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Kelvin Smith Library Strategic Plan: 2015-2018 


The Kelvin Smith Library (KSL) is central to the intellectual life at Case Western Reserve University. Achieving our goals is vital for the University to accomplish its mission and vision.  Building upon our previous successes, this Plan sets forth new directions to advance scholarly inquiry, discovery and learning at CWRU by transforming our collections, services and spaces, and by collaborating with other partners to achieve the goals of the University.

The mission and vision statements remain unchanged from the last plan. The values statement (which augments, not replaces, the University values) is only slightly modified to improve clarity.

The objectives in this new plan are not independent of each other. Rather, there is significant overlap among them, presenting a complex intersection of opportunities that are in a constant and overlapping orbit around the delivery of excellent client services. This inter-relationship is illustrated in the graphic above.

Mission, Vision and Values

KSL is the knowledge and creativity commons of CWRU.

Vision: KSL will be the information laboratory for knowledge collection, connection, creation, and curation.

Values1: Openness; Collaboration; Personalized service; and, Agility and Innovation through ongoing experimentation and assessment


Goals and Objectives

Goal 1: Research

Ignite discovery, research, and scholarship by aligning our expertise with the needs of researchers as they address the world’s most pressing needs.

  • Objective 1: Purchased Content (e.g., books, journals).  Deepen research capacity at CWRU by ensuring effective access to the diverse and interdisciplinary information resources that are essential for our faculty and students by advocating for and securing University investment in scholarly content at a level commensurate with our University-defined peer research institutions.2

  • Objective 2: Digital Scholarship.3  Be the campus incubator of creative and collaborative digital scholarship throughout the research lifecycle by: (a) reimagining and redesigning the Freedman Center for Digital Scholarship in collaboration with campus partners; (b) expanding digitization of significant collections; and (c) encouraging digital journal production.

  • Objective 3: Special Collections.  Enrich scholarly research and learning by undertaking a comprehensive strategy to build 21st century collections and services that expand access to, and foster the use of, the distinctive and unique content of our special and archival collections.

  • Objective 4: Research Services.  Enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of scholarly inquiry and research, and develop strong faculty and student relationships to integrate library services within each stage of the research process.

  • Objective 5: Scholarly Communications, Open Access, and Open Content.4   Encourage global and free access to information by making it easier for faculty to access and publish open content.5

Goal 2: Learning

Spark student creativity and inquiry by enhancing learning through innovations in teaching and research, and by preparing students to become leaders who will engage in lifelong knowledge discovery.

  • Objective 1: Library Spaces.  Strengthen the role of KSL as the intellectual hub of the University by creating dynamic, inspiring, attractive, diverse, and inviting physical learning and research places that are the destinations of choice for both quiet space for individual study and collaborative spaces for scholarly inquiry, and that foster intentional and serendipitous scholarly encounters among faculty and students.
    • a.  Invest continuously in renewing student learning and study spaces that are exciting and productive places.
    • b.  Advocate for significant inclusion of a re-imagined KSL as part of the campus master plan, including development of a needs assessment and comprehensive renovation plan, including the potential expansion of KSL as a pavilion for knowledge and creativity.
  • Objective 2: Virtual Spaces.  Create engaging virtual learning environments to ensure rewarding interactive experiences, and collaborate with faculty to enrich their e-learning presence6 with library content and services.

  • Objective 3: Services.  Enhance scholarly research, teaching and learning by providing complementary, highly responsive and interactive services.
    • a.  Partner with faculty to develop an effective and radically new digital and information literacy model that enables students to engage in deep scholarly inquiry and discovery that will result in the generation of valuable new knowledge.
    • b.  Work with appropriate University offices to require a formal review by the library to assess the adequacy of or gaps in current library resources to support proposed new programs or degrees. 
    • c.  Enrich the library experience and personal productivity of our all of our scholars by expanding the Personal Librarian program to ensure all faculty and students receive approachable, personalized one-on-one assistance that responds fully to their research needs.
    • d.  Systematically assess our efforts to achieve our strategic goals and improve the quality of our services.

Goal 3: Shared and Collaborative Services

Improve the student and faculty learning and research experience by engaging with other information organizations on campus and in the region.

  • Objective 1: Consistent and Coordinated Campus Library Experiences.7  Actively engage in collaborations with all campus library service providers to: (a) create predictable and positive user experiences across all libraries, regardless of which library serves as the point of entry, and (b) ensure optimal use of CWRU institutional financial investment in its libraries by eliminating unwarranted redundant efforts.

