In July 2017, the Executive Board of the University approved the establishment of a university library that brings together all existing libraries under one roof. At present, the University of Zurich has 39 library-related organizational units, which maintain 44 sites as well as a number of storage rooms. In addition to the Main Library, there are the faculty and department libraries, which are independent and report to the relevant faculties or departments.
“This complex situation doesn’t meet the requirements of a modern university library, since it doesn’t allow us to address future challenges in terms of digitalization, open science and data management,” says Vice President Christian Schwarzenegger, who as member of the Executive Board of the University is responsible for the project. He sees a central infrastructure, a clearly defined list of services as well as a good site concept as key factors for the future. Only this way can a university’s library services meet the evolving needs of students and other library users.
Milestone for the preliminary project: Consultation
This is why UZH, through the UZH Library of the Future project, is working on a development strategy that takes into account all of the University’s libraries. The preliminary project, which runs until the fall of 2019, provides the frame for the future university library. In the actual main project – starting in 2020 – the project managers will develop specialist concepts, regulate cooperation with the Zentralbibliothek Zürich and plan the implementation.
The steering committee includes representatives of the Canton of Zurich, the Executive Board of the University, the faculties, the Zentralbibliothek Zürich and the Main Library of the University of Zurich. In a first step, data was collected and a survey was performed among students and employees in October 2017. Between November 2017 and January 2018, strategic guidelines were developed, and then from January to July 2018 a concept report was drawn up detailing solutions with regard to the future services, sites and organization. This report has now been put forward for consultation.
In other words, the Office of Universities of the Canton of Zurich, the deans of UZH, the university body representatives, the responsible employees of the Main Library and of the Zentralbibliothek Zürich have now been invited to comment on the report. “The consultation phase means we’ve reached an important milestone,” says Vice President Christian Schwarzenegger. “It’s yet another step forward, since it includes key stakeholders. The feedback they provide will directly shape our further planning.”
More specifically, the stakeholders have been invited to give their views on various topics, such as services, organization, sites, as well as the inclusion of researchers, instructors, students, library staff and the faculties.
Comments have to be submitted by the end of November 2018, with key decisions to be made in April 2019.
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