Strategic Plan 2015

Mission & Vision


Cowles Library advances Drake University’s goal to provide an exceptional learning experience for our community, especially focused on students and faculty—and through:

  • Relevant collections
  • Integrated learning opportunities
  • Innovative services
  • Inspiring and effective learning spaces
  • Rare and unique special collections
  • Engagement with new approaches to scholarly communication


Cowles Library will be the hub for learning and scholarship at Drake University.

The library will inspire exploration, foster intellectual growth and enrich the Drake academic experience.

Students, faculty, staff and our learning community will find the resources, services, spaces and guidance vital for discovering, preserving and creating knowledge.



We actively seek opportunities to work in a cooperative spirit with one another, Drake colleagues, other libraries and those we serve to:

  • obtain and share a diversity of expertise, resources, experience and ideas
  • reduce unnecessary duplication
  • develop cross-disciplinary and cross organizational relationships
  • sustain and promote innovation across disciplines, and
  • model collaboration for others.


  • We defend the values of intellectual freedom and the library profession, vigilantly upholding values in difficult circumstances.
  • We sustain — and when appropriate — critically examine conventional practices.
  • We explore new approaches weighing risks and benefits.
  • We engage honestly and directly and do not simply just agree to get along.
  • We stand and speak up — with respect.
  • We make and implement decisions in the face of uncertainty and adversity.


  • Library services are critical to creating an exceptional learning environment at Drake University.
  • Our culture allows the freedom to take risks, experiment and explore new approaches.
  • We learn from our successes and our failures, as well as listening to those we serve in order to ensure our services remain relevant.
  • We evaluate, select and deploy new services and technologies best suited to the Drake


  • Rooted in the Drake University mission, we contribute to an evolving exceptional learning environment in multiple ways. How we support learning is embedded in every action, service and decision at Cowles Library.
  • Drake is a diverse community of learners, requiring us to meet learners at their level of need and competency. It is our responsibility to ensure the information, facility, resources, services and instruction we provide are relevant for learners.
  • We create an environment and provide services that support and inspires active, integrated and experiential learning for students, faculty, staff and the community.


  • We dedicate ourselves to providing excellent service to others — always.
  • Professionalism is based on principles of personal responsibility and integrity — and modeling these principles at every opportunity.
  • We adhere to a set of professional standards, the ALA Bill of Rights and peer review.
  • We advocate for intellectual freedom, civility and diversity. We understand and apply ethical standards of conduct and promote information literacy.
  • We commit to updating our skills, competencies and knowledge so we continually add value to Drake University.

Achievement I – Knowledge

Cowles Library shapes its library collections, resources, and services to nurture knowledge discovery, creation, sharing and preservation.

Goal 1 – Collection Development

Sustain a strong collaboration with the Faculty; maintain policies and processes that support the selection of resources for the curriculum.


  • Maintain a collection development policy that reflects the changing approaches to selection of scholarly resources
  • Sustain a strong Liaison collaboration with the faculty, expanding the focus to include the emerging approaches to scholarly communication
  • Ensure the collection needs of new programs are identified, acquired, and budgeted
  • Continue to develop a collection assessment program that relies on data, and that facilitates ongoing review of holdings

Goal 2 – Scholarly Resources

Advance instructional resources, research processes and scholarly discourse through innovative approaches to access and collections.


  • Accelerate the development of a model for open educational resources as an alternative to traditional textbooks
  • Continue to enhance the availability of scholarly resources through innovative approaches, including on demand and shared collections with other libraries
  • Continue to phase down acquisition and retention of print material in coordination with collaborative initiatives and continued development of sustainable electronic access
  • Support and evolve the federal Government Documents repository program through ongoing evaluation of the collection’s scope, public access, and integration with overall library goals
  • Integrate library services and resources into the new Data Analytics Program
  • Enhance awareness and development of the institutional repository (eScholarshare)
  • Develop process for individualized support for faculty research and publication activities (support new workflows for researchers)
  • Sustain membership and participation in national, regional, and local library collaborations that lead to sustainable access and coordination of scholarly resources
  • Encourage collaborations with faculty and programs to identify and undertake projects that use digital technologies to advance scholarship and learning.

Goal 3 – Knowledge Discovery and Creation

Provide and support state of the art systems and tools for knowledge discovery and creation.


  • Implement the Ex Libris platform, exploiting new opportunities for workflow, services and inter-institutional collaboration
  • Enhance assessment of the on-line user experience
  • Increase visibility and discovery of University Archives and Special Collections
  • Incorporate learning tools and instructional support into the website
  • Integrate library access and resources into emerging digital channels (social media, etc.)
  • Provide faculty and students with new tools and support for knowledge creation and management
  • Document & articulate library technical infrastructure needs, and advocate for a comprehensive university plan

Goal 4 – Awareness

Enhance faculty, student, and community awareness of resources and collections of the Library.


  • Develop a workflow/process for pushing out awareness of resources and services
  • Extend “New Faculty” orientation model or similar approach to the balance of faculty
  • Organize program for faculty development focusing on open access, and the emerging structure for scholarly communication
  • Establish a student library advisory committee

Achievement II – Learning

Cowles Library engages with Drake faculty and support services to advance learning. The Library’s services, including instruction, reference, and course offerings, strengthen information literacy and research skills. These core services also ensure effective integration of library resources into the curriculum and scholarly research. The Library facility supports the pedagogy of the faculty and serves as a welcoming environment for research, study, and community.

Goal 1 – Literacies

Incorporate the ACRL (Association for College & Research Libraries) Framework for Information literacy into the Drake Curriculum


  • Incorporate “frames” into FYS and other “one-shot” sessions.
  • Work with faculty to integrate frames into research-intensive courses.
  • Work with faculty to incorporate the Framework into appropriate sequences throughout the Drake curriculum.

Goal 2 – Curriculum Integration

Cowles Library resources are utilized in courses across the curriculum, both as course texts and as part of student research.


  • Evaluate syllabi from many disciplines to identify courses already using library resources and identify new opportunities.
  • Develop a faculty cohort working on information literacy assignment design.

Goal 3 – Course Development

Establish new library courses that support the Drake General Education curriculum, with an emphasis on Information Literacy and support for the First Year Experience.


  • Expand the number of Library-based credit courses
  • Create a travel course that satisfies the Information Literacy AOI.
  • Create an LIBR course with a focus on Archival management
  • Explore opportunities for co-teaching (with other library faculty members or departmental faculty) courses that satisfy the Information Literacy AOI.

Goal 4 – Research Services / Student Success

Cowles Library pursues best practices to ensure the success of all Drake University students. The Library’s faculty collaborate intensively with other Drake units in these efforts.


  • Library hosts and coordinates one-stop shop for student success
  • Library coordinates peer-to-peer research assistance (“research center/workshop,” “research coaching”, student liaisons, etc.), as well as supporting other opportunities for experiential learning
  • Library & Admissions develop joint programming and staffing
  • Improve outreach to graduate/professional faculty/students (weekend, evening, e.g. Des MoinesPublic School cohorts)
  • Offer library services in multiple Campus locations; remote services established and supported, including reference & instruction

Goal 5 – Library as Learning Center / Student Success

Cowles Library is a welcoming and supporting locale for Drake’s scholars at all levels. The facility supports a variety of learning styles and needs.


  • Establish, support, and assess a Single Service Point
  • Reconfigure entrances to improve access
  • Build a classroom that supports a variety of pedagogies and the Drake curriculum.
  • Improve building usability (entrance, signage, welcoming, furnishings, interactive displays, attractors, flexibility, cafe hours/menu, power, etc.) Make library’s furnishings up-to-date, comfortable, and inviting.
  • Provide an area for all Drake faculty and staff to gather informally and interact.
  • Sustain/expand after-hours service

Achievement III – Community of Learners

Cowles Library excels in creating and sustaining a sense of academic community. The Library provides a critical context to that community through its programs, facilities, and a principled commitment to lifelong learning and discourse. The Library’s University Archives and Special Collections is a unique cornerstone resource for sustaining community for the university and beyond.

Goal 1 – University Archives and Special Collections

Develop distinctive world-class special collections and archive that reflects the outreach and endeavors of the Drake Mission.


  • Continue to develop and acquire special collections of a unique and collateral nature, especially in the areas associated with the political archives, Iowa Caucuses, and Drake related history.
  • Develop greater awareness within the Library Faculty and Staff about special collection resources and activities.
  • Integrate into overall Library operations, including policy, collections, and operations, and the Library Liaison program.
  • Develop and promote initiatives that lead to the integration of special collections into the Drake curriculum.
  • Design workshops, exhibits, and events using primary source materials
  • Reinvigorate and develop content of Drakeapedia, or similar tools

Goal 2 – Library as University Center

Promote the library as the educational and intellectual center of the Drake community, and support appropriate use of the facility by the community.


  • Enhance the collaboration with Admissions in order to serve as a welcoming and attractive hub of the Drake experience
  • Continue to promote and manage the appropriate use of Library space for meetings and events

Goal 3 – Learning at the Library

Develop learning activities and programs that engage and project the Library and Drake as cornerstones of the community.


  • Enhance partnerships for development of innovative programming
  • Seek out potential partnerships in the broader Des Moines community
  • Build on collaboration with the Harkin Institute and the Iowa Caucus Project

Achievement IV – Organizational Excellence

Cowles Library is committed to maintaining an organizational climate that advances the discipline of Librarianship, fosters professional growth, and promotes accountability in all of its activities.

Goal 1 – Librarianship

Advance and sustain the role of Librarians as knowledge professionals, teachers, faculty and community stewards.


  • Maintain a wide-focus on change in higher education and libraries – and apply this knowledge to the Drake environment
  • Maintain a process that considers employee succession, and proactively reviews open positions in light of changing organizational needs
  • Model professional best practice in: service ethos and values, administration and management, teaching, collaborations and relationship building, functional job specializations
  • Mentor and encourage students who seek a career in librarianship; provide internships where feasible
  • Maintain an organizational structure that is agile, responsive to user needs, and that can rapidly implement new approaches and practices
  • Develop an enhanced performance system that strengthens the integration of the strategic plan, individual goals and professional practice
  • Implement a portfolio system to document performance and professional accomplishments
  • Support the advancement of Librarianship through scholarship, participation and affiliation in professional groups

Goal 2 – Professional Development

Sustain an approach to professional development that contributes to organizational learning, and provides all librarians and staff with the opportunity for personal growth and enrichment.


  • Enhance the overall approach to internal training and development, through a skills inventory and more systematic training activities
  • Organize and engage in more directed learning and development activities around emerging trends and best practice
  • Share our knowledge – consider developing a seminar program in collaboration with IPAL or ILA/ACRL.

Goal 3 – Communication

Become an exemplary model for both internal and external communication, underpinning the core mission of the library as a knowledge hub.


  • Continue to develop an increased awareness and understanding of our audience
  • Sustain multiple channels of communication and feedback
  • Continue to refine internal communications processes in order to promote awareness and sharing of information
  • Establish a strong and distinctive brand identity

Goal 4 – Development Support

Increase community awareness and support of the Library as a vital place and resource.


  • Develop a comprehensive Advancement Plan
  • Engage with Advancement to expand the base of donor support
  • Enhance collaboration with the Alumni Office
  • Enhance efforts to obtain grants
  • Partner with Marketing to develop enhanced promotion and awareness of the Library

Goal 5 – Financial Model

Develop a new business model that advances financial support for library services, resources, and the facility.


  • Continue to develop the revamped acquisitions allocation model, focusing on greater flexibility for emerging and priority needs
  • Establish a cost model for each college and school, and individual academic program as needed
  • Develop a master facility plan with cost projections
  • Provide the Budget Office with multi-year projections and engage with them on more sustainable approach to funding contractual cost increases

Goal 6 – Assessment

Enhance the quality of library services, resources and the user experience through highly effective approaches to assessment.


  • Select assessment activities that will contribute to a high impact on learning, and user success
  • Promote assessments that support compliance with the HLC
  • Maintain a structure that allows assessment results to directly impact planning, service improvements, and best practice
  • Participate in the Balanced Scorecard initiative
  • Use the results of assessment activities to promote the Library