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Our Progress

Our previous strategic plan set forth a new and transformational vision for the Library and served as our road map to expanding the Library’s reach and deepening our impact, fulfilling our mission to engage, inspire and inform our users. That plan, in combination with the complementary, stand-alone digital strategy, set the Library on an exciting new course to put Library users — Congress, creators, connectors and learners — at the heart of all we do.

Expand Access

We committed to make our unique collections, experts and services available when, where and how users need them. This led us to undertake significant digitization projects of collection materials and to expand and improve applications for managing the Library’s digital collections. We digitized and placed millions of collection items online, including the papers of 23 presidents, from George Washington to Calvin Coolidge. We pursued aggressive and strategic “born digital” collecting, building on decades of work preserving and providing access to digital materials. The U.S. Copyright Office engaged creators to inform the development of policies affecting future library materials, such as artificial intelligence, while expanding access to the copyright system itself to more creators via its “Copyright for All” initiative. By the People, a crowdsourcing program to transcribe online content, engaged citizen transcribers across the world to make hundreds of thousands of pages of content more readable by humans and machines. To promote understanding of the foundational document of our nation, we released the Constitution Annotated on our website, providing wide access to a resource previously only available in print.

Enhance Services

We created valuable experiences for our users to foster lifelong connections to the Library. In line with our digital strategy — and given urgency by the COVID-19 pandemic — we established digital gathering places, extending our reach far beyond Capitol Hill. Bolstering our existing resources, we improved digital venues for interacting with our content, including webinars, videos, and website enhancements, digital events, application programming interfaces, mobile apps, enhanced social media presence and more.

Among other technologies, we explored machine learning and artificial intelligence, cloud computing, speech-to-text transcription and more — experiments that yielded valuable contributions to the wider cultural heritage community. We began work to transform in-person experiences too, embarking on a project to reimagine the visitor experience at the Thomas Jefferson Building and launching a new programming series, Live at the Library. To ensure that everyone can share in the joy of the written word, we distributed thousands of braille e-reader devices to National Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled network libraries and their patrons.

Optimize Resources

We modernized, strengthened and streamlined our operational capabilities through expansive initiatives to improve infrastructure, governance and support. This included a comprehensive effort to transform the Library’s IT foundation by centralizing our digitization program, building an enhanced digital scan center and exploring a modern, cost-effective cloud computing strategy. We made significant progress on modernizing the copyright system for the United States, improving this important user experience. The Library established its first comptroller position to oversee its financial resources and earned a clean audit opinion for the 26th consecutive year. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Library sustained its operations by deploying an enterprise-wide online telework application, improving the Library’s telework intake process and revising pre-COVID telework policies. Our expanded development office surpassed a commitment to Congress to raise $20M in private philanthropy for the visitor experience while building internal capabilities to partner with new audiences and grow resources to advance Library programs and services. We implemented numerous human-centered design systems, enabling both digital accessibility and consistent user experiences, while making our resources more scalable, efficient and productive.

Measure Impact

We also knew that to demonstrate progress, we had to gather and use data to share the powerful story of our institutional transformation. The Library introduced service unit directional plans, improved our approach to setting and tracking meaningful goals and targets and created an implementation road map to track progress toward our strategic goals. We also envisioned and deployed the agency’s first risk management framework, which is now governed by a risk management council and chief risk officer. The Library expanded its data reporting to include on-site events and engaged in more robust comprehensive analysis of the Library’s virtual content. These user-focused analyses are providing valuable insight for developing and delivering the content that our users want and need.

The new strategic plan we are introducing for 2024-2028 represents the next phase of the user-centered journey that we began in 2019, building on the Library’s many accomplishments. The strategic goals we’ve established include both enhancements to some of the goals set in 2019 and new successor goals that reflect the maturation of our work over the last five years. None of the Library’s strategic goals in today’s context could be achieved without the contributions of digital technology. With this in mind, the objective of being digitally enabled is included in the 2024-2028 Strategic Plan as intrinsic to its success.