As the University of Oxford aims to lead the world in research and education, so the Bodleian Libraries aim to support the University in its mission by providing a world-leading library service.

The mission of the Bodleian Libraries is to provide an excellent service to support the learning, teaching and research objectives of the University of Oxford; and to develop and maintain access to Oxford's unique collections for the benefit of scholarship and society.

Interim Strategy 2016-17

The current Strategy and Implementation Plan were developed in 2012 to run 2013-16. However, the University’s next Strategic Plan will take effect from 2017 and the Bodleian Libraries current Strategy has therefore been extended to July 2017 to bring the planning cycle in line with that of the University. In addition, the current financial situation has necessitated a prioritization of resource allocation and prompted a review of our current plan and a consequent re-prioritization exercise. Therefore, the Strategic Plan 2013-16 and Implementation Plan 2013-16 have been replaced by an Interim Strategy setting out the strategic priorities for 2016 and 2017.

Download PDF version of the Interim Strategy 2016-17 here.

The Interim Strategy contains three themes and is underpinned by four enabling strategies:

Theme 1: support for research

1.1  Provide a robust, fit-for-purpose and user-friendly institutional repository that enables compliance with funder mandates on Open Access and the HEFCE Open Access policy for the next REF; provide a streamlined payment services for article processing charges and a support and advice service to researchers, Departments, Divisions and the University.

1.2  Make similar improvements to the institutional repository to support the management, access and re-use of research datasets, including compliance with funder mandates; and a support and advice service to researchers in partnership with Research Services and IT Services.

1.3  Develop the Centre for Digital Scholarship as a hub to facilitate interdisciplinary innovation and engagement, and to define and disseminate emergent digital scholarship.

1.4  Make more of our undiscovered collections available for researchers through securing funds to catalogue unprocessed special collections.

1.5  Provide cost efficient access to relevant content.

1.6  Continue to implement new non-print Legal Deposit ingest streams.

1.7  Implement the results of the IT Capital-funded Resource Discovery scoping-project to improve the discoverability of University intellectual assets.

1.8  Implement the strategy for liaison with academic staff, students, and other library users concerning library provision for all subjects in the general and Special Collections.

1.9  Understand needs of readers and other users through a variety of methods, including aggregating formal and informal feedback from Faculties / Departments. Use this information to inform decision-making.

Theme 2: support for teaching & learning

2.1  Extend opening hours of libraries.

2.2  Increase digital content in support of reading lists.

2.3  Improve Document Delivery and Print/Copy/Scan services.

2.4  Make our spaces more physically accessible, in line with our obligations under The Equality Act 2010 and our commitment to the University’s Common Framework For Supporting Disabled Students.

2.5  Understand readers’ requirements for reading and research spaces, and feed such insights into the planning of library developments / re-developments.

2.6  Undertake a feasibility study on the future of the Radcliffe Science Library.

2.7  Develop a plan for a new Humanities Library building on the Radcliffe Observatory Quarter site in consultation with the Division.

2.8  Collaborate with the Social Sciences and Humanities Divisions to deliver a successful St Cross Building project.

Theme 3: public engagement

3.1  Implement the Bodleian Libraries Public Engagement Strategy.

3.2  Deliver existing externally-funded digitization and digital tools projects, specifically the Polonsky-funded Bodleian and Vatican collaboration, and the Mellon funded digital manuscripts toolkit.

3.3  Continue to bring more digitised resources into Digital.Bodleian and develop a plan for the sustainability of this key digital public engagement channel.

3.4  Implement an external communication strategy to improve communication with readers, stakeholders, and university staff.

3.5  Work in collaboration with others in GLAM on mutually beneficial projects, such as audience-development planning and the Ticketing project.

Enabling strategy 1: implement the digital shift

4.1  Review the management and co-ordination of and pricing for our digital research portfolio.

4.2  Implement the Imaging Service’s infrastructure review.

4.3  Produce a strategy and consequent planning documentation (e.g. funding bid; business case) for the management of born digital archives and manuscripts.

4.4  Implement the Polonsky-funded digital preservation programme in partnership with Cambridge University Library.

4.5  Review our legacy digital applications and make recommendations for significantly rationalising the range of web-based applications we support.

4.6 Establish a sustainable staffing plan and cost/funding models for digital services and initiatives.

Enabling strategy 2: effective budget management

5.1  Grow the Endowment by £6m per annum.

5.2  Grow net revenue for commercial operations by 10%.

5.3  Launch a commercial picture library.

5.4  Achieve matched funding for the Heritage Lottery Fund ‘Skills for the Future’ scheme.

5.5  Review all staffing levels in order to meet budget constraints.

5.6  Streamline service provision to increase efficiency.

Enabling strategy 3: supporting staff knowledge, training and communication

6.1  Using the toolkit provided by staff development, identify areas for skills development to enable staff to contribute to digital operations work and the Digital Shift.

6.2  Implement the internal communication strategy to cascade internal information to all Bodleian Libraries staff to keep them informed.

6.3  Work with the Division to promote shared service opportunities across GLAM.

6.4  Survey all staff in the Bodleian Libraries to determine their perceptions on the organisational climate.

Enabling strategy 4: make effective and efficient use of the Libraries’ estate

7.1  Enact moves of staff to allow for more efficient and effective utilisation of the space vacated by the occupation of the Weston.

Developing a new Strategic Plan

The strategy will be developed through a dialogue with our community. It will serve as an articulation of our priorities; a guide to strategic decision-making for Bodleian Libraries management; and an expression of our special place in the world of education, research support and cultural heritage.

The 2017-22 Bodleian Libraries Strategy will cover the same timescale as the University Strategy and will take the same areas of focus. The strategy will embody our vision for the Bodleian Libraries, indicate how we will meet the challenges we face over this period and will include some longer-term, aspirational goals.

We envisage the strategy document to be the end result of wide-ranging consultation and engagement with our stakeholders about the evolving environment we operate within, the challenges we face in the immediate future, and what our priorities should be to make best use of our available resources. Therefore, the process of developing the next Strategy mainly constitutes ways of engaging with stakeholders and gathering the information they tell us. This will take advantage of existing channels of communication and engagement, and the re-mining of existing data, as well as a number of special events dedicated to strategic planning.

Previous Strategy


We welcome feedback. Please pass any comments to your Faculty, Departmental or Divisional Committee on Library Provision and Strategy (CLiPS), or email

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