RLI 278 10
March 2012 research Library issues: a QuarterLy report froM arL, cNi, aNd sparc
ScEnArIo PLAnnIng
Figure 1: The ARL 2030 Scenarios
The ARL project culminated in an intensive workshop at Georgia Tech in March 2011, designed to
prepare member institutions for local implementation and equip them to use the scenario set effectively.
Since this time, a number of ARL libraries have engaged in discussions and activities using the ARL
2030 Scenarios. Three examples are presented in this issue of RLI, offering several approaches that
other libraries might adapt to their own circumstances. The article about the University of Kansas (KU)
experience describes the workshops held with staff to contribute to KU’s current strategic planning
process. Two other libraries, Johns Hopkins University and McMaster University, share how they are
joining scenario planning with their balanced scorecard activities.
Another activity worth mentioning is the research project led by three 2011–2012 ARL Research
Library Leadership Fellows—Jon Cawthorne (Boston College), Vivian Lewis (McMaster University), and
Xuemao Wang (Emory University). They are leading conversations using the ARL 2030 Scenarios within
their organizations, with other members of their Fellows class, and with ARL library directors to explore
workforce transformation. If ARL libraries are to meet the needs of the 21st-century research enterprise,
they will need to transform their workforce. Demographic trends—retirement of large proportions
of staff, intergenerational conflict, introduction of new kinds of professionals into the workplace, and
gaps in core competencies—are creating challenges for libraries. In addition, the ever-increasing global
competition in the world of higher education and research calls for a new research library workforce that
is agile, multicultural, and interdisciplinary.7
The ARL 2030 Scenarios can engage library staff in new ways of thinking about the future of
the academic research library. The resources created by ARL provide a variety of frameworks for
implementation that are flexible and easily adaptable to a library’s environment. The challenge for
libraries is determining what actions within the current environment best position the library to thrive
across a majority of the future scenarios.
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