Library Three Year Plan: 2004-2007


Simon Fraser University Library
Three Year Plan 2004-2007

Supporting the SFU Community: Information Resource and Service Priorities


Mission Statement:   At the heart of the University, the SFU Library is dedicated to providing access to collections, services and facilities of the highest possible quality  in support of the teaching, learning and research goals of the Simon Fraser University community.




Library as place
Library relationships
Support for library staff


The Library’s 2004-2007 Three Year Plan process was scheduled to take advantage of the preparation and outcome from the Review which took place in Spring 2004. Over Summer 2004 each division and unit met and developed goals for their area based on previous self-studies and the recommendations and response to the Review Report as well as the VP Academic’s Three Year Plan. In preparing departmental goals, a principal consideration was to be the needs of the SFU Community (faculty, staff, students). A retreat of the Library Council was held in October 2004 to develop broad themes for the Three Year Plan. Proposed activities which were seen as more operational or internal were identified to be followed up subsequently within the Library. On the basis of the Retreat discussion, a draft was prepared and discussed at the subsequent Council meeting before being circulated to all staff for comment. After a further review by Library Council, this final Plan is being submitted.


Over the past dozen years, SFU Library has significantly improved its collections, a process enabled by adequate collection budget increments, leveraged through joint licencing, and by a strong gifts programme.

The SFU Library will continue to develop rich collections in all formats. The development of these collections must be responsive to new and ongoing research, learning and teaching needs of the SFU community; and to new possibilities emanating from publishers and scholars. Particular SFU (and therefore collection) growth areas over the coming three years include the Faculty of Health Sciences, programming at the Surrey and Vancouver campuses, and French language programming. Special Collections and Rare Books will continue to develop its collections of Contemporary Literature (CLC), Western Canadian/BC history, book publishing, editorial cartoons and will expand its collections further in the following areas with a BC emphasis---literary, gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgender, multicultural, and environmental studies.

Consistent with this, we will continue and expand the development of our electronic collections: e-journals, multi-media, reference sources and GIS data. We will continue at the same time to expand and develop our print collections, to expand and develop digitization projects where appropriate, and to ensure that the collections at the branches are adequate to support programmes and research at those locations.

In order to maximize access to the collections, we will work to reduce the catalogue backlog through improved processes, re-organize the collection in specific areas (e.g. Canadian and commonwealth literature, video/film), and improve and integrate the cataloguing of electronic resources.

Over the next three years we will report to the community on our progress to ensure our collections are relevant since the 2000 Collection Allocation Task Group Report.  We also need to secure funding to develop collections for new and shifting areas of research and investigate alternative means of ensuring collections match current research and teaching. We will continue to review collection development policies with respect to new faculty, research and courses. We will develop better mechanisms for ensuring on-site collection requirements for programming at Belzberg and Surrey are met. In order to ensure the ongoing quality of the collections, we will expand the area available for climate-controlled collections, develop and implement a preservation plan for the Media Collections, and improve the use of statistics to inform collection development decisions.

The Library has undertaken a number of digitization initiatives which enhance access to our collections and preservation. Pre-1997 SFU theses will be made available in digital form, with unrestricted access. The Institutional Repository project, undertaken as part of the Canadian Association of Research Libraries initiative, has led to a variety of conference proceedings and other papers being managed effectively and made available; over the next three years we intend to continue this initiative. Further projects such as Multicultural Canada, and Synergies, will result in primary materials and Canadian scholarly journals being more available to SFU students and faculty. If feasible, the digitization of the BC Newspaper index will be a welcome reference resource and a possible source of revenue. The Library will continue to pursue similar opportunities which benefit SFU faculty and students.


As recommended in the Library Review Report, the Library plans to explore the potential for a deeper complex of ‘Learning Commons’ services and facilities in conjunction with appropriate campus departments and units. Through the collaborative efforts of Library and Academic Computing Services staff, the year old Information Commons has been a success for students. Delivery of HCCC Learning Skills Workshops in the Library as well as Recommendation 4 of the Student Learning Support Services Task Force Final Report suggest that there may be further collaborative student-oriented academic support services which could be provided on floors 2 and 3 of the Library. Often termed Learning Commons, there are a variety of models for similar services among similar Canadian universities, such as the University of Guelph. Computer applications will be continue to be enhanced in response to emerging needs . The Library will also work to enhance the Learning Commons concept at the Surrey and Belzberg Libraries. And, as a counterpart to the physical Learning Commons and its services, the Library will investigate developing online “Virtual Reading Rooms” targeted for faculty as well as graduate and undergraduate students.

With the continuing expansion and development of the Liaison Librarian program, the Library will work to strengthen and integrate this important service among all three campuses. In particular, effective mechanisms will be developed to identify and meet the needs of new faculty through co-ordination with departmental assistants, creation of print and web-based library information packages, specialized workshops and other initiatives.

Of particular importance for graduate students, the Library will continue to improve thesis support through investigating relocating the in-person service to a more publicly accessible area, further developing online support and delivering additional workshops.

In consultation with other appropriate units in the University, the Library will explore online theses submission as a way of enhancing access, and investigate mechanisms to facilitate thesis submission/tracking workflows to reduce duplication of effort and increase communication and efficiency.

To further support learning and research, the Library will investigate means of improving a variety of services; including delivery times between campuses, inter-library loan delivery times, service hours for specialized areas such as the Media Collection, methods for fines payment and other borrower conveniences, the ability to search specific collections, e.g. films and videos, in the library catalogue, and the design and function of the Web site and library publications. Continuing public service training for all library staff will be a priority, particularly to support the Loans staff responsible for public service at hours when other service points in the Library are closed. Reserve services will be improved by reviewing the current mandate and policies, providing online forms to facilitate the request process, as well as online reserve options wherever feasible, and improving security.

