Strategic Plan 2003-2004
of PACSCL and the planning process
is an organization of twenty-one member libraries in the Greater
Philadelphia area. PACSCL and its member institutions work to
expand knowledge of our cultural foundations, legacies, and
issues by preserving essential documentation in their care and
encouraging its use in education, lifelong learning, and advanced
research. PACSCL was formed in the mid-1980s as a vehicle for
collaborating on an exhibition of library treasures, Legacies
of Genius, to share some of its documentary riches with
a broader public. Its next project was a four-year collaborative
effort to make member collections more accessible through projects
such as a $4 million cataloging initiative funded by The Pew
was organized as a 501(c)(3) corporation in 1994, it described
its mission as "to provide support to special collections libraries
for educational, cultural and historic purposes." Projects undertaken
since 1994 have included the creation of a consortial online
public access catalog bringing all but one member online; a
finding aids project; and an exhibition of medieval manuscripts,
Leaves of Gold, at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, together
with creation of a printed exhibition catalog, an interactive
CD-ROM, and a comprehensive website.
A particular concern of all of PACSCL's recent projects
has been meeting the needs of member libraries and their several
publics to make effective use of technological advances to increase
access to special collections materials.
planning process has arisen out of a recognition that in order
to continue to serve its members, and to strengthen support
from its members and external stakeholders, PACSCL must have
a clear mission, a vision flowing from that mission, an awareness
of the challenges and opportunities facing it, and both long
range goals and strategic objectives. To that end, members engaged
in self-study through a questionnaire and series of discussions
at quarterly meetings in 2001, and in a day-long retreat concentrating
on PACSCL's future in January 2002. Preparations for this day
were carried out by a consultant in conjunction with the Executive
Committee. Subsequently the consultant worked with the Executive
Committee and with the full Board to assess the organization's
response to the ideas generated at the retreat and to prepare
for the creation of a strategic plan.
plan is conceived as an interim two-year plan to allow PACSCL
to test various initiatives in 2003 and 2004. During that period,
PACSCL's Executive Committee will serve as the long-range planning
group to continue assessing important factors in the internal
and external environment, and to evaluate the effectiveness
in meeting the initial priorities on monthly basis and to report
to the Board on a quarterly basis, with the goal of presenting
a long-term plan at the December 2004 meeting based on the work
outlined in this plan.
Factors in the Internal and External Environment
external trends underscore the importance of the materials in PACSCL
collections to the city, the region, the nation, and an international
community of scholars and suggest both long- and short-term priorities
for the organization.
The first is
the expansion of information technologies and in particular the
Internet. The explosive growth of the Internet, the World Wide Web,
and information technologies over the last ten years has transformed
the research process, changing the way everyone from award-winning
scholars to high school students, family historians and lifelong
learners go about identifying relevant sources for their work. By
now, nearly every academic library and large public library has
replaced its traditional card catalog with a computerized system,
searchable worldwide over the Internet. Moreover, the Internet has
become the primary method of international scholarly communication,
and is becoming increasingly common in schools, libraries, and homes
throughout the world.
of this growth is an expanded appetite for information, together
with an expectation that this information will be freely and immediately
available. As technology grows increasingly more affordable, and
as the public and private appetite for information continue to increase,
PACSCL's member libraries have a growing opportunity to meet an
important cultural need through projects that provide online access
to cataloging data and through digitization of unique, significant,
and rare collections.
trend is the Greater Philadelphia region's continuing emphasis on
cultural and heritage tourism as an economic engine. The raw stuff
from which tours, exhibits and programs -- and other "products"
such as books and documentaries that stimulate a desire to visit
the region -- are created is to be found in the collections of the
region's museums and libraries. PACSCL members, in particular, are
important information brokers for those who create the programs
-- historians, scholars, filmmakers, educators, and interns. PACSCL
collections provide both the information and in many cases the visual
materials to help interpret the region's importance as the cradle
of American government, as a philosophical, cultural and religious
center, as an early leader in publishing, as an early industrial
powerhouse known as "the workshop of the world," and as
a first home for successive waves of immigrants over more than three
centuries. Moreover, many PACSCL institutions are themselves current
or potential tourism destinations. This is especially true for the
kinds of high-end niche tours that, as Philadelphia Hospitality's
Molly Espey puts it, convert tourists into goodwill ambassadors
for the region.
to both these trends, PACSCL is challenged by the need to secure
external funding for collaborative projects. The funding base for
such projects is almost exclusively from foundations and government
sources, and funding priorities from these sources are changing.
the single largest collaborative center of special collections libraries
in the country; it and its member libraries are respected as repositories
of history and culture in our region; PACSCL is respected for its
accomplishments by area funders and by special collections libraries
throughout the world. PACSCL institutions have excellent staff members,
many with national reputations. Many of the institutions are parts
of internationally-recognized museums, cultural institutions, and
colleges and universities, which means that PACSCL can draw upon
a wide range of expertise and facilities beyond the special collections
of the collections held by its member libraries allows PACSCL to
pursue a broad range of initiatives, with no individual member obligated
to participate in those projects not of interest to that organization,
as demonstrated by PACSCL's online public access catalog, finding
aids, and Leaves of Gold projects. This diversity of collections
and organizational capacities creates a challenge insofar as it
makes it difficult to structure an array of programs to meet all
member needs. It also makes it difficult to create programs that
showcase all members at the same time, as with the inaugural Legacies
of Genius exhibition.
From this diversity
come other challenges to the organization's successful operations.
PACSCL and special collections libraries have a low profile among
the general public in the Greater Philadelphia area and among some
important influencers; this hampers PACSCL's ability to gain funding
for its projects. Among larger PACSCL institutions in particular,
the PACSCL board representative may not be that institution's decision-maker,
which can slow down the speed with which the organization can take
action. A survey of area funders undertaken as part of the self-study,
revealed that PACSCL is perceived as lacking in follow-through.
PACSCL also is challenged by current constraints on funding for
day-to-day operations, its need for infrastructure improvement,
and its imprecise guidelines for decision-making.
of its internal and external challenges, PACSCL members see clear
present value and future potential in the organization. PACSCL's
record of success has created a sense of commitment to PACSCL among
most of the member institutions.
to share, preserve and add to one of the world's greatest collections
of libraries, PACSCL will continue to focus on helping members to
improve access and collections care for the material in their collections
and to educate our several publics. It must help our elected officials
and the funding community to understand the meaning and importance
of the materials held in member libraries. It must explain the role
these collections can play in supporting the research of an international
community of scholars, in developing among students an appreciation
of our cultural and historical heritage, in increasing cultural
tourism to our region, and in encouraging our own area residents
to make better use of regional special collections resources. It
must be creative and persuasive in seeking funding for access, outreach,
and staff development projects and in advocating for public policies
that support the cataloguing, study, exhibition and preservation
of member holdings. And it must focus on helping members to improve
the quality of service delivery, including the incorporation of
new initiatives in technology.
To meet these
challenges, PACSCL will
to articulate the contributions of member collections to international
scholarship and public cultural life
on helping members improve services to meet the needs of their
core constituencies, the international scholarly community and
the general public;
PACSCL's visibility while engaging with an expanded group of
policy makers and stakeholders, particularly in the foundation
and corporate grant-making communities;
- work to
increase the public support and money available for access and
- work to
help strengthen members' organizational capacity through staff
development and communications.
Area Consortium of Special Collections Libraries (PACSCL) is a nonprofit
collaboration among libraries and archives whose collections, in
their depth and variety, comprise an internationally important body
of unique materials for students, scholars and life-long learners.
a forum for the identification and discussion of matters of mutual
interest and collaborative programs to:
preservation of and access to collections
professional development and communication
- mount public
programs and otherwise engage with their several publics.
of this documentary heritage, PACSCL members seek to share their
resources with the broadest possible audience.
