October 27, 1998

(1998 version based on 1997 Libraries Strategic Plan)




This document represents the cumulation of ideas presented in a number of previous WSU Libraries planning documents. The Provostís Steering Committee on Libraries created a planning document during its first two years of existence in 1992-1993, focusing on the WSU Libraries as a critical agency in teaching, research, and service activities at WSU. In 1996, the WSU Libraries embarked on another planning process, directed at the internal organization and operations of the WSU Libraries as an organizational entity committed to implementing the Provostís Steering Committee plan. With special funding from the Provostís Office, the Provostís Steering Committee sponsored a User Survey to assess how well the Libraries are meeting the needs of undergraduates, graduate students, and faculty. The Provostís Steering Committee also drafted a set of short-term solutions to the challenges facing the WSU Libraries in maintaining and enhancing library collections. These planning documents have all been woven into this Strategic Plan. The entire plan has been reviewed and revised by Library Council, the Librariesí internal administrative committee.

For each strategy, a rough timetable is provided. Unless otherwise indicated, the strategies outlined in this document will be accomplished with existing library funds. All reallocations of funding and/or special funding are noted.


There are many factors that influence current planning for the WSU Libraries. First of all, since the Libraries are a service agency within the university, they are affected by all the major trends and societal developments that influence higher education. In addition, there are significant factors peculiar to libraries, which are listed below.

Over the years, the publication of scholarly communication, particularly in the sciences, medicine, and technology, has increasingly been assumed by commercial, for-profit publishing houses outside of the United States. This development, coupled with an explosion in the number and size of publications, has had a tremendous impact on the rising cost of books and journals at a time when more and more publications are required to satisfy research interests.

The number of publications available in print is at an all time high. Although the Libraries have acquired many electronic publications in recent years, we will continue to acquire printed publications. We are unable to acquire all the printed publications needed to support our academic programs.

Libraries have become increasingly dependent on technology for the efficient delivery of information sources, raising new copyright questions and issues. Licensing agreements are replacing copyright when negotiating access to commercial electronic scholarly publishing. Many of these licensing agreements are more restrictive than the copyright law has been for their printed counterparts.

Excessive pricing for scholarly publications coupled with new, potentially restrictive copyright/licensing agreements have led to new initiatives designed to return the business of scholarly publishing to learned societies and university presses. The Scholarly Publishing & Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC) initiative, begun by the Association of Research Libraries and endorsed by such organizations as Association of American Universities (AAU), the National Association of State Universities and Land Grant Colleges (NASULGC) and the Association of American University Presses (AAUP), is a good example of such efforts.

With the increasing availability of indexes, full-text publications, and visual images in electronic format, libraries have been seeking new consortial partnerships and "buying groups" for the acquisition of these resources. These cooperative arrangements have led to cost savings and/or enhanced collections for their individual members. Consortia are playing an increasingly prominent role in the development of library electronic collections. The WSU Libraries are likely to participate in multiple consortia for the foreseeable future.

The information marketplace, particularly in light of these consortial partnerships, has grown increasingly opportunistic. Libraries must have flexible funds to respond when new opportunities suddenly present themselves, e.g., special, reduced pricing for initial subscriptions to new products.

We live in a society dependent on information resources to carry out its business. This reality, coupled with the recognition that few individuals will spend their entire careers with one employer or in one field of specialization has led to the need for colleges and universities to educate their students with life-long learning skills, including information seeking skills in an automated environment. There has been an increased need for libraries to partner with academic departments in the instruction of all students in these information seeking skills. Just this past year, the number of instructional sessions taught by the WSU Libraries increased dramatically by 64%, from 280 to 458.

As more and more universities are pursuing distance education as a means to offer university education to those who cannot relocate to the main campus, libraries have explored and developed many alternate methods of serving the information needs of these students. At WSU, this development is especially critical. Demand for library services from our extended students has increased dramatically during the past year. This trend will undoubtedly continue. Sophisticated systems for authenticating WSU affiliated users are needed to insure access by our distance students to WSUís electronic collections.

Teaching faculty at WSU have begun to embrace the use of technology in their pedagogy. The Libraries must offer services that complement this change in teaching techniques.

Library faculty salaries at WSU are the lowest among public universities in Washington state, and the WSU Libraries seriously trail our peer institutions. This reality is hindering our ability to hire and retain talented librarians at a time when we most need a diversity of skills. Low support for travel and professional development only exacerbates this problem.

Since 1993, the WSU Libraries have reduced its workforce by 13%. At a time when libraries are changing so dramatically, this has seriously handicapped our ability to respond effectively. This has also contributed to serious morale problems among library personnel.



Major achievements over the past decade:

  • Jointly purchased and installed a state-of-the-art, commercially produced and supported, integrated online system with Eastern Washington University. This integrated system (Griffin) makes it possible to offer access to many electronic publications and services that were not feasible with our former Cougalog system. It was funded with a special allocation from the legislature in 1995.

