Mission and Plan


Williams Libraries provide an intellectual forum where the world of ideas is made manifest to inspire learning, teaching, and creativity at Williams and beyond.

In the liberal arts tradition, we:

  • Stimulate critical inquiry through exceptional collections and staff expertise
  • Cultivate an environment that is inclusive, responsive, and adaptable
  • Engage in continuous learning as a confident, dedicated, and diverse team

Strategic Plan (2018 – 2023, revised 2022)

  • We embrace a culture of engagement and participate in the educational mission of Williams. By fostering a stimulating and inclusive exchange of ideas, we enact community around knowledge and information to continually develop values of diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility alongside our users.

    Revised Objectives:

    • Finalize the shared understanding of engagement that informs library services and programs
    • Continue to engage with faculty and students as teaching and learning partners. Specifically: re-engage with departments that have been without liaisons, expand offerings for asynchronous library instruction, and develop non-course-integrated instruction offerings
    • Collaborate with campus partners on curricular and co-curricular initiatives, specifically staff educators like the new Director of the Teaching Center, and new colleagues in Academic Engagement
    • Ensure that all members of the Williams community, especially students, feel a sense of belonging and representation in the library, specifically focusing on gathering feedback on the experiences of users with historically marginalized identities
    • Increase opportunities for engagement with the Williams community around diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility initiatives, especially significant gaps in the representation of historically marginalized communities in our collections
  • We are committed to recruiting, retaining, and developing a skilled, inclusive, and diverse staff, and to increasing cultural competencies among library staff by increasing diversity awareness and sensitivity. We aspire to work cohesively, with creativity and competence, and to cultivate an environment of inquiry and exploration.

    Revised Objectives:

    • Recruit, support, and retain an inclusive and diverse staff
    • Enable and expect all library staff to actively participate in learning opportunities by incorporating learning into all aspects of our operations
    • Recognize and appreciate professional achievements of staff members as a fundamental element of support and retention
    • Foster an environment which is supportive of risk-taking, creativity, and collaboration, specifically organize events like a ‘day of exploration’ or gather and react to ‘dangerous ideas’
    • Incorporate diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility goals into individual employee annual goals, and into department plans
    • Ensure transparency and consistency in decision-making through shared written procedures, PDQs, shared committee charges, and shared meeting records
    • Participate in the College’s pilot of remote and flexible work arrangements and specifically gauge the impact upon our inclusivity goals and engagement with the College
    • Document and share workflows to ensure continuity during staff turnover and campus closures, and facilitate cross-training and cross-coverage of various positions.
  • We develop collections that support evolving academic priorities and an inclusive community with diverse needs. We make our collections accessible and discoverable, while balancing digital and print formats through agile and flexible funding. We develop, expand, and promote collections that center diverse and marginalized groups.

    Revised Objectives

    • Update the collection development policy and Special Collections development policies including relevant elements of our Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility plan
    • Examine the content and description of our collections through the lens of diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility to improve the inclusivity of our collection and the tools to access it
    • Organize and make available long-hidden materials in Special Collections that will contribute to the diversity of our overall collection
    • Redeploy staff to improve the life cycle management of electronic resource acquisition and access
    • Manage regular review of recurring subscriptions (journals/databases) based on curricular relevance, usage, and cost
    • Work with vendors to collect and understand their diversity and accessibility plans and statements. Encourage them to create such plans where absent and enhance them where inadequate. Celebrate their success where possible
    • Broaden our support for open and accessible content and tools through the 2.5% Commitment and similar initiatives
    • Determine whether to re-conceptualize the security of our tangible collection and remove security gates and strips
  • We create a library experience shaped by the information needs of the Williams community. We build systems that empower our staff and support our users, and develop interfaces that provide a seamless, barrier-free discovery of collections and services.

    Revised Objectives:

    • Select and design public-facing systems that better meet the needs of users, particularly of historically marginalized groups, and are responsive to a regularized system of evaluation
    • Apply technological innovations to library-managed digital collections, electronic subscriptions and resource sharing to improve selection, acquisition, discovery and access, specifically migrate our digital collections to Alma D and plan for replacement of GFA system
    • Provide our departments with the most appropriate technologies and training support for creating greater interoperability and streamlined workflows, specifically Google Workspace, Alma Digital, and Primo VE
    • Document and share critical technology workflows to ensure continuity during staff turnover and campus closures
    • Pay a fair price for tools that we depend on and invest in open and accessible tools important to our work, for example, MarcEdit and Tampermonkey
    • Review the libraries' Web Content Strategy and Website Editorial Guidelines and add language for DEI and accessibility
  • We lead among liberal arts libraries while contributing to and learning from communities beyond Williams, seeking to develop and strengthen partnerships with peer libraries, colleagues in librarianship and allied professions, and residents of the local region.

    Revised Objectives:

    • Research and report on  our many communities, including academic and other libraries, residents of Northern Berkshire county and adjacent areas, and consortia to reflect on whether  we partner with a diverse and inclusive range of institutional and community partners and recommend any changes to our relationships
    • Share expertise with the profession and our geographic region with financial resources, time, and recognition for staff engaging in these activities
    • Continue to improve and enhance access to resources through digital and physical resource sharing, specifically the Controlled Digital Lending for interlibrary loan (CDL for ILL) program through the Boston Library Consortium
    • Work with vendors to collect and understand their DEIA plans and statements. Encourage them to create such plans where absent and enhance them where inadequate. Celebrate their success where possible (cross-listed with Collections)
    • Continue the work of the Vendor Diversity Taskforce to direct library spending to minority owned businesses
  • We respond to the needs of our users for inspiring, inclusive, and sustainable spaces that foster collaboration, contemplation, and creativity. We ensure that everyone feels welcomed and empowered in our spaces.

    Revised Objectives:

    • Repurpose spaces to increase user satisfaction and better support the academic mission of the college, specifically collaborate with the Dean of Faculty’s Office to repurpose the Video Conference Room (VCR, Sawyer 308) for the Teaching Center
    • Align management of building operations and travel arrangement with the campus sustainability initiatives
    • Enhance and sustain a climate in the Williams Libraries’ facilities that values, supports, and welcomes diversity and inclusion
    • Create and implement a comprehensive signage package for Sawyer Library that is flexible and cost effective enough to be updated by library staff and within budget

See also: