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About our organization

MIT Libraries Vision, Mission, and Values

Adopted, September 2017

Our Vision

We envision a world where enduring, abundant, equitable, and meaningful access to information serves to empower and inspire humanity.

Our Mission

The MIT Libraries aspires to advance knowledge by providing a trusted foundation for the generation, dissemination, use, creative engagement with, and preservation of information, in support of the MIT mission and so that it can be brought to bear on the world’s great challenges and in the cause of social justice.

Our Values

How we pursue our mission is as important as the mission itself, thus our organization supports the core values of both the profession of librarianship and our parent institution, MIT. Our values ground both our strategic decisions and our operational approach: we aim to do great things, and to find joy and meaning in our work.

The MIT Libraries contribute to a better world …

With Openness and Transparency

  • We foster lifelong learning and openness among our staff, our colleagues, and the communities we serve.
  • We act with integrity to buttress liberty and democracy by protecting intellectual freedom and the right to privacy.
  • We aim to conduct ourselves with transparency and authenticity in all aspects of our work and organization.
  • We aim to work with others to identify collaborative solutions to community-wide challenges.
  • We aspire to promote rigorous scholarship and many diverse ways of knowing and creating to advance human understanding and well being.

Via Curiosity and Inquiry

  • We foster work that is creative, and that integrates mind, hand, and heart.
  • We welcome thoughtful risk taking and embrace both successes and failures as essential to learning.
  • We aim to solve hard problems and tackle grand challenges in our work and our profession.
  • We aspire to be a model for innovation and adaptation in research libraries and archives.

By pursuing Social Justice and an Ethic of Care

  • We foster deep respect and understanding for human beings inside and outside our organization and the communities in which they live; we approach our work and one another from an ethic of care.
  • We aim to provide equitable service to all people, regardless of race, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, disability, age, genetic information, veteran status, or national or ethnic origin.
  • We place special emphasis on services that are welcoming and inclusive of members of groups who are currently and/or have historically been marginalized or denied full participation in society.
  • We strive to promote many voices, and to reflect diversity of both knowledge itself and ways of knowing in our collections, and in our approach to information management and organization.
  • We aspire to leverage the work, values, and resources of libraries and archives as forces for social justice in our communities.

Our values statement is inspired by, and borrows from these sources: The report of the Institute-Wide Task Force on the Future of Libraries, the American Library Association’s Core Values of Librarianship, the Society of American Archivists Core Values Statement and Code of Ethics, the MIT ICEO’s report on Advancing a Respectful and Caring Community, the MIT Nondiscrimination Policy, Creating a social justice mindset: Diversity, inclusion, and social justice in the Collections Directorate of the MIT Libraries, Bethany Nowviskie’s Capacity Through Care, Virginia Held’s 2005 book The Ethics of Care, and Ben & Jerry’s Homemade Inc. Statement of Values.

Strategic priorities

As the MIT Libraries advance the recommendations of the Institute-wide Task Force on the Future of Libraries, we must prioritize the work needed to close the gap between our current and future resources, services and capacities. 

We will systematically shift the Libraries service portfolio, culture, and governance to align with our mission and vision, all of which are grounded in our values through these priorities.

To advance scholarship, research, and knowledge creation, in alignment with the MIT community’s needs, we will:

  • Reorient our service portfolio towards innovative approaches that support emerging digital forms of scholarship, teaching, and learning and provide essential resources and services to critically and effectively create, use, and share information
  • Leverage our resources, reputation, influence, and expertise to support and, where appropriate, lead, global collaborative efforts to create more open, equitable, accessible, and durable models and systems for information exchange;
  • Make scholarly content generated by MIT more open, accessible, and durable.
  • Optimize and upgrade all existing core systems and technical infrastructure to address technical debt and ensure the success and sustainability of an open content platform;
  • Continuously assess and adjust the service profile of library spaces to achieve an optimal balance among core functions of holdings, learning, community, and creating
  • Develop and articulate a research agenda aimed at defining, understanding, and solving grand challenges in information science and scholarly communication and establish a research initiative to advance this agenda
  • Equip, empower, and inspire staff to leverage their unique skills and interests, and to pursue new knowledge — individually and collectively — so all can effectively and meaningfully contribute

The vision expressed by the Future of Libraries Task Force reconceives the research library as an open global platform. Such a library does not yet exist, and the Task Force has challenged us to invent it. As we work to build a library of the future, we must also reimagine and reinvigorate core library functions, consider how best to use library spaces, and ensure that our new library serves the needs of all our communities. As such, the strategic priorities listed below are not meant to be a comprehensive list of the work we do or the services we provide; rather they articulate the areas of investment and focus that are most critical for enabling us to enact our new vision and mission.  Collaboration and continuous engagement with the communities we serve (at MIT and beyond), as well as critical use of data and other forms of evidence, will drive our decisions and our strategies.

Statement on diversity

The MIT Libraries is committed to supporting diversity, inclusion, and well-being within the communities we represent and serve. To that end, the Libraries seek to:

  • Promote and enhance the well-being of all our community members — especially students — by maintaining inclusive, safe, and welcoming spaces and by providing resources, services, and programs that promote and reflect diversity, inclusion, social justice, and wellness.
  • Increase the percentage of underrepresented minority (URM) staff in the Libraries.
  • Provide ongoing training and support for all library staff in developing cultural competencies.
  • Maintain strong relationships within the MIT community, especially with URM groups and programs, supporting their goals and valuing their opinions.
  • Be a leader within the library and archives communities to advocate for broader adoption and implementation of these goals.

Annual reports

For earlier reports, please request from the MIT Libraries Office of the Director.

Organizational membership

The MIT Libraries maintain membership in the following organizations:

  • ArchivesSpace
  • arXiv
  • Association of Research Libraries (ARL)
  • BioMed Central Ltd.
  • BitCurator
  • Boston Athenaeum
  • Coalition for Networked Information (CNI)
  • Coalition of Open access Policy Institutions (COAPI)
  • Coalition to Advance Learning in Archives, Libraries and Museums
  • Confederation of Open Access Repositories (COAR)
  • Cooperative Online Serials Program (CONSER)/Name Authority Cooperative Program (NACO)
  • Council on Library & Information Resources (CLIR)
  • Data Management Plan Tool (DMPTool)
  • Digital Preservation Coalition
  • Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ)
  • DSpace
  • Harvard MIT Data Center (IQSS)
  • Infrastructure Services for Open Access/Directory of Open Access Journals
  • International Image Interoperability Framework Consortium (IIIF)
  • Ivy Plus – Collections Initiatives & Borrow Direct
  • Natl Digital Stewardship Alliance (NDSA)
  • Northeast Research Libraries Consortium (NERL)
  • National Information Standards Organization (NISO)
  • Online Computer Library Center (OCLC)
  • Open Science Framework (OSF)
  • Portico
  • Research Data Alliance (RDA)
  • Royal Society Open Access Membership
  • Software Preservation Network (SPN)
  • Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC)
  • SocArXiv
  • TRAIL – Center for Research Libraries

Organizational chart

Union election

FAQs for Libraries’ employees regarding the upcoming election to determine if the American Federation of State Council and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) should become the exclusive representative for a specific group of library employees.

Surveys & assessment

Find information on the MIT Libraries Assessment Program and MIT Libraries Surveys.