The Library of the Future: Embedding Sustainability into Strategic Planning (Parallel Paper)

24th May 202312:30Harbour Suite 5


This paper will discuss how the development of a new, ambitious ‘UCD Library Strategic Plan 2021-2025: The Library of the Future’ was carried out in a way that embeds future sustainability in all our services and facilities.

The starting point for the library’s strategic plan was UCD’s Strategy 2020-2024: ‘Rising to the Future’ which articulates a vision of a university with ambitions to grow its student population while also placing sustainability at its core, striving to ‘create a sustainable global society’. This placed an initial emphasis on developing a Library strategy that was future focused and centered on sustainability; economically, environmentally and socially.

Alongside this, development of the library’s strategy occurred during a time of significant challenges. These were multifactorial and included a shift in institutional priorities following the pandemic, and an unprecedented level of change in library and university leadership. This paper will outline how addressing these challenges further highlighted the need to embed a sustainable approach to delivering our new strategy.

This presentation will provide insight into how this strategic plan was developed with a focus on the library’s role in advancing a sustainable university. Furthermore, it will outline how sustainability was not viewed as a standalone strategic goal but, was fully embedded into each pillar laid out in the new strategy. This enabled us to consider sustainability in several different ways:

-The environmental impact of library spaces and services

-Management of library collections in the context of open research and global scholarship

-How we can support the development of critical literacies in our students and staff

-Enabling the capacity of library staff to support new and emerging roles and services

This paper will conclude by reflecting on how embedding sustainability into strategic planning can enable flexibility and adaptability when faced with unprecedented and significant challenges and change.