Strategic Plan

In September 2015 Kennedy Library completed strategic planning to support Cal Poly’s Vision 2022 . It will refresh our focus and invigorate our work in supporting Cal Poly’s success and impact, as we move together as a campus and community towards 2022.

Kennedy Library’s new strategic plan also reflects our commitment to the library’s master building plan, and to our Initiative for Digital IDEAS [] (Innovations in Digital Expression, Access, and Scholarship), or <iDi>. These visionary programs are already underway, and are integral to our new strategic plan.

We began our planning process in fall 2014 by participating in university-wide planning for Cal Poly’s long-range academic future and a new master plan for the campus. We will share this plan with our campus and community stakeholders in fall 2015, and we are committed to sharing our progress towards the eleven strategic outcomes we’re committed to accomplishing in support of Cal Poly’s Vision 2022.


We connect people and inspire learning.


We are a Learn by Doing library. We help every member of the Cal Poly community engage in open and informed inquiry, and contribute through creation, innovation, and collaboration, to the quality of life of our community.


We value learning, innovation, and the diversity of individual and group experiences and perspectives that make our community sustainable, compassionate, and resilient.

These values commit us to being open, responsive, and inclusive in the relationships we build across the entire Cal Poly campus and community, including our region, state, and beyond.

Measures of Success

We will measure our success in terms of six key contributions we will make to the Cal Poly community.

As an exemplar of the university library as an interdisciplinary academic union, we will make a difference in a world of increasingly complex challenges through measurable contributions to the:

  1. Quality of students’ academic experience at Cal Poly;
  2. Preparation that Cal Poly students receive for achieving their professional and personal goals;
  3. Quality and diversity of connections made by Cal Poly students, faculty, and staff that help them achieve those goals;
  4. Sense of well-being and experience of inclusivity that individuals enjoy in our community;
  5. Practice and sharing of innovations in learning and problem solving; and
  6. Sustainability of our community and our environment.

Guiding Principles

  • Focused: We have defined eleven strategic outcomes that will be our focus over the next seven years.
  • Consistent: We will engage continuously in setting priorities and goals to guide and focus our efforts to achieve these outcomes over the next seven years.
  • Accountable: We will regularly assess and celebrate our success in achieving these outcomes.
  • Aligned: Our work towards achieving these strategic outcomes will be guided by our commitment to Cal Poly’s Vision 2022.
  • Evolving: Our strategic plan is a living document that may evolve in directions we have not anticipated.
  • Active: A ‘system of action* describes the major activities and practices we will use to achieve these outcomes. These are also activities the library will work to enable in our community:


* The term “system of action” as used here is inspired by and loosely based on Ann Pendleton-Jullian’s concept as used in the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) strategic framework: Report of the Association of Research Libraries Strategic Thinking and Design Initiative, 2014).

Strategic Outcomes

A program for achieving information literacy and multiple literacies that is exemplary, collaborative, and distinctive polytechnic.

Description: Today’s comprehensive polytechnic education requires a comprehensive and multiple literacies approach to information literacy. Data, digital, visual, numeric, and primary source literacies are all parts of information literacy. Support for developing these literacies across the curriculum is central to delivering on this strategic outcome. A comprehensive and effective program will require curricular mapping and attention to both foundational and capstone experiences. A sustainable program will require ongoing collaborations with campus partners and include online delivery and delivery through mixed library staffing across all library departments, with graduate assistants and peer student assistants playing critical roles.

Major milestones & timeline:

  • 2016-2017:  Lead campus Information Literacy assessment for WASC self-study
  • 2019-2020:  Assess library’s contribution to information literacy and multiple literacies of Cal Poly students
Peer student connections that cross college boundaries, encourage diversity, and support student success.

Description: Students at Cal Poly are closely identified with a particular college and department from the day they apply for admission. With rigorous departmental degree requirements, many students hunger for opportunities to interact with students in other programs and colleges. The comprehensive polytechnic experience, with its emphasis on whole systems thinking, benefits from such interaction and exposure. Industry and professions highly value Cal Poly graduates who are skilled at working across disciplinary and professional boundaries, translating the language of engineers into that of architects, or understanding the ethical dimensions of business decisions. At the same time they value students with the abilities to communicate and interact with diverse populations and cultures. The library is a natural meeting point and hub for students across all colleges and cultures. We want to add resources, tools, and opportunities for students to make both serendipitous and intentional connections that cross college and cultural boundaries.

Major milestones & timeline:

  • 2015-2017: Create program of graduate student networking and support services in collaboration with Graduate Education Office
  • 2015-2017:  Complete Phase I of Peer Learning Zone (Master Plan, first floor)
Faculty connections and collaboration across disciplinary boundaries.