Further possibilities for service will continue to be explored and initiated with appropriate campus units such as HCCC Learning Skills, the Centre for Writing Intensive Learning (CWIL), the Learning and Instructional Development Centre (LIDC) and the Centre for Distance Education (CDE), as well as with the student-run Rotunda libraries and other Reading Rooms on campus. At SFU Surrey, the Library will continue to partner with the Surrey Success Centre and the Tech One Learning Network, and will look for similar opportunities at the SFU Vancouver campus. The Library will continue to work to enhance services to student groups such as First Nations students, distance students and students with disabilities.

A service plan for the Belzberg Library will be developed to support the SFU Vancouver Academic Plan, and services within the new SFU Surrey Library Media and Information Commons will continue to be developed in anticipation of the new facility and in support of the SFU Surrey Academic Plan.


Despite the increasing availability of electronic resources and services, the Library as a physical facility continues to be heavily used and important for faculty and students. Changing approaches to education require that the space be repurposed both to meet evolving needs and to continue to provide effective comfortable quiet study and research space. Library space must be people centred, intuitively navigable, flexible, and ergonomic for faculty students and staff.

It is time for the Library to undertake a comprehensive review of space utilization within the Bennett Library. We expect to engage space consultants who can provide expertise and assist in this process. In order to achieve the most effective building configuration, we will develop a long term plan for the Bennett Library that takes into account shelf space requirements as well as the need for space for research and active learning. If feasible, we will take advantage of the potential for space made available by the possible relocation of the university boiler. Most pressingly, we will develop adequate space for the Media Collection, double the size of vault space for Special Collections, improve facilities for graduate students (for example by increasing the number of study carrels and identifying a graduate seminar room) develop an instruction room on floor 2 to accommodate increasing demand for meeting and instructional space in the Library and alleviate the pressure on current library rooms and labs, and improve the cleanliness of public and staff space in the Library.

The Library must be cognizant of its branch locations downtown and in Surrey and ensure they are integrated in space planning. To this end, we will support the request for funding to expand the Belzberg Library and ensure adequate space is provided for the SFU Surrey Library, Media and Information Commons (LMIC).


Beyond providing conventional services, SFU Library engages in a variety of activities with other groups to strengthen these services. Beyond the SFU community (faculty, students, alumni, retirees), these include donors, other institutions, and interested members of the general public.

Over the next three years, the Library will strengthen its Advancement activities to obtain resources to enhance its services, space and collections. The Library will continue to sponsor and promote events and activities of interest to the campus, often in conjunction with other groups such as the Alcuin Society.

The Library at times plays a role as a consultant or provider of expert support for other institutions, on a cost recovery basis. Current examples include the ReSearcher software development on behalf of the Council of Prairie and Pacific University Libraries; and e-journal and bibliographic database management and support for the BC authors database. We will continue to play this role when it supports SFU’s goals.

The Library has partnered with a variety of institutions on projects of joint interest such as Multicultural Canada, Synergies, and the Canadian Association of Research Libraries’ Institutional Repository initiative. SFU Library has worked with SFU Centre for Studies in Publishing and UBC Public Knowledge Project to support scholarly publishing initiatives. SFU Library now hosts the BC Electronic Library Network, to the benefit of both and of all BC Postsecondary Libraries (and students and faculty). SFU Library and Vancouver Public Library developed a number of different opportunities to work jointly; over the next three years, we will work to develop a similar relationship with Surrey Public Library and Burnaby Public Library, and explore the possibility of doing so with other cultural institutions such as the Vancouver Art Gallery, Vancouver Museum and City Archives.

We will continue to explore other opportunities to strengthen our services through collaborative initiatives.


A robust, adequate technology infrastructure is crucial for the Library to meet its goals. Software and server and desktop equipment will be ‘greened’ on a regular basis. Critical library systems will be continuously monitored and maintained in a sound physical environment. The Library will work with Operations & Technical Support and Academic Computing Services to maintain network infrastructure, bandwidth and security to support the Library’s online services and resources.

Over the next three years, the Library will develop an effective and comprehensive strategy for acquiring, managing, preserving, and delivering digital content. We will continue to develop and improve the Library web presence in order to both simplify and enhance user and staff interaction with our online systems and services. Intended improvements include easier and more intuitive navigability, increased self-service functionality, and more powerful and integrated search interfaces. SFU has benefited from the Library’s role as a leader in technology and we will continue to maintain this position.


Much progress has been made since the last 3-year plan to support Library staff within a respectful atmosphere.  The best work environment will allow library staff to deliver exemplary service to the SFU community and to achieve full potential in their positions within the Library. Elements of this support include a comfortable workspace, appropriate training and documentation, and effective communication. Following the Library review report, a Library Staff Training Task Group was created and made recommendations; implementation of these recommendations is underway. A staff development day is planned for Spring 2005 and discussions are underway with Human Resources regarding workshops targeted for Library staff.  We are and will continue to implement the recommendations in the Task Group report.

A Library Building Well-being Task Group was also created and made recommendations which will also be pursued.  Communication with and among all staff on a continuing basis is a critical success factor for accomplishment of all goals in this plan, but especially our staff-related ones, and we will continue to cultivate this as part of the work environment.


This Plan sets the direction for the Library in the next three years. Specific actions have been envisioned during the planning process which will lead to our achieving these goals. Notwithstanding the activities envisioned in the Plan, we know that circumstances change and unexpected opportunities arise. The SFU Library is committed to providing the best possible collections and services in support of emerging university initiatives, such as the development of the Great Northern Way campus, the probable move of the School of the Contemporary Arts to downtown Vancouver, the increasing importance of SFU International, and others yet unknown.

Owned by: Gwen Bird
Last revised: 2023-09-06