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A Note from Sarah Thomas

Dear colleagues,

In 2011, a generous donation from a library supporter enabled the creation of the Strategic Conversation series, which fostered dialog about changes in libraries and provided a welcome opportunity for staff to come together for discussion and debate. Following a hiatus of almost two years, the Harvard Library has begun Strategic Conversations anew, and several events have taken or will take place this year.

Nancy Fried Foster of Ithaka S+R spoke on “Ethnography & Academic Libraries: Assessment and Design” on February 24. (See a summary of her talk here.)

Vanessa Kam, acting head of music, art and architecture at the University of British Columbia Libraries, will speak on the “Tenacious Book: the Curious State of Art and Architecture Collections in a Digital Era” on April 30.

Michael Cotta-Schoenberg, deputy director of the Royal Danish Library, will speak on “The History of the World Library from the Year 2040 to 2090” on June 17. 

The Strategic Conversations series is designed to inform the strategic direction of the Library and foster a culture of innovation, entrepreneurship and collaboration among staff, faculty, and others in our community. It aims to engage members of the Library Board and Faculty Advisory Council with issues that are facing libraries in general and the Harvard Library in particular in the emerging digital age. 

In 2014 the Strategic Conversations series will center on three inter-related topics: the future of libraries; architecture for libraries that fosters creativity and collaboration; and advances in digital information management and services.

The Strategic Conversations series will serve as professional development opportunities for staff and it will also increase understanding of faculty and administrators of the issues confronting libraries today. The series should reinforce our strategic priorities and assist us in communicating them to our stakeholders and users. One of the measures of success of the series will be the impact these sessions have on our environment.  To maximize the impact the talks, workshops or symposia should be publicized widely, and to ensure attendance by key individuals, we should seek to involve faculty, staff and administrators in planning, in moderating and in participating in our activities. The events will be followed by a reception where the audience can continue discussion and interact with each other. 

 Members of the Strategic Conversations Planning Group include:

Jennifer Allison, HLS
Abigail Bordeaux, LTS
Greg Eow, FAS
Paul Hanna, AS
Lisa Junghahn, HLS
Colin Lukens, OSC
Violet Radnofsky, FAS
David Weinberger, HLS
Darla White, HMS
Ann Whiteside (Chair, Liaison to the Library Leadership Team), GSD
Susan Wyssen, FAS

Thank you to the members of this group for volunteering, and I know we all look forward to the future HLSC sessions they plan.

Best regards,

Sarah Thomas

Vice President for the Harvard Library and
Roy E. Larsen Librarian of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences