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Joseph Thompson's picture

Reference & User Services Association Strategic Plan 2015-2018, DRAFT as of March 31, 2015

Hello RUSA Board members!

The RUSA Strategic Plan Coordinating Task Force has had several telephone meetings since our big strategic planning day on Friday, January 30 during ALA Midwinter in Chicago. Our most recent was yesterday, March 30.

We are at a point where we feel ready to share a draft document for review by the board.  Please see the attached document.  Comments are very welcome.  Please share right here in this ALA Connect thread. This draft comes as a result of taking the documents that came out of our full day session, then incorporating member priorities that had been already identified in the RUSA Review survey and report back in summer/fall 2014.

If you weren't with us in Chicago in January 2015 for the board's strategic planning session, I've tried to provide some helpful context by writing an overview of what took place there in the most recent RUSA Update (March 2015). See the President's Column, Strategic Planning Update:


Thank you all on the RUSA Board for the time and energy you've already committed toward making this a strong plan that will guide our association for the next 3 years (at least)!  We're not done yet however, so please do share your thoughts.

I'm feeling very good about the progress that we've made thus far, and absolutely must thank again the task force members: Anne Houston (chair), Chris Le Beau, Erin Rushton, Jennifer Boettcher, Liane Taylor, and Kathleen Kern.



Anne Houston's picture

Hi RUSA Board members,

Just a reminder that we welcome your feedback about the draft of the RUSA Strategic Plan.  If you have comments or suggestions, please post them here by the end of April.  


Anne (on behalf of Strategic Plan Coordinating Task Force)

Anne Houston's picture

Hi all,

Just a reminder to post any comments or suggestions about the draft of the RUSA Strategic Plan by the end of this week.  Your feedback is welcome. 


Anne (on behalf of Strategic Plan Coordinating Task Force)

Celia Ross's picture

I think that the plan is coming together really well. One thing I don't see proposed is any kind of review of the existing RUSA infrastructure in order to identify overlap and to streamline and clarify the roles of the various committees and task forces and the communication channels between and among them. I think this could help to ultimately support the goal of creating an organization with greater flexibility and efficiency. This review could be done in tandem with investigating the implementation of interest groups. Maybe this has already been considered and is not included because it fits more within the scope of a Division review process, but I think it could be beneficial to incorporate this type of review into the plan. 

Also, I think the vivid description of a desired future could have more specifics in it, especially given the relatively short lifespan of the document. For example: In three years' time (or by X date) RUSA's membership has grown X percent and is renowned as a leading advocate group for library resources, information services and collections. Signature products include monthly discussion groups/webinars/courses (more details here with examples) that provide members a chance to learn from and network with experts about the newest library trends, technology and services. The strength of RUSA is reflected in its diversity of collaborative, innovative and engaged members who are recognized throughout ALA and beyond for efforts such as X, Y, Z. Etc...

More of the details can be fleshed out in action items of the Goals and Objectives, of course, but I think including some of them in the specifics of the vision would make it that much more vivid.

Again, I think the strategic plan is looking great overall. It reflects a lot of thoughtful effort by the whole task force. Great job! --Celia

Chris LeBeau's picture

Great comments Celia. The RUSA Review Committee spent a lot of time looking at RUSA structure including Sections and the numerous committees, with an eye to transitioning to Interest Groups which have the promise of being more cross-sectional than the silo structure we have now. The Strategic Plan calls for the Organization & Planning Committee to grapple with this transition which should include ways to streamline the organization in the process. I hope you're on that committee!

Chris LeBeau Assistant Teaching Professor University of Missouri School of Information Science & Learning Technologies & Business Librarian UMKC

Louise Feldmann's picture

I agree with Celia - this looks great.  I also agree that reviewing the existing RUSA infrastructure and incorporating this into the plan would be good. 

I serve as the RUSA board representative to the RUSA Publications and Communications Committee.  We discussed the plan draft at a meeting recently and as a results would like to suggest two additional action items that could fit under either "Maximize impact of RUSA publications" or "Increase opportunities for members to network with colleagues with similar interests."  These are:  Offer member perspective through RUSA Voices (a new blog under construction by the RUSA Publications and Communications Committee); and increase usability of the RUSA website through streamlining content and structure.  This second possible action item gets at Celia's suggestion of reviewing overlapping content.

Overall, I think the plan looks great.  Thanks to the task force and all their work!   - Louise

Cynthia Robin Levine's picture

This document is coming together really well!

The one change that I would propose comes Goals and Objectives.  It’s the 2nd bullet under the 2nd bullet: Maintain excellence of conference programming, regardless of changes to ALA conference structure

Could we change the word ‘maintain’ to something more active, such as ‘promote?’
I say this because the conference experience is truly one of the unique things offered through RUSA membership – one that I’d like to see fostered.  Although there may be alternative options for learning specific skills, the experience of face-to-face meetings with people from around the country with common interests, along with the serendipitous opportunities that accompany participation in programs, discussions, and social activites, can build a kind of loyalty that can be hard to compete with.  (This won’t be true for everyone across the board, but is for an important segment of members).  I think that this document already does a good job with emphasizing improving opportunities for virtual participation.  But could we also “promote” excellence in conference programming at the same time?

Anne Houston's picture

Thanks everyone for the excellent suggestions!  The task force is having a conference call later this week and we will try to incorporate your feedback into the plan.