[Note: Though I am presenting the group project documents in their entirety here (two word documents comprising of an environmental scan, strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats analysis, a proposed revision of mission, vision, and values statements, a strategic goals proposal, and an annotated bibliography), in discussion of this evidentiary item, I am emphasizing the “Mission, Vision, and Values Statements” proposal section in the Part 1 document (pp. 26-29) and the “Strategic Goals” proposal section in Part 2 (pp. 3-13).]
In a semester-long project for the iSchool core course INFO 204: Information Professions, I explored an information organization alongside four other group members. We conducted an environmental scan of the Maureen and Mike Mansfield Library (ML), the academic library at the University of Montana (UM) in Missoula, Montana, evaluating the state of ML with a strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats analysis. The synthesis and analysis of this collected information led to our proposal for a strategic plan comprised of concrete, actionable objectives, with their respective action plans and methods of assessment. [For more about environmental scans, see Competency C; for my reflections on what I gained from the course and my thoughts about the information professions, see Competency B]; for further discussion about the group dynamics of this project and my experiences as “lead organizer,” see Competency M.]
Our work was initially motivated by a review of the literature about mission, vision, and values statements. Vision statements are an organization’s succinct manifestation of foresight into its future, while mission statements, varying in length, support an organization’s vision and should be reviewed every three to five years (Begum, 2006). Mission statements in particular can provide a conceptual framework to show various constituencies how an organization has specific goals and values that align with the goals and values of the institutions and individuals they serve, which in turn can ensure the continued, vital, financial support received from external sources (such as the parent institution to an academic library; Kuchi, 2006). They can also be a source of advertising for an information organization, in communicating its purpose to stakeholders who may not see the value of the organization in adapting to provide information to its patrons across a variety of services (Nooshinfard & Ziaei, 2011; Kuchi, 2006). Ultimately, mission, vision, and values statements should serve a specific purpose (Bartkus, Glassman, & McAfee, 2004), providing direction to an information organization when faced with pressures of potential obsolescence from various sources.
ML had already composed its own mission, vision, and values statements in its published 2014-2017 strategic plan. Our group argued that the language describing the relationship between ML and UM could be more explicit, to reflect how ML was aligning itself actively with UM 2020 (UM’s strategic plan) and its goals for students to become “global citizens” and interact in a global community of the future. Taken from our project, we proposed the following statements:
Mission Statement: In support of UM’s mission for quality, unique, academic excellence (see University of Montana, 2016b), ML promotes the pursuit of continued learning through access to timely and relevant resources and services so that the campus community will become engaged, global citizens navigating in an information-rich world.
Vision: Beyond its academic imperative to provide for the academic needs of the University through relevant collections management and services, ML will enable the campus community to have the skills and resources to forecast changes in an information-driven world; and therefore, the community will embrace that change through technological integration while preserving its past and having greater proactive collaboration as members of the university and of the world.
Values: In addition to supporting the University’s values for a stronger global community of the future, ML also upholds the values that form the acronym SPADE:
Service: At the heart of all library services, the staff strives toward working in service for others, from providing basic reference services; ensuring that collections are maintained and remain relevant to its users; and involving themselves more in student success and the community beyond the University. Accountability and integrity are also inherent in this work of service to others.
Preservation: No future exists without the past. Archiving and maintaining records of our shared history is integral to live in a future where information is needed to respond to global issues. Unique cultural ideas and artifacts should be preserved so future generations will be able to enjoy and learn from them.
Access: Information access is necessary in order to develop critical thinking skills and address critical issues both inside and outside an academic context. Increasing access involves continuing expansion of technological resources, developing physical common areas, strengthening social media presence, and maintaining electronic and physical accessibility for individuals with disabilities.
Diversity: In line with the University’s diversity mission, ML welcomes and respects the diversity of all people who use its library services. ML strives to facilitate creative collaborations across academic disciplines, institutions, and beyond, especially in relation to historically marginalized groups still underrepresented in the campus community.
Education: ML fosters a commitment to lifelong learning for all university members. An ongoing education plays out on a global scale, beginning in the mind and heart of the individual, expressed through interactions with the community mediated by ML’s resources and services.