May 24, 2022

Research Libraries: ARL Releases Extended and Updated Version of “Strategic Thinking and Design Initiative” Report

From the Association of Research Libraries (ARL):

2016-06-23_15-36-03The Association of Research Libraries (ARL) has released an extended and updated report documenting the Strategic Thinking and Design work (126 pages; PDF) that the Association undertook from the fall of 2013 through the end of 2015.

Inspired by John Seely Brown’s 2012 ARL Fall Forum talk, “Changing How We Think about and Lead Change,” and led by architect and design consultant Ann Pendleton-Jullian, ARL’s Strategic Thinking and Design process engaged 365 people—drawn from throughout the library community, both within the Association and beyond, and from the academic, funding, and association communities—in “world building” to envision the future of the research library in terms of its role in the future of higher education, and then to focus on ARL’s critical role in that future.

As John Seely Brown wrote in the report’s prologue, “This report is about how ARL took that [2012 Fall Forum] talk to heart, reconceiving the very role of research libraries and crafting steps as a system of action to shape this reconception of the research library as a central force in the unfolding digital/network age.” The report includes a detailed description of the groundbreaking process as well as the ARL Framework and the System of Action that emerged from the process.

This report comes at an opportune time—the Association’s Coordinating Committee is now moving projects that were germinated through this intensive, iterative process into the implementation phase.

Watch the Coordinating Committee webpage for ongoing updates on the emerging strategic initiatives.

Direct to Complete Report (126 pages; PDF)

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.