Goal One: Expand Access
Make our unique collections, experts, and services available when, where, and how users need them.
Shortly after being sworn in as the 14th Librarian of Congress, Dr. Carla Hayden noted that, "The biggest opportunity for the Library is to make its wonderful treasures available to people...make people aware that it is part of their national heritage and that everyone can find something in the Library that relates to them, their classroom curriculum, or where they want to go in life."
This statement aptly describes our aspirations of being not only the world's largest, but also the world's most-used library. In addition to our expert staff and collections, we have many tools at hand to realize this aspiration. Technology provides an opportunity to democratize the Library's collections and services like never before. Strategic partnerships and collaborations can multiply our user base. And where people cannot come to Washington, D.C., we can bring some of the magic of experiencing the Library to them.
Given the diverse needs and geographic dispersion of our users, we will continue to improve our existing offerings while seeking new and innovative ways for people to interact with the Library.
We will make our collections, experts, and services more readily discoverable and available for users, whether visiting Washington, D.C., or accessing the Library remotely.
Use Connectors To Extend Reach
We will work with partners to promote our collections, experts, and services to their networks.
Expand Physical Presence
We will proactively bring elements of the Library to the American people and enable broader use of our collections, experts, and services.
Goal Two: Enhance Services
Create valuable experiences for every user to foster lifelong connections to the Library.
Meeting a user's needs has always been context-dependent, but this is more so in today's complex environment when people are using so many powerful new tools to discover, access, and use information.
In other words, users have options. Whether providing policy consultations with Members of Congress via Skype, launching a crowdsourcing project inviting users to create a database of historic newspaper images, providing online access to copyright regulations and cases, or debuting "touch history" tours that allow visually impaired visitors to experience the magnificence of the Thomas Jefferson Building, the Library will continue to innovate and rethink the way we do business. Delivering superior services and valuable experiences is the way to encourage users to return regularly and become lifelong learners and Library contributors.
Elevate Digital Experiences
We will invest in an end-to-end digital experience that improves online services, enhances discoverability, and facilitates the online curation of content to help all users derive more value.
Transform In-Person Experiences
We will focus on exhibitions, learning spaces, educational materials, and cultural programming to transform visitors into users of our services and contributors to our mission.
Develop User-Centered Content
We will develop content in a variety of formats and media to enhance the usability and accessibility of the Library's collections.
Goal Three: Optimize Resources
Modernize, strengthen, and streamline our operational capabilities.
The agency's financial and human resources, physical and digital capacities, and rate of technological advancement have struggled to keep pace with the growth of its collections and the needs of its users. The confluence of these factors has made our current operating model untenable without a shift in approach.
Our approach moving forward will focus on two fundamental opportunities. The first is to identify, synergize, and leverage capabilities, processes, and talent dispersed across organizational units as a single enterprise. The second opportunity goes beyond the common adage of doing more with less, and seeks instead to proactively find more, so the agency can do even more.
Align Core Library Activities
We will align and strengthen capabilities across the Library to achieve optimum operational efficiencies while providing enhanced user services.
We will share information, apply best practices, and use data across the Library to drive user- centered enhancements that will deliver the highest returns while balancing staff workloads.
Invest in Talent for the Future
We will uncover and address capability gaps; train and retain our experts; and recruit new talent to augment our knowledge, skills, and abilities.
Diversify and Expand Funding
We will more effectively articulate the Library's value to attract additional resources from Congress, private donors, and others.
Goal Four: Measure Impact
Use data to measure our impact on the world around us and share a powerful story.
The Library of Congress is the world's largest library with nearly 170 million items; yet what ultimately makes the Library successful is usage. There is no doubt the Library's collections and its human expertise hold untold intellectual value. But we must go beyond the volume of collections or number of research requests from Congress when speaking to our value, and focus on increasing usage, and perhaps more importantly, measuring the impact of our collections, services, and experts.
We will use data to measure how effectively we deliver services to our users. Having access to better quality aggregate data about our users—while appropriately disclosing how the information is being collected and used, and safeguarding user privacy—will allow the agency to gain insights to operate more efficiently and effectively. To enhance our services, staff will be empowered by this data to turn what they learn into principled action, working with users and with each other to address issues as they emerge and make timely improvements.
For an institution as large as the Library to be effective, our approach to achieving the goals and objectives outlined in this Strategic Plan must be integrated across the organization. This means promoting shared outcomes and resource planning to enable our organizational units to fulfill their mission-specific goals.
Understand Our Users
We will use data to better understand our users and their needs and measure how effectively we deliver services, while appropriately safeguarding user privacy.
We will measure impact in order to demonstrate value to all stakeholders and share our story in compelling, creative ways.
Promote a Culture of Continuous Improvement
We will become an insight-driven organization, using data to plan, set goals and targets, and strengthen performance management.
Implementation and Metrics
Performance measures will be established, reported, and assessed annually.
The Library of Congress will implement our strategic goals and objectives through a phased, five-year plan from FY 2019—FY 2023. The agency's strategy will come to life in the Directional Plans that organizational units will develop to identify and prioritize key initiatives. The Directional Plans will identify office direction and operational priorities and be aligned to the Strategic Plan. They will speak to what each unit is doing to track progress to and ultimately realize the agency's strategy.
As the Directional Plans are developed, the Library will develop one enterprise Implementation Roadmap to capture the aggregated priority initiatives, timeline, and targeted success for the entire organization.
Regular evaluation and improvement are critical components to a successful strategic plan implementation. When developing the Implementation Roadmap, leadership will also develop a strong performance management plan to track success to the goals. A set of performance measures will accompany each objective from the Strategic Plan. They will be tracked, reported, and reassessed or updated yearly, though progress will be measured more frequently, depending on the availability of data. Collectively, these measures will be used as indicators of progress and will:
- Improve decision making and problem solving
- Enable accountability
- Provide early warning signals
- Enable projections and planning
- Facilitate feedback
- Increase objectivity
- Focus attention
The Library will communicate the progress and results of the Strategic Plan implementation on a regular basis. Progress and results will be shared with Congress and external stakeholders through annual reports, and with staff via the intranet, the Gazette, meetings, open staff forums, and other venues.
The Library of Congress will reassess our strategic priorities, including goals, objectives, measures, and actions each year. Library leadership will convene to discuss and evaluate the success of the Strategic Plan and Implementation Roadmap as we determine our planning approach for 2024 and beyond.