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Harvard College Library-Report of Nancy M. Cline




To say this was an active year for the Harvard College Library would be an understatement. Working with a host of new leaders both at the University and local levels; challenging traditional assumptions about the delivery of reference services; forging new relationships with faculty and FAS units involved with teaching and learning; and exploring the myriad possibilities of the digital world while carrying on with the day-to-day functions of the Library was demanding, but the result was significant. HCL has been changing, progressing, making a difference. Across our many libraries and departments, programs and services have strengthened, collections have grown, and relationships have been built with academic programs. We have aligned well with the Dean’s expectations for FAS, and we have kept a strong focus on our mission and our priorities of:

  • developing collections that respond to the teaching and research needs of the University,
  • making these materials accessible through our online catalogs and through our teaching and outreach programs,
  • ensuring that our collections are cared for properly, and
  • fostering an environment in which students and others can make effective use of our holdings.

In looking back over the year, it is also time to pause and consider what we have learned that will prepare us for more changes. Through all the moves and renovations we have made, through the Google digitization project, and through the preparations for relocating the Fine Arts Library, we have learned about the importance of caring for the collections, in all formats, and have affirmed the critical importance of knowing what we have and where it is at any given time. Through some of our moves and reorganizations (such as relocating the Social Sciences Program to Lamont Library), we have learned that planning is valuable, but sometimes—when people finally get a chance to work together in shared spaces—other important changes and improvements will arise. Through vacancies and transitions, through new committees and task forces, with new leadership in different places in HCL, staff have experimented with new ways to reach into the academic communities, thus building important relationships with teaching programs, academic departments, and others, and affirming the importance of collaboration. Collections, people, programs, and services—the Library is not only a place, it is a synergy. Looking ahead, the Library’s plans for the coming year include:

  • relocating the Fine Arts Library to the Littauer and Sackler spaces while maintaining service to users and assuring the security of the collection;
  • implementing the Harvard Libraries’ “Scan and Deliver” service within HCL;
  • space planning that addresses the evolving usage patterns of library users;
  • testing new models for the delivery of public services;
  • continuing exploration of programs and technologies to assist with research, teaching, and learning; and
  • refining our collection and acquisition strategies in support of the scholarship.