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York University Libraries – Strategic Plan 2021-2026

York University Libraries

Strategic Plan


This strategic plan has an eye to strengthening organizational leadership structures, leadership programs, human resources structures and organizational workflows to support strategic initiatives, and a 21st century Library profile that builds organizational capacity and capitalizes on our strengths.

Download The Plan (PDF)

Dean's Message

I am pleased to introduce the York University Libraries Strategic Plan for 2021-2026, an inspirational and aspirational guide drafted by the YUL Strategic Planning Steering Committee, supported by comprehensive and transparent consultation with the Libraries community.

Drafted specifically to identify goals and actions related to equity, diversity, and inclusion, and in alignment with the University Academic Plan (UAP) 2020-2025, the Strategic Plan will strengthen organizational structures to support strategic initiatives and guide our continuing work to build a 21st century library profile that grows organizational capacity for new initiatives while capitalizing on our existing strengths.

I look forward to seeing how, over the next five years, this Plan will shape our work, foster collaboration, and empower staff to fulfill their roles within the institution.

Joy Kirchner

Dean of Libraries, York University


YUL’s vision is to provide our community of users with access to rich collections, unique expertise, and inspirational spaces so that they may engage their intellect, use their scholarly voice, and bolster their desire to make positive change wherever they may live/be.


York University Libraries (YUL) drives the University’s mission to pursue, preserve, and disseminate knowledge. As a catalyst for knowledge creation, we foster a culture of critical inquiry. YUL cultivates an inclusive and diverse community and prepares students and researchers for success in a global environment.


  • We are reciprocal partners and collaborators in the advancement of York’s mission.
  • We are leaders in the democratization of knowledge.
  • We inspire open-minded inquiry, experimentation, innovation, and creativity.
  • We develop and deliver our programs and services with sustainability as a guiding principle.
  • We integrate the principles of equity, diversity, inclusion, and belonging into all our activities.
  • We are dynamic, progressive, and engaged in our work.
  • We treat each other and our community of users with kindness and respect.

Our goal alignment with UAP Priorities

UAP Priority 1: 21st Century Learning
Inspired information and digital literacy programming to diversify whom, what, and how we teach

UAP Priority 2: Knowledge for the Future
Leading the way to accessible knowledge

UAP Priority 3: From Access to Success
Propelling next generation student supports with responsive and inclusive programming

UAP Priority 4: Advancing Global Engagement
Fostering global fluencies with collections, spaces, and services

UAP Priority 5: Working in Partnership
Building unique partnerships for the greater good

UAP Priority 6: Living Well Together
YUL belong here

UN Sustainable Development Goals
YUL rises to the university-wide challenge to contribute to UN sustainable development goals (SDGs)

The Library is often seen as a place of consumption where you take out books, but students have always been creating in libraries. They take out books because they want to write a paper, for example. Now students are creating other types of media. At York University Libraries’ Media Creation Lab, we facilitate the discovery and the creation of knowledge using digital media. This is a place where knowledge is moved, consumed, repurposed, and created.

— Kris Joseph
Digital Scholarship Librarian, York University Libraries

Learn more about the media creation lab here >

Bear Cave Silent Booth

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Inspired information and digital literacy programming to diversify whom, what, and how we teach

YUL is instrumental in advancing critical information literacy and digital fluencies at York University through inspired and strategic programming that empowers learners to become reflective, responsible readers and creators of academic and creative works in any media.

  • Integrate information and digital literacy programs into existing programs and the new Markham Campus curriculum.
  • Foster inclusivity and diversity in YUL’s teaching programs and related services through implementing intentional pedagogical approaches, integrating marginalized voices, strengthening accessibility programming and supports for persons with disabilities, and applying universal design principles.
  • Reinvent and revitalize our digital and physical resources and learning spaces including a thriving Digital Scholarship Centre, where learners and researchers have access to the expertise, tools, and technologies that support their work and facilitate independent and collaborative engagement remotely and on campus.

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Leading the way to accessible knowledge

YUL increases research impact and knowledge application, builds and curates rich and diverse collections, advocates open research practices, and supports our users in the creation and preservation of scholarly and creative works.

