ACRL Plan for Excellence

Approved April 20, 2011. Effective July 1, 2011

Reaffirmed September 2013. Revised November 2022.


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 four areas that capitalize on our strengths, deliver high member value, and heighten our impact:

  • Value of Academic Libraries
  • Student Learning
  • Research and Scholarly Environment
  • New Roles and Changing Landscapes
  • Equity, Diversity and Inclusion

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
  • equity, diversity, and inclusion
  • 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

Core Commitment

ACRL is dedicated to creating diverse and inclusive communities in the Association and in academic and research libraries. This core commitment permeates the work of the Association, cutting across all ACRL sections, committees, interest and discussion groups, and communities of practice. The Association will acknowledge and address historical racial inequities; challenge oppressive systems within academic libraries; value different ways of knowing; and identify and work to eliminate barriers to equitable services, spaces, resources, and scholarship.

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

ACRL elevates the position, recognition, and impact of all academic and research libraries and librarians as catalysts in exceptional research and learning. Academic libraries play a critical role in building diverse, welcoming, and equitable communities; developing inclusive organizations, spaces and services; guarding against policies and practices that intentionally or unintentionally create racial inequalities; embodying diversity in the profession; and creating conditions so that all users are respected and supported in their intellectual dialogues and pursuits. Librarians and their colleagues design services that provide scholars and learners the unfettered ability to create, access, evaluate, and use knowledge. College and university students are information literate, informed scholars and citizens who value the opinions, perspectives, and experiences of others. Facile use of information sources and discovery techniques enables them to succeed in their coursework and future careers preparing them to lead new national and global initiatives. Partnering with academic librarians to collect and organize research data, faculty break new ground in their respective fields. Academic libraries, constantly transforming to meet the evolving needs of their campuses, are central to educational and research efforts.

Five-Year Goals and Objectives

Value of Academic Libraries

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


  1. Cultivate research opportunities that communicate the impact of academic and research libraries in the higher education environment.
  2. Promote the impact and value of academic and research libraries to the higher education community.
  3. Expand professional development opportunities for assessment and advocacy of the contributions towards impact of academic libraries.
  4. Support libraries in articulating their role in advancing issues of equity, access, diversity, and inclusion in higher education.

Student Learning

Goal: Advance equitable and inclusive pedagogical practices and environments for libraries to support student learning.


  1. Empower libraries to build sustainable, equitable, inclusive, and responsive information literacy programs.
  2. Collaborate with internal and external partners to expand understanding of the impact of information literacy on student learning.

Research and Scholarly Environment

Goal: The academic and research library workforce accelerates the transition to more open and equitable systems of scholarship.


  1. Increase the ways ACRL is an advocate and model for more representative and inclusive ways of knowing.
  2. Enhance members’ capacity to address issues related to scholarly communication, including but not limited to data management, library publishing, open access, and digital scholarship, and power and privilege in knowledge creation systems.
  3. Increase ACRL’s efforts to influence and advocate for more open and equitable dissemination policies and practices.

New Roles and Changing Landscapes

Goal: The academic and research library workforce effectively fosters change in academic libraries and higher education environments.


  1. Deepen ACRL’s advocacy and support for the full range of the academic library workforce.
  2. Equip the academic library workforce to effectively lead, manage, and embrace change, advocate for their communities, and serve as a catalyst for transformational change in higher education.
  3. Increase diversity, cultivate equity, and nurture inclusion in the academic library workforce.

Equity, Diversity and Inclusion

Goal: Academic and research libraries will practice cultural humility, promote community accountability, and be unwavering in their ongoing, iterative commitment to remedy systemic inequalities in their contexts.


  1. Enhance members’ capacity to acknowledge, interrogate, and dismantle white supremacist structures and other systems of oppression.
  2. Provide professional development and resources to attract, hire, support, retain, and promote workers from marginalized communities, which helps build inclusive working environments that center trust and belonging.
  3. Build relationships and coalitions to cultivate “collective ownership, accountability, and responsibility” (Cultural Proficiencies for Racial Equity: A Framework, 2022).