- The Philadelphia
area generally and the group of PACSCL member libraries in particular
will be known regionally, nationally, and internationally as one
of the country's leading repositories of rare books, manuscripts,
photographs, prints, architectural drawings, and works of art
- All materials
in the collections of PACSCL libraries will have web-mounted catalog
records or encoded finding aids accessible to every potential
user. These data records will include or be linked to digital
images of books, manuscripts, graphics or other objects where
appropriate, allowing users full access to collections from outside
- PACSCL will
be strongly linked with the Greater Philadelphia educational establishment,
K-12 through postdoctoral studies, as well as with community groups
to provide resources and programs for curricula, including lifelong
learning, for residents of the region.
on PACSCL member collections and programs will be readily available
in the tourism and leisure travel community, and PACSCL members
will be active participants as information brokers in the creation
of specialty tours and information campaigns to increase leisure
travel to the Philadelphia area.
- PACSCL will
be recognized as providing a national model for regional collaboration
among special collections libraries, including utilization of
technology in program delivery.
- PACSCL member
library staff will be trained to the highest level in their disciplines
and will also be fully aware of collections, resources, and available
expertise at other member libraries.
RANGE GOALS AND STRATEGIC OBJECTIVES
the role of PACSCL as a model for regional collaboration.
access to collections through innovative uses of technology,
with the goal of allowing PACSCL's many publics easy electronic
access to resources of all member libraries
for cooperative collection development as appropriate
skill and knowledge level of member staff
to develop opportunities for networking and becoming familiar
with other member institutions among member staff
PACSCL successes within professional organizations
Link PACSCL and its member libraries more firmly to the educational
community, including lifelong learners.
partnerships between groups of PACSCL member libraries and educational
institutions to develop curriculum support materials for use
in elementary and secondary education (public, parochial, other
lifelong learning opportunities that involve use of PACSCL member
collections and programs
the role of PACSCL as advocate for professional issues, educator,
and marketer so that a wide range of stakeholders are aware
of the importance of PACSCL member collections and mobilized to
help to improve access and collection care.
innovative programs that tie community needs with access and
preservation and make the case with funders
the visibility of special collections libraries (tourism liaison,
the various publics about resources available to them through
advocacy role of PACSCL on behalf of its member libraries
- Keep the
focus on the member libraries and the collections, with PACSCL
itself taking more of a background role.
This plan has
a two- to three-year timeline and will form the basis for a five-year
plan to be developed in late 2004.
the role of PACSCL as a model for regional collaboration:
Develop compelling new initiatives for access and collections care,
ones which will also share collections more broadly, meet important
social needs, raise member library visibility and build new constituencies.
Year 1: Survey members to assess cataloging backlog
for their printed collections; develop funding proposal to address
Year 2: Evaluate and assess
topical subcategories that will among them embrace all PACSCL
members and develop full-scope preservation and access projects,
with public component, for each.
Year 1: Develop a digitization project focused
on Greater Philadelphia and seek funding. Identify other topical
Year 2: Evaluate and assess. Develop projects
for other topical areas and seek funding.
a PACSCL institutional membership in ALA, ACRL, SAA (Year
1 goal) and publicize PACSCL successes within these
educational programs to increase visibility among public officials,
other funding entities, and to build constituencies
relationships with educational institutions
Year 1: Survey PACSCL members for existing relationships
and best practices; find ways to broaden these relationships
to involve groups of PACSCL member
curriculum support materials
Year 1: Identify potential partners, topics, participating
libraries; seek funding
Year 2: Produce product; begin using in fall term.
Year 3: Query users, assess
member fellowship programs; develop a PACSCL fellowship program
Year 1: Consolidate information on member fellowship
programs in once place on PACSCL website. Survey members for
interest in funding for a PACSCL fellowship; seek funding.