  • Installed the web-based version of Griffin in 1998.

  • Moved into a beautiful new addition to the Holland Library in 1994, which doubled that libraryís size. This building offers higher quality seating and consultation space, has fully wired facilities to take advantage of the growing technological library services, and has greatly improved the facilities for teaching hands-on use of electronic information resources.

  • Developed a successful, innovative, and heavily used program of Library Instruction. This past year, the web-based instructional modules developed for English 101 was honored by the Association of College and Research Libraries as one of the Top 10 Tutorials on the Web.

  • Improved efficiency and effectiveness in offering timely services to our students, faculty, and staff. These successes include:

    • Greatly shortened the amount of time it takes to purchase and process library collections and make them available to the library user. Many new books are available to users within days of acquisition.
    • Established new procedures in 1996 whereby library materials in the Holland Library were reshelved much more expeditiously than in the past.
    • Dramatically reduced the amount of time journals are unavailable to users while at the bindery, from 6 weeks to 2 weeks.
    • Provided every librarian and staff member has his/her own microcomputer workstation, e-mail account, electronic calendar, and office products on the LAN to improve the Librariesí efficiency and internal communication. With the support of the university, ergonomic workstations have been made available to all staff. These developments have increased overall productivity.

  • Established consortial agreements that have enabled WSU Libraries to access FirstSearch, Current Contents, MEDLINE, ProQuest, Academic Press Ideal, CIS Lexis/Nexis Academic Universe, Britannica Online, etc., on a networked basis and at reasonable cost savings.

  • Provided full-text of articles from major journals in electronic format accessible via remote access. For those who wish to access these publications in the Libraries, we installed for-fee printing capability.

  • Fine tuned our journal collections, especially in the Science Libraries, during this time of escalating journal prices, with the help of our journal use studies.

  • Offered subsidized, direct document delivery from commercial companies to faculty; began a pilot project to extend this service to graduate students.

  • Cataloged WSU collections located outside the Libraries into Griffin to make those resources more accessible campus-wide (Womenís Resource Center, Heritage House, and the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Allies Program).

  • Created online access to the printed finding aids for several major manuscripts and archival collections (Thomas Foley, McWhorter, and Westin).

  • Developed service-oriented libraries at all WSU branch campuses; developed a service for personalized reference assistance and document delivery for students in the extended degree program.

  • Implemented the recommendations of the Libraries Planning Committee, notably the creation of Working Groups.



The Washington State University Libraries provide access to a diversity of information, ideas, and creative works to stimulate and support the Universityís land- grant mission of teaching and learning, research, and service. We also provide support for the lifelong learning of the citizens of the state. The Libraries are committed to the development, organization and preservation of collections in all forms, to providing access to a diversity of information resources and to instructing people in their use. The Libraries provide work and service environments that nurture creativity, productivity, and trust among staff and users of the Librariesí resources.


WSU AREA OF EMPHASIS: Utilize technology to enhance educational quality and access.

GOAL: To ensure that all members of the WSU community have convenient access to the print and electronic information resources needed to fulfill the mission of the University.

Objective: To ensure that the WSU Libraries continue to make the most prudent collection development choices of print and electronic information resources for on-site collections.


  • Support teaching and research by providing the necessary core collections (current budget will support 1997-98; additional funds necessary 1998-).
  • Continue the journal use studies in the Libraries and use the data to determine per use costs and the most cost effective means for securing these articles, whether it be on-site collections or remote access (1998-).
  • Expand the Direct Document Delivery Service to graduate students in all departments; promote the usage of this service, and continue to seek ways to streamline the procedures required to access it (1997-98; funds approved 1997-98 budget; additional funds may be required over time).
  • Extract and review the collection usage data available from the Griffin system on a regular basis to make better collection development decisions (1998-).
  • Expand consortial access to online full-text journals (1998-).

Objective: To use technology to make the unique collections of the WSU Libraries more accessible to users and to insure the preservation needs of these special collections.


  • Begin digitizing segments of the Historical Photograph Collection in Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections (MASC) (1999-, with MASC development funds).
  • Seek grants to support the digitization of unique and special collections (1999-).
  • Continue converting World Civilization images to electronic format to make them available via Griffin and explore opportunities for similar projects (1998-99).
  • Digitize the Oral History Tape Register of the Whitman County Historical Society located in Media Materials Services (1999-00).

Objective: To improve the delivery time for books, journal articles, and other informational resources made available to WSU through interlibrary loan and other cooperative agreements.


