performance even as changes are still taking place in the realms of public policies
and in systems of scholarly communication, thereby advancing a strategic
transformation locally in ways that enhance research and scholarship at each
member institution. Accordingly, ARL maintains a strong capacity for advocacy
and influence, for measurement and assessment, for environmental scanning
and strategic thinking, and for developing leadership for positive change.
Some of the ways ARL works in the transformation zone between and among
the Strategic Directions identified above include:
• Analyze trends and needs, and identify solutions.
• Assess policies, new models, new strategies.
• Advocate for positive change.
• Enable collective member library responses and action.
• Articulate and promote best practices.
• Extend community and expertise through alliances and partnerships.
• Serve as a convener of member libraries initiating experimental projects.
The Nature and Influence
of ARL’s Membership
ARL’s strategic plan was reviewed and updated by member library
representatives in the same year that the world economy was in a freefall,
with conditions unmatched since the Great Depression of the 1930s, when the
Association was established. The contemporary economic circumstances were a
stark reminder to this generation of research library leaders that ARL’s very
reason for being—and its greatest asset—is its ability to convene the leadership
of major research libraries and foster collective positions and actions that can
achieve an impact greater than would be possible if undertaken by one or a
smaller number of libraries.
ARL represents 124 large and distinctive research libraries in the US and
Canada. Speaking with one voice, these institutions exert a significant level of
influence within the North American research and higher education marketplace
and communities. And when ARL libraries partner with other kinds of libraries
and with other organizations in common cause, they further extend their influence.
ARL’s new strategic plan recognizes this strength and underscores the need for the
Association and its member libraries to have a bias for collective actions and
Themes within the ARL Strategic Plan 2010–2012
C O N T I N U E D
FEBRUARY 2010 RESEARCH LIBRARY ISSUES: A BIMONTHLY REPORT FROM ARL, CNI, AND SPARC