Year 2: Implement PACSCL fellowship(s)
Year 3: Evaluate and assess
a PACSCL library internship program
Year 1: Assess member interest in having library
interns. Discuss with Drexel University.
Years 1/2: Begin pilot program with small number
of interns. Evaluate; decide whether to proceed.
cultural, heritage, and niche tourism
Year 1. Member participation in cooperative online
calendars; create new PACSCL brochure; liaison with Philadelphia
Hospitality; strengthen relationship with Greater Philadelphia
Tourism & Marketing Corporation, Mayor's Office of Arts
& Culture, Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance; explore
the idea of a special collections library Trolley Tour as suggested
Year 2. Evaluate and adjust as needed
additional cost-free or low-cost short-term projects as generated
by the outreach committee.
Year 1: Provide a PACSCL lecturer at the Philadelphia
Flower Show. Identify other opportunities to have PACSCL speakers
gain visibility. Develop self-guided book lovers' walking tour
of the Historic District as model for other areas and other
topics. Consider other projects.
Year 2: Evaluate and adjust as needed.
the PACSCL newsletter as an occasional electronic publication.
Year 1. Plan an achievable publication, with a
target first issue in September 2003. Set plan for contents
(e.g., showcase four libraries per issue, include calendar and
news briefs). Recruit an editorial board among PACSCL member
staff (with an obligation to "give or get" one article per issue).
Develop a plan to publicize the project and develop an electronic
Year 2. Produce two to four issues, depending
on interest. Conduct reader survey in October.
- Seek a
PACSCL member or members willing to make some PR staff time.
available for development of a longer range outreach and communications
Year 1. Recruit PR staff (Jan - Mar); develop
plan (Apr-Jun); seek funding (July-Dec)
Year 2. Implement, evaluate, assess.
that the broadest possible number of PACSCL staffers are kept informed
of PACSCL activities and participate in programs
broader range of staff members to quarterly meetings.
Year 1 and 2. Ongoing. Continue; evaluate and
the use of PACSCL-L listserv to share information on member
library programs and PACSCL policies and initiatives.
Year 1 and 2. Ongoing. Continue; evaluate and
assess, ongoing. Consider circulating PACSCL quarterly minutes
to broader range of staff.
opportunities for networking and sharing expertise among member
- Have at
least one purely social PACSCL event each year to allow mingling
among staff members
Year 1 and 2. Hold events; evaluate and assess.
a member expertise directory and place it on the PACSCL website
Ongoing. Survey members in fall 2003 to determine usefulness
of this feature.
formal programs for staff development
- Year 1.
Expand on survey results to suggest staff development programs.
(Note: One program, XSL stylesheet training to help members
put manuscript finding aids on their websites, is already scheduled
for February 2003). Select and implement an additional training
Year 2. Evaluate and assess; continue training development as
an organizational structure to support vision and long term goals:
(These are all Year 1 priorities and will be evaluated and adjusted
in Year 2).
working hours of part-time executive director to 20 hours/week
effective January 1, 2003 and provide office space and equipment
at a member library. Support this level of organizational
expense for 2004 and beyond by seeking a capacity-building grant
to provide funding for salaries, equipment, stationery, office,
promotional materials, etc. Develop policies for decision making
by convening ad-hoc committees on outreach, access, and professional
development and creating guidelines for evaluating proposals.
Board meetings by empowering Executive Committee as primary
Year 1. Appoint a small committee to review and
revise the by-laws by the June 2003 quarterly meeting.
a mechanism, such as an annual meeting that includes approval
of goals and programs for the coming year, to involve decision-makers
at member institutions with setting PACSCL's direction.
Year 1. Charge the Executive Committee with recommending
a mechanism by June 1; implement.
Year 2. Assess and adjust as necessary.
a small task force to be responsible for ongoing strategic and
long-range planning. For at least the first half of 2003, this
will be the executive committee; the task force may be adjusted
Years 1 and 2. Ongoing, with goal of developing
a five-year strategic plan in Fall 2004.