Description: Our faculty is drawn to work at Cal Poly by our polytechnic environment, and by the value they place on collaboration across disciplinary boundaries. With intense teaching and service commitments, our faculty often achieve the greatest success in research and creative activities through collaboration, whether at Cal Poly or with colleagues from other universities or industry. This program represents the library’s commitment to making it easier for faculty to make those critical connections: as new members of the Cal Poly faculty and as established faculty with strong motivation to look for new perspectives or complementary expertise.

Major milestones & timeline:

  • 2017-2019:   Launch comprehensive Cal Poly researcher profile system (3)
Stronger campus-wide interdisciplinary initiatives, including STS and STEAM.

Description: A challenge at all universities, even a polytechnic, is creating sustained formal and informal frameworks and strategies that foster interdisciplinary learning and research. Many of Cal Poly’s curricular programs are innately interdisciplinary; and programs that cross college boundaries are thriving despite bureaucratic and policy challenges. The library as a neutral academic hub can help incubate, provide space for, and bring attention to initiatives such as Science, Technology and Society – a program emerging in CLA that ideally is not bounded by minors or degrees but can be integrated and infused across all colleges. Design thinking, data visualization, digital humanities, and systems sciences are examples of potentially interdisciplinary practices the library can help promote. STEAM (bringing arts into STEM and vice versa) is another movement that the library can contribute to and embody, through practices such as bringing GIS and archival studies together in our Special Collections and Archives programs. Interdisciplinary approaches to learning and problem solving may also form an important focus for library instruction. Campus experiments and innovations in developing GE “paths” could provide opportunities for partnership by the library in creating attractive polytechnic foundational experiences for all Cal Poly students.

Major milestones and timeline:

  • 2015-2016: Launch monthly STS / STEAM lunch/tea and program series to build community across colleges.
  • 2016-2018:  Publish a multi-modal Cal Poly STEAM journal.
More inclusive, equitable, and open access to learning.

Description: The democratization of information is one of the most extraordinary developments of our time, feeding an explosive and rich culture of innovation and diversity. Yet our time is also characterized by paywalls that hinder many from having access to specialized research and professional information, and increasing costs to students of textbooks that are vital to their learning. A digital divide continues to impact students of lower socio-economic status. Language, stereotypes, and assumptions still prevalent in our culture can also negatively affect student success. Libraries are ‘equalizers’ in the information landscape, and they play this role in universities as well as society at large. Kennedy Library’s commitment is to work continually with faculty and students to minimize barriers of all kinds to information and technology, to establish and cultivate an environment that reduces social and economic barriers to student success, and to contribute substantially to the increased democratization of information both through advocacy and through direct contributions to open access and open culture.

Major outcomes & milestones:

  • 2015-2016: Establish new Coordinating Committee on Inclusivity and Diversity and integrate campus strategic inclusivity goals into every library department.
  • 2016-2017: Support department-wide adoption of an open textbook in at least one department offering gateway STEM courses.
  • 2017-2018:  Complete longitudinal assessment of Library’s contribution to inclusive excellence.
Physical and digital information resources aligned with changes in curricular needs, user preferences, scholarship, and changing modes of communication.

Description: Kennedy Library is transforming to meet the needs of our users in an era of profound change in the provisioning, delivery, discovery, and use of information resources. To that end, we will re-purpose spaces previously devoted to the housing of print materials. Access to scholarly content is now predominantly electronic, mobile, and ubiquitous, thereby obviating the need for large historic print collections. That being said, tomorrow’s Cal Poly library will retain many of the most cherished characteristics of libraries, including a welcoming and safe environment, interactive social spaces, and space devoted to print collections. These will include areas for recreational reading as well as for discovery and use of legacy print collections. The library’s Special Collections and Archives collections will likewise increasingly consist of digital items including emails, digital files and even software; and physical artifacts will be shared through digital surrogates. At the same time, we will improve stewardship and access to special and unique physical artifacts. For all library collections, our guiding principle will be to expand opportunities for our students and researchers to benefit from their exposure and work with these resources, whether through thoughtful programming, or improved interfaces and conditions for physical and digital access and discovery.

Major outcomes & milestones:

  • 2015-2016: Complete Phase 1 of collections storage plan for Special Collections & Archives: create first environmentally conditioned high-density storage vault
  • 2015-2017: Migrate to ExLibris’ Alma, new CSU-wide integrated library system
  • 2017-2019: Fully realize 2015 vision for balancing and blending digital and print collections
Functional, interoperable, and sustainable information architecture for digital collections.

Description: Powerful new platforms are emerging to support libraries in managing user expectations, new workflows, and the growing diversity and increased volume of digital objects.  The corollary challenges of digital preservation require scalable and sustainable solutions.  At the same time, digital content opens up the cultural and research record for new scholarly uses and applications, and radically increases both academic and citizen access to previously inaccessible content. New information architecture was planned and piloted in 2014-2015.  The long-term outcomes of this information architecture will include new ways to work collaboratively, conduct research, and engage students in scholarship and discovery, while establishing a vital documentary record of Cal Poly’s contributions and activities for future scholars.

