Mission and Plan


Williams Libraries provide an intellectual forum where the world of ideas is made manifest to inspire learning, teaching, and creativity. In the liberal arts tradition, our staff and collections stimulate critical inquiry. We cultivate an inclusive and adaptable environment, and we engage in continuous learning as a confident, dedicated, and diverse team.


Our goals and objectives reflect our overarching commitments to diversity and sustainability. They are informed by the Libraries’ two freestanding DEIA and Sustainability Action plans.

Diversity & Inclusion

Williams Libraries seek to be a library staff who reflect the growing diversity of our academic community. We aspire to create an inclusive work environment in which people with identities historically underrepresented in our profession thrive. We do this through intentional recruitment, transparent policies and procedures, professional development, and encouragement of personal growth.

We are dedicated to empowering our communities to confront bias and misinformation, to move beyond dominant narratives of knowledge, and to contribute creatively to a broad scholarly conversation. We do this by deliberately including a diversity of perspectives in our collections and teaching, practicing restorative communication, and reflecting on our work.

We are dedicated to ensuring open and equitable access in an environment where everyone feels welcomed, valued, and respected. We commit to ongoing dialog with communities at Williams and beyond to co-create places of belonging and connection.

As the world changes, so will we. We acknowledge that our understanding and awareness is constantly evolving. We are individually and collectively accountable to our communities and to each other for our actions and growth.

These commitments are drawn from a longer diversity statement that introduces our DEIA Plan.


We commit to continuously educating, encouraging, and empowering patrons and staff to practice mindful sustainability while assessing and reducing our environmental impact through collaboration with the college’s strategic Climate Action Plan, Zero Waste Action Plan, and through the development and implementation of a departmental Sustainability Action Plan.

Strategic Plan (2023-28)

  • We embrace a culture of engagement and participate in the educational mission of Williams. By fostering a stimulating and inclusive exchange of ideas we empower our users and ourselves to engage critically with knowledge and information and to continually develop values of diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility. We approach programming through the lens of information literacy and guided by our Shared Definition of Engagement.


    • Ensure that all members of the Williams community feel a sense of belonging and representation in the library. Specifically, increase opportunities for engagement around diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility initiatives, focusing on engagement with members of communities who may feel marginalized.
    • Expand learning opportunities for students, faculty and staff through the creation of a program of co-curricular information literacy, designing new teaching modes for course-integrated instruction, and developing programming for college staff.
    • Partner with the Rice Center for Teaching and Academic Technology Services to support faculty in developing courses that foster acquisition of information literacy and to determine the appropriate place for, and response to, Generative AI in our instructional programs.
    • Create opportunities to raise awareness and expand community knowledge about the landscape of scholarly publishing.
    • Support new forms of scholarship through the creation of a position for a Digital Initiatives Librarian and an associated cohort of student assistants situated in Research Services.
    • Expand support to students by developing a peer-research-consultants program housed in Research Services.
    • Collaborate with Academic Engagement to assess student success.
    • Map instructional activities to the ACRL Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education to guide future development of the instruction program.
    • Monitor the changes to the college’s approach to Winter Study and seek opportunities for meaningful engagement/participation.
    • Implement more sustainable practices at library events, emphasizing reduction (particularly of plastic), responsible consumption (particularly in regards to food waste and swag) and recycling.
  • We are committed to recruiting, retaining, and developing a skilled, inclusive, and diverse staff that is more representative of the Williams community, and to increasing cultural competencies among library staff. We aspire to work as a learning organization in which all staff feel valued.


    • Recruit, support, and retain an inclusive and diverse staff that is more ethnically and racially representative of the Williams community.
    • Propose to HR and pilot an ‘advancement in place’ promotion and growth plan for all staff.
    • More consistently incorporate diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility goals into individual employee annual goals, and into department plans.
    • Enable and expect all library staff to actively seek and 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 events like a ‘day of exploration’ or reading/discussion groups to discuss concepts that stretch and challenge our ideas.
    • Continue to encourage transparency and consistency in decision-making through shared written procedures, Position Description Questionnaires (PDQs), shared committee charges, and shared meeting records, and facilitate cross-training and cross-coverage to ensure continuity during staff turnover and campus closures.
    • Encourage cultural competence training within the staff, including but not limited to training to intervene to challenge privilege, and center those who have been historically marginalized.
    • Continue to monitor developments in artificial intelligence and machine learning in library and information services and in higher education and develop ways for our staff to learn more about these developments and their impact upon libraries.
  • We develop collections in all media or formats that support evolving academic priorities and an inclusive community with diverse needs.


    • Examine the content and description of our collections in order to expand collections that center diverse and marginalized groups and improve inclusivity and access tools; including incorporating reparative cataloging and description into Collections & Systems and Special Collections.
    • Organize and make discoverable long-hidden materials in Special Collections that will contribute to the diversity of our overall collection, and provide baseline description to all materials in Special Collections.
    • Revise the plan for the life cycle management of electronic resource acquisition and access, and deaccessioning, and manage the regular review of recurring subscriptions (journals/databases) based on curricular relevance, usage, and cost.
    • Define our strategy and expected level of financial support for open and accessible content and consistently build this into our collection development and the budget.
    • Assess our approach to the security of our tangible collection, including the potential removal of security gates and strips.
    • Create and implement a plan (with faculty agreement) for ongoing assessment of which tangible items to keep on central campus, which in the Library Shelving Facility (LSF), and which to deaccession, and revise agreement with Williams College Museum of Art (WCMA) on sharing space in the LSF.
    • Move print periodicals from Level 1 (in Sawyer) to Level 3 to maximize access and use and assess the relevance of the print periodical format to inform collection development.
    • Develop and implement a new workflow for prioritizing archival processing and rare book cataloging.
    • Publicize and enable the Williams community to critically engage with our collection development policy and Special Collections development policy.
  • We manage systems that increase staff effectiveness and empower our users by reducing technological barriers to discovery and use of collections and services. We educate library users about the ethical and practical implications of information technology systems and empower them to make informed choices as they interact with these systems.


    • Define our strategy and expected level of financial support for open and accessible scholarly communication infrastructure and consistently build this into our technology plans.
    • Informed by the 2023 LibQual survey results about faculty dissatisfaction with home/ office access, ensure electronic materials are accessible from home and office in ways that make sense to faculty.
    • Investigate ways to support the most heavily used search scopes & facets in Primo.
    • Audit Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.1 AA Standards (WCAG AA) compliance across all library web content.
    • Monitor developments in machine learning and artificial intelligence, assess their significance for library systems and services and the information lives of our users, and implement services where appropriate.
    • Assess the relationship of our original catalog records and other metadata with the aim of improving connections across systems and metadata standards (e.g. MARC records in Alma, DC records in Alma-D, and EAD serializations from ArchivesSpace). 
  • We contribute to and learn from communities beyond Williams through partnerships with peer libraries, colleagues in librarianship and allied professions, residents of the local region, and indigenous individuals and communities who identify Williamstown as a homeland.


    • Cultivate mutually beneficial relationships with diverse and inclusive partners within the profession and our geographic region. Support library staff engaging in this work with financial resources, time, and recognition.
    • Review the DEIA plans and statements of major vendors in all areas of library expenditures. Encourage them to create such plans where absent and enhance them where inadequate. Celebrate their success where possible.
    • Continue the work of the Vendor Diversity Taskforce to direct library spending to minority owned businesses.
    • Reevaluate our relationship with neighboring libraries including area public libraries, MCLA, BCC, Bennington College, and the Five Colleges Consortium to reduce barriers to using our library facilities and services, improve resources sharing, and encourage professional development.
    • Support the continuing interest in Williams’s institutional history through access to expert staff, archival collections, and as a location for events.
  • We strive to ensure that everyone feels welcomed and empowered in our spaces. We reevaluate library spaces and proactively engage with, seek out, and respond to the needs of our users for spaces that foster the freedom to learn, think, and create.


    • Consider making all restrooms all-gender restrooms.
    • Look for ways to provide library users with private spaces for phone calls, interviews, online learning, and counseling and telehealth sessions.
    • Evaluate spaces to make room for quiet study and socially interactive study.
    • Reevaluate building entrances, for accessibility and approachability, and service points to ensure they effectively meet the needs of our users.
    • Work with Dining Services to continue to expand offerings in the Sawyer Library
    • Use Stetson Hall Lobby, the entry space of Sawyer Library, to promote community information sharing.
    • Install a comprehensive, accessible signage package for Sawyer Library that can be updated by library staff and is within budget.
    • Reimagine Level 1 of the Sawyer Library (including the Preston Room) to create a re-enlivened space that better meets user needs.
    • Investigate the purchase and installation of stationary bikes with charging stations so that students can charge their phones, reduce energy costs, and practice wellness at the same time.
  • With a particular focus on inclusivity, we assess library services, reflect on our practices and organization, and our impact on the educational mission of Williams College. We use assessment methods that reflect the complexity of library systems and experiences to uncover how and why people use or do not use libraries.


    • Conduct The Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Self-Assessment Audit (DEISAA) (through the Oberlin Group pilot) and use the results to focus on particular issues of diversity and inclusion for action over the next few years.
    • Using the 2023 LibQUAL survey results, identify areas for further inquiry, then design and implement methods of addressing those areas.
    • Conduct a user survey (LibQual or similar assessment tool) on campus before 2027.
    • Evaluate our Boston Library Consortium membership to ensure our return on investment (RoI) is holistically beneficial.
    • Consistently capture and analyze information literacy activity and progress to act on and be ready to report on at the 2027 NECHE accreditation.
    • Collaborate with colleagues to brainstorm methods of gaining more regular feedback from members of the Williams community who may not always have felt fully able to use our services, spaces, and programs.
    • Dedicate a percentage of our annual budget toward innovating equitable and inclusive operations, and DEIA training and education.
    • Create and iterate a manager's data dashboard in support of data-driven decision-making.

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