Twenty-first century academic libraries need to adapt on a regular basis because external forces such as increased pressures from the institution and accreditation organizations, emerging technologies, or budget reductions create new conditions. In a twenty-year period ending in 2008, academic library spending shifted substantially from physical to electronic resources and from staff and student salary lines to professionals, signaling profound changes in the way libraries do business. “Then just as academic … libraries were settling into these new behaviors, the worst recession in seventy-five years occurred, forcing many … to concern themselves with survival and making difficult decisions based on reduced levels of funding.”
The Great Recession of 2007-2009 caused dramatic and recurring budget reductions in many colleges and universities in the United States. Public support for higher education declined overall by 3.8 percent from fiscal year (FY) 2007 to FY 2012.4 These reductions forced many academic libraries to focus on survival rather than improvement. Managers faced difficult decisions, which included the elimination of positions, cancellation of subscriptions, inability to replace technology, and reduced hours of opening. The results of these decisions vary widely depending on the ways libraries plan strategically and prioritize the work they do.
Strategic planning is a formal process through which an organization envisions the future and develops the procedures and operations necessary to achieve it. Its essence is the allocation of resources to those opportunities most likely to move the organization to its ideal future position instead of across-the-board allocations or cutting support proportionately without regard to how closely an operation aligns with the mission or the ideal future position.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/anne_marie_casey/23/