Major outcomes & milestones:

  • 2015-2016:  Complete migration to Islandora (Digital Asset Management System)
  • 2016-2017: Fully implement sustainable digital preservation program
Places for 'sandbox' experiences with technology, media, and making, and experiences with curating and sharing creative work.

Description: At a Learn by Doing institution, the opportunity to make things – whether digital or tangible or both – is a crucial part of the learning experience. It is also a critical experience for Cal Poly students who are preparing for work in industries and organizations that thrive on design, teamwork, experimentation, and entrepreneurship. The library can offer spaces and experiences outside the classroom where students across all departments can tinker with digital audio, 3D printing and modeling, immersive digital experiences, and more. The Innovation Sandbox is a partnership between faculty and students supported by the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE). When it moves to the Kennedy Library (2015-2016) it will become the most visible and hands-on of the ‘sandbox’ experiences we are providing for students to experiment with making. Through competitions, low-barrier studio and maker environments, loaning tools, and hosting events, the library helps students help each other take part in a participatory culture where they are inventing the future.

Major outcomes & milestones:

  • 2015-2016:  Open first library maker space (Innovation Sandbox – collaboration with CIE)
  • 2016-2017:  Establish Cal Poly Digital Press in collaboration with campus partners & publish a campus-wide scholarly Cal Poly journal (e.g. LBD Journal)
Exceptional digital experiences that are responsive to a wide range of personal and disciplinary needs.

Description: Digital natives demand fast and intuitive products and services with technology and social media playing key roles in their lives. Users expect to understand digital interfaces intuitively and are intolerant of steep learning curves. Stable, fast, user-friendly online user experiences are a necessary part of our support for users solving academic and real-world problems. Responsive digital user experiences (UX) increase our capacity for discovery and productivity, while enhanced discovery of library-provisioned resources is key to success in student and faculty scholarship and research. Providing ubiquitous and speedy access to provisioned technologies is at the center of the polytechnic approach to teaching and learning. Effective digital communications facilitate the use of both digital and physical resources in the library. With personalization as a goal, the library is committed to providing rapid, flexible, and user-configurable services across our integrated library systems. Digital access to data, access to digital images, streaming media, and tools to manage and interact with digital textual resources, are critical elements of the total digital experience.

Major outcomes & milestones:

  • 2015-2016: Implement VDI to deliver high-end software and increase flexibility of response to ad hoc software needs for instruction in the library (9)
Exceptional and diverse physical spaces and experiences that advance university goals.

Description: High academic standards and expectations and overwhelming choices and decisions increase the need of students for spaces that meet a variety of needs, allowing them to focus, work in collaboration with others, restore their energy and motivation, and make informed choices in a world where academic experiences and research strategies are new and confusing. To deliver the best possible user experiences, the library intentionally designs spaces that are human-centered and balance the many competing needs of the campus. Spaces that encourage engagement, entertainment, experimentation as well as refreshment and relaxation are critical contributions to the Learn by Doing experiences that characterize Cal Poly’s polytechnic culture. Clear way-finding, easy access to resources, technologies and user spaces, and the ability of users to reconfigure and adapt our physical spaces to their needs are critical services that create positive emotional experiences and make students’ academic experience more rewarding and more successful.

Major outcomes & milestones:

  • 2018-2019: Bring whole-building air conditioning to the Kennedy Library
  • 2018-2019:   Open expanded and redesigned Special Collections and Archives on 4th floor
A responsible, culturally invested, knowledgeable organization.

Description: Kennedy Library is committed to creating an inclusive culture that embraces differences, encourages diversity, and fosters an environment of respect. We have a shared and mutual responsibility to help each other learn and thrive as colleagues, professionals, and members of our community. We are committed to developing and acknowledging leadership of all kinds that exists throughout our organization, and we cultivate our collective ability and skills in taking action towards achieving an inclusive culture, including empowering others, listening, fostering well-being, and informing ourselves and others in order to more effectively accomplish our shared goals.

Major outcomes & milestones:

  • 2015-2016: Establish library professional development series.
  • 2015-2016: Establish new Coordinating Committee on Inclusivity and Diversity and integrate campus strategic inclusivity goals into every library department.

Campus Vision 2022

Adopted in May 2014, Vision 2022 sets a framework for two major planning initiatives: the Academic Plan and the Campus Master Plan.
Read more about Cal Poly’s Vision 2022.

Library Strategic Plan, 2010-2015

The library’s previous strategic plan (2010-2015) is available on Digital Commons@Cal Poly.