the Henry Art Gallery, and the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture. The grant will strengthen a sustainable program for paper and photograph conservation at UW, expand shared conservation services, and leverage other Mellon-funded initiatives that increase conservation capacity, training and outreach in the Pacific Northwest.

Grow as a Learning Organization

The evolving needs of our communities are better met when we become agile, invest in the development of our staff and transform our ways of working for the betterment of our organization and the university.


  • Improve communication to foster effective and equitable ways of working.
  • Transform our working practices to enable effective collaboration, efficient use of resources and a holistic perspective on individual work.
  • Strengthen capacity for strategic decision making throughout our organization based on shared priorities, vision and values.
  • Invest in developing, recruiting and retaining staff to provide new skills in support of changing university needs.
  • Developed the foundations for sustainable approaches to supporting remote, hybrid, and asynchronous working, including increased adoption of technology to facilitate communication and collaboration.
  • Improved Libraries-wide information sharing through Libraries Town Halls, with increased attendance from an average of 40 attendees at monthly Council meetings to an average of 200 - 220 attendees per month at Town Halls, providing opportunities for staff to receive the same messaging on key Libraries updates, priorities, and directly address employee questions.
  • Growth, Opportunity, Learning, and Development (GOLD) program reached 35 staff from all job classes and campuses to build capacity for change management, systems thinking, communication, and organizational culture change.