  • Build, preserve, and curate rich and diverse collections in collaboration with partners to support research by students, faculty, and the public
  • Lead in the operationalization of the Senate Policy on Open Access across the institution.
  • Foster and champion open scholarship by supporting inclusive and creative scholarly publishing to democratize and preserve knowledge
  • Partner with researchers fully in their research life cycle through the development of an institutional research data management strategy and responsive research data management services.
  • Create and implement a plan for assessing and improving the sustainability of technical infrastructure including hardware, software, training, and documentation.

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Propelling next generation student supports with responsive and inclusive programming

YUL embraces a holistic and proactive approach to the design of its services and programs and is strongly committed to engage with and meet the needs of our students, of all backgrounds and circumstances, at every point in their academic studies.

  • Strengthen YUL’s services and academic programming through intentional inclusive design that draws in diverse student cohorts including Black, Indigenous, racialized, lower-income, and students who are the first in their family to attend university.
  • Continue as university leaders in Open Education, including the promotion of open licences and, in partnership with York instructors, the creation, use, and implementation of open pedagogy and open educational resources.
  • Adopt user experience and design thinking approaches to reinvent library programs and services that ensure flexible and responsive ways of meeting our diverse community’s needs and demonstrate commitment to evidence- based assessment.

York University Libraries was an early international leader in exploring the emerging field of linked open data and its potential to provide pathways for researchers and research libraries to address and deconstruct systemic injustice present in traditional methods of surfacing and accessing research collections by exploring the use of Wikidata to create a model process of community- librarian/archivist/curator-scholar collaboration.

— Joy Kirchner
Dean, York University Libraries

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Fostering global fluencies with collections, spaces, and services

Enable York’s diverse and globally engaged community of users to develop global fluencies through the Libraries’ collections, spaces, teaching, and services.

  • Ensure our collections, programs, spaces, teaching, services, and people reflect York’s diversity and global engagement.
  • Support York’s global initiatives by connecting international and exchange students and scholars to the library’s collections, services, and programs.

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Building unique partnerships for the greater good

Mobilize YUL’s expertise and leadership to foster purposeful partnerships that benefit the institution, broaden outreach, and build community.

  • Partner with the President’s Sustainability Office to advance sustainable practices at YUL including planning and actualizing green library spaces.
  • Enhance the profile of York University Libraries as a home for nurturing community-building and the UN (United Nations) sustainable development goals (SDG) initiative developments through our spaces and unique expertise.
  • Establish reciprocal partnerships with faculty, community organizations, and local industry to develop experiential learning opportunities for students and provide them with access to current technologies and tools.
  • Centre sustainability and excellence as core values in planning and delivering library services to faculties, schools, and departments.

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YUL rises to the university-wide
challenge to contribute to
UN sustainable development
goals (SDGs)

Identify, prioritize, and collaborate with key
partners to develop and engage with York’s
evolving SDG activities.

  • Develop a framework for creating sustainable interdisciplinar partnerships that support SDG goals and initiatives.
  • Collaborate with faculty to enhance the visibility and impact of research emerging from SDG initiatives.
  • Drawing upon library expertise, identify and develop library-led curriculum integration opportunities that align with SDGs

Casita Azul is well-positioned to make an impact by drawing upon existing expertise that centres on York University Libraries’ strategic themes of fostering global fluencies and building unique partnerships for the greater good.

-- Dana Craig
Director, Student Learning & Academic Success, York University Libraries and Casita Azul Library Project

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YUL belong here

Embed Equity, Diversity, Inclusivity, and Belonging into YUL culture in order to foster the development and well-being of everyone at York University Libraries.

  • Make significant strides in implementing the Library’s EDIB strategy and operationalizing it.
  • Develop supports for students and scholars in concert with the University’s Indigenous and anti-Black racism strategy.
  • Work with York’s Division of Equity, People, and Culture to align YUL efforts with its core goal of nurturing connection, inclusion, and wellbeing.

Libraries have always been a hub for gathering, preserving, and providing opportunities to interact and create new knowledge on emerging topics that require innovative and collaborative approaches. In particular, the libraries, with expertise and collections in diverse areas, provide the necessary social networks and intellectual connections to examine information and racial biases against various axes of difference, such as gender, ethnicity, nationality, religion, history, migration, media and diasporas– each taken as critical arenas in understanding how disinformation affects Canada’s vulnerable groups, including marginalized, minority, and indigenous communities.

Jack Leong
Associate Dean, Research and Open Scholarship, York University Libraries

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York Libraries EDIB

Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging (EDIB) - York University Libraries

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