  • Encourage libraries from whom WSU borrows materials to send articles digitally via Ariel software to WSU Interlibrary Loans as a means of document delivery to improve the quality of the copy and to improve the speed of delivery; install Ariel in other Pullman campus libraries, as appropriate (1998-).
  • Explore the feasibility of offering interlibrary loan service via FirstSearch (1998-99).
  • Continue to make improvements through technology in the desktop delivery of articles to faculty and graduate students, e.g., Direct Document Delivery Service (1998-).
  • Continue development of the Cooperative Library Project Joint Catalog in partnership with the other 5 state-supported college and universities (1998-).

Objective: To make better use of the skills and talents of WSU Libraries employees system-wide by continuing to upgrade their technological knowledge and other skills.


  • Continue to upgrade the computers/software in the Library Instruction classrooms to make it possible to train library faculty and staff on the software needed to offer better service to library users (1999-).
  • Work with the Employees Development Working Group to assess staff needs and interests for technological training (1998-99).
  • Upgrade library employee workstations (equipment and software) to the level needed to work efficiently and effectively (1999-).

Objective: To seek ways to make Griffin more accessible, functional, easy to use, and comprehensive in coverage.


  • Improve capability to offer licensed resources to remote WSU users through user authentication (1999-)
  • Add the media booking system to Griffin, allowing faculty to book materials from their offices and eliminating the need to maintain a separate "dBase" database (1998-99).
  • Implement electronic course reserves in Griffin, allowing students to access full-text reserve materials at their convenience via the network both within the libraries, from their residences, and from campus computer labs (1999-00).
  • Link web-based course syllabi to Griffin (1999-01).
  • Create an interactive link between Griffin Acquisitions module and the Universityís accounting system (1999-01).
  • Link Griffin to more web-based electronic information resources (1999-01).
  • Conduct usability studies with Griffin users to improve ease of use (1998-).


WSU AREA OF EMPHASIS: Deliver superior educational opportunities to students throughout the state.

GOAL: To offer high quality service and comparable access to library collections and information resources to WSU students, whether in Pullman, at the branch campuses or learning centers, or enrolled in the extended degree program.

Objective: To ensure that all WSU students and faculty, throughout the state, have access to the same electronic information services available to those on the Pullman campus in equivalent academic programs.


  • Work closely with the vendors who supply electronic information services to secure reasonably priced licensing agreements that ensure access for all WSU students and faculty (1999-01).
  • Improve capability to offer licensed resources to remote WSU users through user authentication (1999-).
  • Continue to seek more timely delivery of material via Interlibrary Loan, Extended Campus Library Services, and Extended Degree Library Services (1999-01).
  • Make sure all of the electronic journals to which WSU subscribes are linked in Griffin (1999-01).
  • Make Marcive records available in Griffin to insure access to U.S. government publications in WSUís collection (1998-01).

Objective: To offer up-to-date, high quality instruction to WSU students in the use of information resources.


  • Continue to upgrade the computers/software in the Library Instruction classrooms to offer high quality instruction to WSU students (1999-).
  • Continue to develop innovative, effective instructional programs for WSU students in the efficient and effective use of information resources (1998-).
  • Increase partnerships with teaching faculty to incorporate library instruction into their courses (1998-).

Objective: To seek creative and effective ways to teach students enrolled in the Distance Education program and at the Learning Centers how to make effective use of information resources.


  • Continue to improve Gen Ed 300 (extended degree course taught by library faculty on researching across the discipline to reflect changes in library technology, new resources available electronically, and streamlined ways to access these resources) (1998-).
  • Explore the feasibility of making the instructional modules, like those developed for ENGL 101, available to students in the distance programs who have no ready access to a WSU library (1999-01).

Objective: To seek outside funding to offer enhancements to existing collections and services and to create new services throughout the library system.


  • Increase appointment for Director of Development from .50 FTE to 1.0 FTE to assist in the identification and solicitation of outside funds (2000-01).
  • Increase grant writing activities (1998-).

Objective: To recruit library faculty and staff representative of a diverse clientele and to make the best use of all library personnel in the delivery of first-rate services.


  • Explore the feasibility of establishing a residency program for recent graduates with an MLS degree from underrepresented groups (1999-).
  • Explore the feasibility of an exchange program with experienced librarians from underrepresented groups who can enrich the WSU Libraries program. These librarians would spend a semester or year working alongside WSU colleagues in Pullman (1999-).
  • Continue to draw on library faculty and staff who are not primarily assigned to public services, to assist with reference service, library instruction, and other public services (1998-).
  • Continue to seek ways to upgrade skills to offer high quality, personalized reference service (1998-).
  • Cross-train staff to improve efficiency and to meet fluctuating user service demands (1998-).


WSU AREA OF EMPHASIS: Strengthen selected graduate/professional/ research programs.

GOAL: To build library collections and strengthen services to support these selected graduate/professional/research programs.

Objective: To strengthen collections (in print, electronic, and other formats) to support these selected programs.


