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Introducing our 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 strategic direction 

‌‌This Strategic Plan will drive 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. Underpinned by a series of annual operational plans, the Strategy will guide our investment priorities, service, and policy development for the next three years. This is a plan to raise the bar. It will position the UML as a world-leading academic library with a crystal clear focus on its contribution to the University’s strategic objectives.

‌‌‌‌‌The Library’s priorities ensure that we can deliver in new and mission-critical areas, building services which will support the Manchester 2020 goals. We have taken account of over a century of investment in collection building, the enormous impact of digital technologies, and the continuing importance of physical spaces for both learning and research. What matters most now is our ability to manage continuing demand for the things that once wholly defined us, while moving rapidly, and at scale, into the broader range of products, services and skills demanded by our researchers and students.

Expectations are continually shaped by new ways to learn and research, and by the ever growing pressure on students and University colleagues to achieve their potential. Our first priority, therefore, is to understand thoroughly the communities we work with. It will be vital that we face outwards from our buildings, to scan the external landscape, to analyse market data, and hold evidence-based discussions with our faculty partners. The deeper understanding of the changing needs of research and scholarship that we gain will reveal trends in learning and research behaviours that we will respond to in order to maximize the Library’s contribution to University success.

Already regarded as a leader in our field, we will continue to network with our peers, both to identify best practice from within, and beyond, the HE sector, and to enable co-ordinated access to global information content. We will continue to adapt for a future in which Library content and expertise are integrated into research and learning lifecycles as part of holistic and intuitive university knowledge services. We will pay particular attention to significant global and national drivers, such as the shift to more open research and the requirements of the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF).

This Strategy is the next phase in a continual reinvention of the UML to suit changing demands and to ensure that the University of Manchester receives the very best, and most relevant, library service it can afford.

While we see digital opportunities everywhere, our thinking also reflects the need for changes to our service model and a continuing, strong, presence on campus. In pursuit of success, we will attract new skills into the organisation, continue to strive for an open and unified culture which encourages innovation, and review the way in which we organise ourselves. The implementation of robust methods of measuring our impact will also be key. As one of only five National Research Libraries in the UK, the UML must be every bit as world-class as the University of Manchester itself aspires to be.

Delivery of this ambitious agenda will be characterised by engagement and partnership with University staff and students, and underpinned by investment in the development of Library staff, estates and technologies. In the next three years we will see growth in our contribution to boosting research performance, developing an excellent experience for our students, and enhancing the lives of the local community.

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