Northwestern Libraries are administered by the Dean of Libraries, the Deputy University Librarian, and the Libraries’ Executive Team.
The Dean of Libraries reports to the Provost. The Provost and the Dean are advised by two consultative bodies, the University Library Committee and the Library Board of Governors. The Dean of Libraries also oversees the Northwestern University Press, as a separate organization.
The mission of Northwestern University Libraries is to provide information resources and services of the highest quality to sustain and enhance the University’s teaching, research, professional, and performance programs. The Libraries provide a setting conducive to independent learning and a resource for users both within the Libraries and throughout the University and broader scholarly communities. We are committed to meeting the needs of users by taking a leadership role in linking the University to information in a rapidly changing environment. The Libraries develop innovative strategies to educate users and to select, organize, provide access to, and preserve information resources. We forge effective partnerships outside the Libraries to connect users with the resources they need.
Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Access Strategic Plan
In January 2021, the Libraries convened a group of staff from across the organization to formulate ways the organization could measurably improve its efforts to be a more diverse, equitable, inclusive, and accessible organization. That group’s work has resulted in the Northwestern University Libraries’ DEIA Strategic Plan. This plan will be implemented by groups and individuals across the organization and will be fostered and monitored by the Director of Organizational Development and Diversity, the Libraries Executive Team, and the DEIA Planning Group.
To read more about ongoing DEIA initiatives at the Libraries and University Press and get involved, please visit Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Accessibility at the Libraries.
Northwestern University Libraries are a learning organization committed to creative solutions which meet rapidly changing user needs. Our spaces, services, and operations encourage learning and growth. We build assessment into our plans and embrace failure to advance innovation. We learn from and engage the Northwestern community extending beyond our library walls.
Our values are aspirational and will be achieved through our combined efforts. These values describe how we intend to operate, on a day-by-day basis, as we pursue our organizational vision and mission. Our community is inclusive of the staff of both the Libraries and the University Press, Northwestern-affiliated persons, and the international communities of Libraries' users and Press authors and readers, scholarly and professional colleagues, and alumni across the globe.
Centering users - We place our user communities at the center of decision-making processes and strive to achieve a balance between pragmatism and idealism.
Collaboration - We value access to information to empower collaborative decision making and participation in meaningful work.
Curiosity - We value curiosity and support its expression through learning, experimentation, flexibility, and growth by all members of our communities.
Integrity - We value clear intentions and shared understanding. We aspire to perform all our work in an open and honest environment with deep empathy for colleagues and users.
Personal responsibility - We value taking ownership of one’s work, and understand that we are responsible to ourselves, to others and to the organization. We know that the perspectives and expertise of individuals at all levels of the organization are critical to problem solving and decision making.
Respect - We respect all community members, which drives our commitment to diversity, equity, inclusivity, accessibility and anti-racist spaces, collections, policies, and services.
A look at the work of Northwestern University Libraries in the last academic year (20-21), told not by numbers, but by stories of real impact on our students and research community. Read the report.
The Northwestern University Libraries create and adhere a wide range of policies to provide the highest quality information resources and services. Access our policies.
Boards and committees
The Libraries rely on boards and committees to help make advisory decisions regarding library policies, and to advocate for the Libraries within the Northwestern community. Visit the links below for a mission statement and current roster of each: