ACRL Plan for Excellence

 Approved April 20, 2011 - Effective July 1, 2011
Reaffirmed September 2013 and objectives revised, January 2015


The strengths and capacities of ACRL have enabled the association to sustain exemplary programs and results for its members and to shape policies and practices of vital interest to higher education.  ACRL’s Plan for Excellence continues that path and focuses attention on three areas that capitalize on our strengths, deliver high member value, and heighten our impact:

  • Value of Academic Libraries
  • Student Learning
  • Research and Scholarly Environment

These strategic areas will be supported by financial and operational planning, and will guide the development and implementation of programs and services that target education, advocacy and member engagement.
ACRL’s leadership views strategic thinking and planning as an ongoing process. Adoption of this plan for excellence affirms the general intent and direction articulated by the association’s core ideology, envisioned future, shorter-term goals, and objectives.  Progress will be assessed annually and will guide the operational planning process.  The plan for excellence will be updated based on achievement of the goals and their continued relevance as new needs and opportunities arise.

Timeless Core Ideology

Core Purpose

To lead academic and research librarians and libraries in advancing learning and scholarship.

Core Organizational Values

ACRL is committed to:

  • visionary leadership, transformation, new ideas, and global perspectives
  • exemplary service to members
  • diversity
  • integrity and transparency
  • continuous learning
  • responsible stewardship of resources
  • the values of higher education, intellectual freedom, the ALA Ethics policy, and “The Library Bill of Rights

Long-term Envisioned Future


Academic and research librarians and libraries are essential to a thriving global community of learners and scholars.

Vivid Description of a Desired Future

Academic and research librarians and their colleagues lead initiatives and continually evolve services that provide scholars and learners the unfettered ability to create, access, and use knowledge on a global scale.  Librarians drive and enable transformation of libraries, student learning, and scholarly research by building powerful coalitions and collaborations, setting standards, exploring innovative methods and approaches, modeling behavior, and embedding their results in dynamic user environments.  To champion transformative change and advance library causes, ACRL uses its considerable advocacy and leadership capabilities to develop and deliver responsive programs that build the skills and capacities of its members.  By promulgating a compelling case for their value, ACRL elevates the position, recognition, and impact of all academic and research libraries and librarians as catalysts in exceptional research and learning.

Five-Year Goals and Objectives

Value of Academic Libraries

Goal: Academic libraries demonstrate alignment with and impact on institutional outcomes.


  1. Leverage existing research that will articulate and promote the value of academic and research libraries.
  2. Increase research that demonstrates the value of academic and research libraries.
  3. To improve outreach to higher education organizations in order to articulate the value of libraries in higher education.
  4. Develop and deliver responsive professional development programs that build the skills and capacity for leadership and local data-informed and evidence-based advocacy.

Student Learning

Goal: Librarians transform student learning, pedagogy, and instructional practices through creative and innovative collaborations.


  1. Identify innovative practices in learning environments and instruction that enable academic librarians to transform learning.
  2. Articulate and advocate for the role of librarians in setting, achieving, and measuring institutional learning outcomes.
  3. Increase partnerships with other organizations to advance the impact of Information Literacy on student learning.
  4. Increase understanding of new models of information fluency as pedagogy evolves.

Research and Scholarly Environment

Goal: Librarians accelerate the transition to a more open system of scholarship.


  1. Increase the ways ACRL is an advocate and model for open dissemination and evaluation practices.
  2. Enhance members’ capacity to address issues related to digital scholarship and data management.
  3. Influence scholarly publishing policies and practices toward a more open system.