  • Objective 2: Partnerships with CWRU and Non-CWRU Organizations.8  Explore opportunities to improve services and content that support open scholarship, access, resources, and data by working with both other University service providers9 and non-University cultural institutions in University Circle.

Success Metrics

The following are general metrics that define ways the library and our constituents may assess our achievement of this strategic plan as a whole. As with the last KSL Strategic Plan, the Balanced Scorecard methodology will be employed during the implementation process to articulate more detailed qualitative and quantitative success metrics for each of the objectives. Ongoing reporting to the campus community on our progress will occur through online dashboards, web and printed reports, and digital signage.

  • 1.  Research
    • a.  Funding for purchased content will increase to be commensurate with our peers.
    • b.  The availability of digital content from our special collection and from University researchers is accessible in Digital Case, with significant usage both within CWRU and beyond.
    • c.  A robust campus digital collaborative successfully delivers highly responsive scholarship services to faculty and students.
    • d.  Faculty and students will make effective and regular use of an array of research tools and services that are made available through KSL.
    • e.  A strong educational effort by KSL staff will lead to a significant presence by CWRU faculty in open access publications and repositories.
  • 2. Learning
    • a.  KSL continues to be a highly active hub and destination for both individual and collaborative student research and study.
    • b.  There will be significant support in the campus master plan for the library as a major focus for space re-imagination and renovation as a pavilion for knowledge, with initial funding possibilities identified and pledged.
    • c.  The information literacy programs, particularly online and mobile individual programs, are readily accessible and used by students and recommended by faculty.
    • d.  The Faculty Senate requires that all new or significantly revised academic programs and degrees that are submitted for approval must be accompanied by a library-generated assessment of the adequacy or gaps in the library collections and services.
    • e.  The use of and satisfaction with library research support significantly increases as faculty and students become aware of and take advantage of the availability of personalized services.
  • 3. Services
    • a.  The campus libraries collaboratively define a set of common and shared collections and services to which faculty and students will have ready and consistent access, and the campus community assesses these arrangements to be responsive and satisfactory.
    • b.  KSL is a recognized leader for its active collaborative efforts, both regionally and nationally.


These values are complementary and in addition to those articulated in the University’s strategic plan.

2 At the present time, the CWRU institutional peer list of ARL institutions includes: Chicago, Emory, Johns Hopkins, Northwestern, Washington University in St. Louis, Vanderbilt, MIT, and Rochester.

3 “Digital Scholarship” is a comprehensive term that in this context includes services such as Digital Case 2, open content provision of student and faculty research, big data and text mining support, digital preservation (including HathiTrust and other external partners), and related efforts.

4 “Scholarly communications” is a phrase that includes a range of activities, from advising faculty about copyright and intellectual property issues to working with appropriate campus offices to conducting research on the impact of faculty publications vis-à-vis CWRU rankings in international indexes such as the Times Higher Education World University Rankings.

5 Relevant efforts include working with faculty to identify high-impact open access journals in which to publish, and exploring opportunities to lead and partner in the support of scholarly communications and intellectual property management.

6 For example, Blackboard or other University-wide research and learning technology platforms.

7 “Harmonious library experiences” encompasses many potential user experiences (such as consistent access to content resources and services) and support activities enabled by the library (such as content purchase coordination, research service support, access tools, learning communities and workshops, website unification, and simplification/standardization in policies & procedures common to users).

8 Examples of on-campus organizational “partnerships” include joint efforts such as provision of collaborative services, and improved coordination of small grant and other seed funding opportunities for faculty.

9 For example, Information Technology Services, Baker-Nord Center for the Humanities, and ThinkBox.


For additional background information, please link to the following:

About Us FAQ

What and Where is Siegal?

The notation "Siegal" in the online catalog refers to the Aaron Garber Library of the Siegal College of Judaic Studies at 26500 Shaker Blvd. Cleveland OH 44122. The Aaron Garber Library is the academic library of the College and the central library of the Cleveland Jewish community. It includes 30,000 volumes, plus periodicals, language tapes, music and text CDs in English, Hebrew and Yiddish. The Library's electronic catalog is part of the online library system managed by Case Western Reserve University, and is included in OhioLINK, the statewide electronic academic catalog system. Online borrowing privileges are reserved for students registered at Siegal College. Community members are welcome to browse the catalog, visit the Garber Library and borrow materials.

For further information, contact by email, or call 216-464-4050 x131 or 132.

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