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Alan Gilbert Learning Commons

Library Strategy

The University of Manchester is one of the world’s leading universities, renowned for pioneering research and innovation. The Library plays a crucial role in achieving and maintaining this status.

Our strategy drives the development of the Library towards future success. It sets out a vision for the organisation we believe is needed for the future, and the things we will achieve by 2021 to meet these aspirations.

The Library strategy supports the University's Manchester 2020 strategic vision, outlining our priorities and ensuring we can we can deliver in new and mission-critical areas, building services which will support the Manchester 2020 goals.   

The strategy is made up of four themes which are aligned with Manchester 2020:

Goal 1: World-class research


Have a key role in enabling researchers across all disciplines to produce research with the widest impact at all stages of their careers.

Researcher at The Library‌We will emphasise our roles in supporting open research, training early career researchers, fostering interdisciplinary research and stimulating research on our special collections.

Work with our academic colleagues to ensure our collections support all of the University’s research priorities and maximise the value of the Library’s unique relationship with the John Rylands Research Institute.

We will invest significantly in opportunities to apply digital scholarship tools and techniques to our content, unlocking its potential.

Promote research across discipline boundaries by building on our relationships with the Faculties and exploring new ways to connect researchers using our systems, content and services.


  • stimulate and support the University’s research priorities and ambitions for REF 2021 by investing in enhanced and tailored research publishing, impact and measurement services;
  • offer training and support specifically targeted at early career and post-graduate researchers, across the research lifecycle and tailored to discipline/faculty-specific needs;
  • provide a tailored package of advocacy and training to promote data publishing;
  • lead in the development of a data-driven approach to promote collaboration between researchers, especially across disciplinary boundaries;
  • develop our content and collections, stimulating new ways to exploit these resources with a focus on the University’s research priorities;
  • contribute to the University’s Research Lifecycle Project;
  • provide content, tools and services to enable researchers to unlock the potential of digital scholarship.

Goal 2: Outstanding learning and student experience


Enrich the teaching, learning and student experience by ensuring that all our students receive a high quality, creative and innovative service.

Take an inclusive approach to actively supporting student retention and success, both for study on campus and through our expanding distance learner offer.

Focus on supporting the University’s need to address the complex issues of differential attainment, and clearly demonstrate the unique quality of its teaching and learning activity through the use of metrics and other methods of evaluating impact.


  • Student in The Library‌continue to take an innovative and consistent approach to ensuring the provision of the Library resources students need to be successful in their studies;
  • support the University’s new emphasis on digital learning alongside the expanding distance learning portfolio by developing an innovative digital service offer that benefits all students and contributes to their success;
  • support the University in its endeavours to convert its offer-holding students by developing a set of stimulating pre-entry interactions and engagement opportunities that will support a successful transition into Higher Education;
  • help to address differential attainment by exploring innovative solutions to support the student groups most at risk of not achieving their full potential;
  • establish a meaningful set of core metrics, and other methods of evaluating impact, which will help to improve student retention and success, including the use of learner analytics;
  • explore our role in helping to improve teaching quality by offering appropriate expertise and events as part of a coordinated network of teaching excellence initiatives.

Goal 3: Social responsibility


Engage communities, individuals and groups with our spaces, collections and services; to enhance their lives and broaden the Library’s scope for impact.

Have a positive impact on people’s lives through the establishment of ‘openness’ as our default.


  • Visitors at The John Rylands Library‌work in partnership with our target audiences on cultural and educational projects by engaging individuals and groups with our spaces, collections and services and developing opportunities to participate in Library activity for local residents and organisations, particularly through The John Rylands Library;
  • contribute to the University’s Widening Participation agenda by continually creating opportunities to raise aspirations and widen participation in our local communities;
  • demonstrate the impact of our social responsibility activity, including community and public engagement;
  • increase the accessibility and use of University research outputs for the benefit of audiences beyond our staff and students by supporting the development, dissemination and application of research and the measurement of its value and impact;
  • increase the availability and accessibility of Library content, data and services to non-traditional audiences, evolving our current practices around the acquisition, exposure and development of content, data and services to incorporate ‘open principles’.

Enabling strategies


Build strong foundations to enable the Library to deliver its strategic goals, facilitating a high performing culture which will deliver service excellence.


  • Birds eye view of The Library‌attract, develop and progress our people to ensure optimum performance within a culture of openness, support and trust;
  • continuously review performance against agreed targets and maximise potential by giving our people the time and support to develop;
  • ensure our services meet or exceed expectations, put our customers first and deliver without unnecessary friction;
  • help customers to take advantage of opportunities to personalise their experience;
  • ensure that Library facilities support the teaching and learning, research, academic and social needs of the University by increasing the range and quality of flexible spaces across all our sites;
  • contribute to the wider landscape of Higher Education through strategic collaboration with other academic institutions;
  • ensure our financial and business planning supports our strategic direction.


Details of our strategic visions and aims can be found on our strategic plan document:


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