  • Once the Colleges identify selected areas of strength (through their planning process), examine library collections and buying patterns to increase resources to designated areas of strength and excellence; also, examine library programs for activities that are outdated or of lesser importance in light of these areas of excellence (1999-).
  • Work with academic departments to identify and develop these collections (1999-); funding either internal reallocation and/or additional funding).
  • Increase the amount of time devoted to liaison with academic departments to promote new library resources and services (1998-).

GOAL: To make the books, journal articles, and other information resources not found within the WSU Libraries, available to graduate and professional students, more conveniently and cost effectively.

Objective: To continue to seek new, cost effective ways to speed the delivery of materials through interlibrary loan and other means without sacrificing reproductive quality.


  • Continue to work to improve the (summer 1997) agreement among the six Washington state supported college and universities to give all interlibrary loan requests from each otherís institutions top priority (1998-).
  • Continue to work with the WSU Graduate and Professional Students Association (GPSA) in the subsidy of interlibrary loan requests for graduate and professional students (1998-).
  • Expand the Direct Document Delivery Service to graduate students in all departments; promote the usage of this service, and continue to seek ways to streamline the procedures required to access it (1997-98; funds approved 1997-98 budget; additional funds may be required over time).

Objective: To seek ways to make WSUís unique and special collections more readily accessible to students and faculty in graduate/professional programs.


  • Continue to provide online access to the printed finding aids for major manuscripts and archival collections (1998-).
  • In partnership with WSU academic departments, continue to offer internship opportunities in Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections for WSU graduate students. Many graduate students have sought opportunities for hands-on experience processing archival collections and restoring rare books and manuscripts (1998-.
  • Explore opportunities for partnering with academic departments to digitize materials, using the World Civilization ĎAriadneí image database as a prototype (1998-).
  • Improve support for distance users by digitizing special collections (1998-).
  • Continue to incorporate WSU collections located outside the Libraries into Griffin, and provide necessary training and technical assistance for using Griffin to circulate these collections (1998-).
  • Provide access to Media Materials Servicesí McCoy comprehensive collection of audio tapes of popular network radio shows (1998-00).
  • Implement the Griffin online booking system for media materials (1998-99).
  • In partnership with the College of Agriculture & Home Economics, develop the Washington State AgNIC site, an Internet site devoted to information about tree fruit research and education (1998-). [AgNIC is a national project with the National Agriculture Library and our land grant partner libraries.]


WSU AREA OF EMPHASIS: Integrate accountability and performance measures into the area planning and allocation process.

GOAL: To develop and implement meaningful measures of the quality of library services.

Objective: To review the statistical data currently compiled annually in the Libraries to determine if it is still meaningful and whether there is a more efficient and effective means of compilation.


  • Examine the capabilities within the Griffin integrated system to generate meaningful data required for Association of Research Libraries statistics and to give the Libraries a better indication on library usage, specifically usage of the automated resources (1998-).
  • Use internal or vendor-supplied statistics to assess the cost effectiveness of our electronic resources (1998-).
  • Explore the feasibility of mounting statistical data electronically, making it more readily available to all who need it and eliminating the need for paper distribution (1998-99).
  • Acquire Web management tools for Griffin (1998-).
  • Carefully examine the duties of each library faculty and staff vacancy and, as necessary, reallocate that vacancy to the most critical need (1998-).

GOAL: To ensure that the WSU Libraries are responsive to the changing demands of our users.

Objective: To monitor and respond to the changing demands of our users.


  • Continue the journal use studies in the Owen Science & Engineering Library, Agricultural Sciences Library, Veterinary Medical/Pharmacy Library, and Holland/New Library to determine the most cost effective way to meet WSUís information needs (1998-).
  • Monitor and measure attendance at library workshops and library instruction classes for cost ratios; drop classes with low attendance; market and promote high interest classes (1998-).
  • Based on the Library User Survey from the past biennium, identify areas of weakness and establish a plan to strengthen these areas (1998-99).
  • Seek effective ways to use evaluations/questionnaires to measure the effectiveness of library programs both on-campus and at distance education sites (1998-99).
  • Establish a series of workshops on how to survey and measure user needs and perceptions (1998-99).

GOAL: To ensure that all library employees are well trained to provide the highest quality service to library users.

Objective: To make better use of employee knowledge and skills.


  • Promote and encourage cross-training (1998-).
  • Involve employees fully in the planning and decision-making processes (1998-).
  • Provide the necessary group training required for Working Groups to function smoothly (1998-99).
  • Develop a means for assessing the effectiveness of Working Groups (1998-99).

Objective: To work closely with library employees to identify and offer the necessary training that will assist them with their responsibilities.


  • Emphasize and encourage training for all library employees (1998-).
  • Establish a funding base for the Employees Development Working Group for an ongoing program of employee training (1998-99).

NB: Plan98.doc