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Why the New Directions Initiative?

My first blog post ? clearly a new direction for me!

And the direction that I?m heading is to say a few words about why we started the New Directions Initiative (NDI) and what the New Directions Coordinating Committee (NDCC) has been up to. The primary purpose of this post is to document why we started the NDI, especially for people that couldn't make the ND Kick-off Early Bird on Sept. 25th (here's the Early Bird Handout). Brian Quigley, my fellow NDCC blogger, will do the same in describing the ND process that we're going to follow in a separate post. Brian, you're in the ?on deck blogging circle" (or whatever it's called).

Before I go any farther, I wanted to say that the Early Bird was a great success. There was a lot of energy in the room and I was delighted to hear so many ideas for new direction. We'll post all the ideas that were recorded in our "benchmark exercise" on our website. More to come on this later.

So, why the NDI? Change happens so fast these days it?s easy to become numb to it. But just maybe, "numbness" is not the proper response. At the Early Bird, Tom proposed that the change we are experiencing is not only significant, but that it's accelerating. Some of these changes are welcome and some not.

  • The pressure on the scholarly communications process (e.g., push for Open Access)
  • Consolidation of so much of our licensed materials into huge packages (is this sustainable?)
  • Changes at UC with President Dynes resigning and the report from Regent Blum, "We need to be Strategically Dynamic"
  • Changes in search and discovery tools (i.e.: Google Book Search, Google Scholar, Microsoft Live Academic Search); On a side-note, did you realize that Google won't even be 10 years old until next year?
  • Integration with campus academic systems (i.e.: online environment such as bSpace)
  • Transformation of traditional disciplinary constructs and approaches due to technology changes and increasing awareness of supporting interdisciplinarity (is this really a word; my spell checker doesn't think so)?
  • The fact that there will be many new faces on campus and in the Library over the next 5+ years; what will these people expect of us?

There is a lot going on that can affect how our faculty and students go about their work in the future. Please feel free to add other changes that you find intriguing as a comment on this post. So, why are we NDI-ing? Because it's a good time to better understand these changes and how we need to adjust, as we continue our support of campus goals, programs, faculty and students. Thus, our NDI goal.

The goal of the New Directions Initiative is to support an open process that will allow the Library to understand and adapt to the evolving information needs of our faculty and students.

This leads us to the role of the New Directions Coordinating Committee (NDCC). Tom created the NDCC to design and facilitate the open process mentioned in our goal statement. The NDCC is not going to propose or develop new directions. That's your job (see, you don't get off the hook that easy). In designing the process, we had three main objectives in mind.

1. Provide opportunities for staff to learn about and reflect on the shifting Library environment, and future needs and services.

  • Provides opportunities for us to learn as a community from each other and from outside speakers
  • Helps is to achieve a shared understanding of what the future may hold

2. Engage the expertise of our staff, through multiple opportunities, to develop possibilities for new and enhanced Library services, or new ways existing service can be provided

  • "Engage the expertise of our staff, through multiple opportunities for participation" means that we're looking to you for new direction ideas. The NDCC has spent a lot of time designing a communication plan to allow for as much discussion of ND ideas, as possible. More on this in a later blog.
  • "...to develop possibilities for new and enhanced Library services, or new ways existing service can be provided" means we are looking forward and outward toward a 5+ year horizon. This is not a budget cutting exercise where we are looking for efficiencies or other means to cover a deficit. This is all about creative thinking - about how we can better serve campus goals, programs, faculty and students. Now's not the time to be worried about how we may fund new directions, let's first get all the ideas on the table.

3. Implement our new directions developed by staff

  • So, once again we're back to "you" - as in, "new directions developed by our staff"
  • Yes, this is a bit thin. but it's hard to say more until we know what the new directions are. Think of this as a place holder put here by Library Admin, as a commitment to move new directions surfaced by our process forward.

The Bottom Line: The NDCC is very optimistic that an inclusive and thoughtful process will produce exciting new directions.

Coming up:

  • The blog from Brian on the NDI Process
  • Another blog from me on the NDI Communication Plan (obviously, this is a critical part of the process and we want to get it right).

If you've got this far and have something to say, please don't hesitate to leave a comment! A lot of comments may encourage me to blog more often.


Sep 24, 2007 | Categories: New Directions Process | bhurley

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