SFU Library Strategic Plan 2022 - 2024

Banner for SFU Library Strategic Plan 2022-2024

Read the full plan below, or download a PDF version.

About this Strategic Plan 

Since our last strategic plan significant world events have called us to work in new ways. These include, but are not limited to: the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on our physical and mental health, families and communities, and anti-Asian racism; the climate crisis; the recovery of unmarked children’s graves at former residential schools; and the ongoing activism of Black people, Indigenous people, queer and trans people, disabled and neurodivergent people, and many others, who work to dismantle continuing systemic violence and discrimination.

We recognize a collective need to take a breath, pause, and reflect. We also feel the deep need to do our work differently.

We choose to spend the next three years continuing and advancing the work that we are doing now. We will spend time on reflection, relationships, and reorientation—to deepen our work by viewing it through a number of approaches that respond to the current times:

This gives us time and space for growth in how we approach our work. The decision to focus on the "how" of our work is bold and aspirational in that it prioritizes learning and relationships rather than forms of productivity and achievement that typically dictate our work.

 Our current areas of work

The SFU Library is an active partner in the life cycle of research and scholarship, including planning, discovery, knowledge mobilization, and publication. We offer dynamic physical and virtual spaces where we curate collections and offer opportunities for learning, creativity, and collaboration among students, faculty members, postdoctoral fellows, staff, and community members.

We lead by example in supporting and advocating for open scholarship including open access, open source, open data, open educational resources, and minimal restrictions on licensed information resources. We balance our desire for openness with our commitment to privacy. We work within clearly recognized standards governing Indigenous data sovereignty and cultural protocols.

The Library reacted quickly to rapidly changing conditions during the pandemic and we have integrated much of what we learned into the ways we work. We know change is constant, and research libraries are rapidly evolving. We will continue to respond to changes in the learning and research environments with agility and innovation.


We will:

  • provide tools and expertise that enable the discovery and creation of new knowledge and that support research integrity and reproducibility  
  • be a catalyst for interdisciplinary research, scholarship, and community-building
  • build responsive and enduring collections, including distinctive and accessible Special Collections. Across the library, we prioritize digital collections, while preserving and selectively collecting print and other physical formats
  • steward, preserve, and contribute to the scholarly record in its various formats in today’s academic environment
  • honour and uplift different ways of knowing, and lead in celebrating different formats and ways of measuring scholarship, research, and creative outputs
  • integrate library expertise with campus partners in the research process
  • facilitate the sharing of SFU research within and beyond the academy.

Teaching and learning

We will:

  • teach students to be adept and critical when using information and engaging in knowledge creation, preparing them to be confident citizens and lifelong learners
  • partner with faculty, instructors, and other campus partners to integrate library expertise into student learning
  • develop and teach information literacy and academic skills curriculum at meaningful points in student learning, both inside and outside the classroom
  • create opportunities for student learning, interaction, leadership, and experimentation
  • be the primary academic space outside the classroom, where students connect with knowledge and each other.


We will:

  • engage community through vibrant events and programs, both online and in-person
  • partner in knowledge mobilization with community
  • collaborate with academic and community partners across and beyond all campuses to share our resources and expertise and learn from others
  • empower people and communities by making it possible to access and use our collections.

  Library employees

People are at the heart of what we do, and library employees drive our success. In caring for our coworkers, we help create a positive environment for library users and a thriving and sustainable work environment for employees. Our last strategic plan named a number of areas we wanted to prioritize in order to support a positive work culture. We will continue to pursue these, while considering our workplace culture, policies, and practices through our priority approaches.

We will:

  • centre the wellness, safety, and mental health of employees
  • respect and value the diversity of lived experiences of library employees and actively work to expand it across all areas of the library  
  • support the arc of career development through mentorship, professional learning and development, and deliberate leadership development  
  • value and depend on employees’ expertise, experience, and knowledge
  • empower employees to engage in decision-making
  • provide clear, timely internal communication
  • offer student employment and training opportunities to enhance student engagement.

 Our priority approaches

We commit to reconsidering and assessing our existing work through the following approaches. We acknowledge that these approaches can often intersect and overlap, and at other times can be in tension. We will spend time, energy, and resources developing a culture and structure that embeds these approaches into our work, including through employee training, relationship building, updates to our policies and programming, and changes to workflows so that these critical commitments will live beyond individual employees, working groups, and initiatives. We invite others with these values to connect and collaborate with us.

Relationships and community

People are at the heart of the library. We will develop a culture that prioritizes relationships and values the work needed to cultivate them; in doing this we can reframe our notions of what it means to be productive. By being intentional about developing and tending to relationships across library locations, divisions, student groups, the university, and communities, we are able to take our work further and move our approaches related to equity, reconciliation, and climate action forward. The needs of different members of our communities can vary and at times this can create tension; we will approach these times as opportunities to build trust and understanding.

Reconciliation and decolonization

Reconciliation is a continuous process that centers relationships. We will nurture reciprocal and respectful relationships with Indigenous communities both on and off campus. We will continue to learn about historical and ongoing colonization of land and people as well as the colonial foundations of libraries and academic institutions. Through this learning, we will develop an understanding of how to approach our work with a decolonial lens. We will act on existing recommendations and our learning by changing our policies and practices related to our collections, our physical and virtual spaces, our knowledge access systems, our instruction, our programming, and our employee recruitment, engagement, retention, and development.

Evidence-informed decision-making

Evidence comes in many forms, and can incorporate many ways of knowing. Evidence comes through conversations and relationships, through recommendations by people closest to an issue, and through surveys and assessments. We will prioritize evidence-informed learning to guide decisions. We will be active in gathering evidence and seeking out the knowledge and experience of our users and employees so that we can make responsive changes. This learning will inform how we move forward with our work, including how we balance virtual and physical/in-person programming and services.


Equity work addresses structural imbalances and creates the conditions for all people to flourish. The historical and ongoing effects of colonization and discrimination include ableism, ageism, anti-Asian racism, anti-Black racism, anti-Indigenous racism, discrimination based on country of origin, Islamophobia, queerphobia, and transphobia. These effects impact library users’ and employees’ ability to thrive in a research and learning environment. Through relationships and learning with those most impacted, we will continue to grow our understanding of how our spaces, policies and practices, and the larger systems around them, contribute to and uphold inequities among users and employees and impact their wellness. We will act on existing recommendations and our learning by changing our policies and practices related to our collections, our physical and virtual spaces, our knowledge access systems, our instruction, our programming, and our employee recruitment, engagement, retention, and development.

Climate action

Our work in the library needs to be sustainable for the world in the face of the ongoing and worsening climate crisis. We will consider the climate impact of our decisions in our collections, our buildings, our technologies, our programming, and our policies and procedures in the context of their full life cycles and their impacts on our environment and health. We are committed to acting in coordination with SFU’s university-wide sustainability plan (SFU 2025).

Questions, comments, or feedback? Reach out to us at library@sfu.ca
Owned by: Gwen Bird
Last revised: 2023-09-06