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)

  • 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.


    • Create a shared understanding of engagement that informs library services and programs
    • Fully engage with the faculty as a teaching and learning partner in support of the College’s educational mission
    • Collaborate with campus partners on curricular and co-curricular initiatives
    • Ensure that all students feel a sense of belonging and representation in the library
    • Spearhead and engage partners in scholarly communications initiatives
  • We are committed to developing a skilled, inclusive, and diverse staff.  We aspire to work cohesively, with creativity and competence, and to cultivate an environment of inquiry and exploration.


    • Recruit, retain, and celebrate an inclusive and diverse staff
    • Enable and expect all library staff to actively participate in learning opportunities
    • Assess staffing and organizational structure, strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and trends
    • Foster an environment which is supportive of risk-taking, creativity, and cross-departmental and campus collaboration
  • 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.


    • Develop and publish a collection development policy
    • Simplify and consolidate departmental and program resource budget allocations for recurring subscription costs
    • Assure intellectual and physical control, and location management for all tangible resources
    • Redeploy staff to improve management of life cycle of electronic resource acquisition and access
    • Manage regular review of recurring subscriptions (journals/databases) based on curricular relevance, usage, and cost
    • Optimize consortial licensing and price agreements
    • Review agreements for restricted endowment funds to assure maximum flexibility in spending
    • Support The 2.5% Commitment through open scholarship
  • 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.


    • Design public-facing systems that meet user needs and are responsive to a regularized system of evaluation
    • Apply technological innovations to library-managed digital collections and electronic subscriptions
    • Work with OIT and vendors to prepare for changes in authentication
    • Provide our departments with the most appropriate technologies for creating greater interoperability and streamlined workflows
  • We lead among liberal arts libraries while contributing to and learning from communities beyond Williams -- including peer libraries, colleagues in librarianship and allied professions, and residents of the local region.


    • Define and regularly review the boundaries and inclusiveness of our many communities, including academic and other libraries, actors in the global information landscape, and residents of Northern Berkshire county and adjacent areas
    • Support professional engagement beyond Williams through financial resources, time, and recognition
    • Engage with global scholarly communication trends including Open scholarship
    • Continue to improve and enhance access to resources through resource sharing
    • Assess consortial relationships
  • 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.


    • Repurpose underutilized space and modify existing spaces to increase user satisfaction and better support the academic mission of the college
    • Assess the role of Schow Science Library in supporting the educational mission of Williams College
    • Align management of building operations with the campus sustainability initiatives

Williams College requires all units to develop a diversity, equity, and inclusion plan. This is an opportunity for every sector of campus to reflect on and align itself with the college’s diversity, equity, and inclusion goals. Read the Libraries’ plan.

Williams College is also undertaking strategic planning.  Learn more about the College’s plan.

See also: