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Charles W. Chesnutt Library

LibraryUNC Vision

UNC Vision

Working together for Excellence: A Vision for the Libraries of the Campuses of The University of North Carolina June 1996

The State of North Carolina has a proud tradition of support for its system of higher education and is recognized on the national level for its leadership in the implementation of library automation systems as well as telecommunication technologies such as the NCIH. Building upon this tradition, the libraries of the university of North Carolina aspire to enhance the delivery of information services for the students and faculty at each campus by providing effective access to core level materials regardless of location or time through traditional and non-traditional means. Within the scope of their missions, the libraries will assist the diverse educational communities in the state, such as the community colleges, citizens, and, businesses with their information needs. By achieving this vision, the libraries strengthen the mission of the University of North Carolina and the quality of its instructional and research programs in a cost effective manner and contribute to the economic development of the state..

For many years the libraries within the University system have cooperated with one another in various ways to serve the information needs of faculty, students, and citizens. Building upon past success and support for library technology from the General Assembly, the University Library Advisory Council envisions significantly more programs of cooperation within the next five years. Working together and with assistance from the General Administration when required, the Council desires to accomplish the goals set forth below to make the UNC system a national model in providing all members, of the university community with seamless, timely, and effective access to information regardless of campus or state location.


The libraries of the 16 constituent institutions of the University of North Carolina have a long history of resource sharing and cooperative projects. Among these activities are:

  • Cooperative lending agreements that extend system-wide, direct borrowing privileges to students, faculty and staff of the constituent institutions.
  • Priority Interlibrary Loans at no cost for books, and in most instances, no cost for photocopies.
  • Coordinated Implementation of online catalog systems with the result that there is system-wide bibliographic access to collections of all campus libraries.
  • Joint development of budget proposals for collections and systems through the University Library Advisory Council (ULAC).
  • Negotiation for joint licensing of proprietary databases.
  • The operation of regional networks such as the Triangle Research Libraries Network, the Western North Carolina Library Network, and nodes of cooperation among schools located in geographic areas of the state. These libraries participate in cooperative collection development, share resources, and provide document delivery services, in some instances.
  • Developing and promoting system-wide positions on operational issues such as binding standards and staff classification systems.


  • To ensure universal access to the collections of UNC libraries and information service for every student and faculty member in the University of North Carolina regardless of geographic location or size of institution, or whether instruction is provided on campus or from a distance education delivery site.
  • To improve information services through increased resource sharing among University System libraries, thus providing a greater return on investment.
  • To provide an information infrastructure so that all students in the University system, whether on each campus or at distance learning sites, can be better prepared to function in an information society.
  • To enhance the quality of teaching, research, and service by providing worldwide information resources to all faculty.
  • To ensure that adequate network bandwidth is available to campuses to support library activities.
  • To enhance the reputation of the University of North Carolina as a national leader using technology in providing effective service to its students and faculty.


This proposal is comprised of both near term and long term objectives which support goals through the use of appropriate technology to share resources across all institutions in the University of North Carolina System. The extent to which some goals can be achieved will be dependent upon the availability of resources.

  • Provide electronic access to core academic journals. There is a core of heavily used journals essential to the undergraduate programs at each campus. The availability of these journals varies widely because of constraints on acquisitions budgets. A collection of core academic journal needs will be identified, acquired in electronic format, and made equally accessible to the students and faculty of all the campuses.
  • Complete the conversion of all catalog records to computer format. In order to facilitate locating and sharing library materials among the campus libraries, all printed catalogs must be converted to computer format. Many libraries in the System have fully converted their catalog records to computer format, but some have only partially completed the task because of the size of their collections or other factors beyond their control.
  • Support universal borrowing. All UNC students and faculty will have unimpeded access to materials held at any library. Universal borrowing to be effective requires a database of eligible borrowers, a courier service for books to be sent from one library to another, and a facsimile system for sharing copies of articles.
  • Facilitate sharing of research journals. Research journals are essential to university level institutions and to faculty conducting research throughout the University System. Students at all institutions deserve the opportunity to use these journals when involved in advanced projects. The libraries wish to provide a database of research journals (the specific number to be determined) that is accessible by students and faculty from all System campuses.
  • Provide electronic access to state census, economic, and other data. The data contained in the U.S. Census pertaining to North Carolina is of great potential use for research and instruction as well as for economic development, but the process of obtaining needed data can be very cumbersome and obsolete. On-line access from all System campuses to the electronic versions of the most recent census data for the state can facilitate the work of students and faculty.
  • Establish a unified statewide program for preservation and conservation of existing information resources in the university system libraries. North Carolina has a large investment in the collection resources housed in each of the System libraries. These collections are aging and deteriorating at an alarming rate. A coordinated program to preserve and conserve selected materials among the System libraries is necessary to ensure these items continue to be accessible and usable for future generations of North Carolina faculty, students, and residents.
  • Establish a strategically located remote storage facility for the long-term housing of lesser used materials. Even with the explosion of information in electronic format there is a continued expansion of print publications. Many of these items experience less use than others. To maximize the use of existing System libraries, a strategically located storage facility needs to be constructed where lesser used materials can be housed in the most environmentally sound conditions to ensure their long-term preservation as well as accessibility. This facility will permit a more efficient use of existing System library spare. A viable courier service between the 16 campuses must be in place to make this concept work effectively.
  • Facilitate the acquisition of needed publications for research and study. No library can acquire all of the materials needed by the students and faculty it serves. In order to maximize the continued development of collections among the libraries a program of cooperative collection development will be initiated.
  • Expand electronic access to the special collections held at the 16 libraries. Many of the campus libraries have unique holdings of original materials such as historical manuscripts and papers pertaining to the History and development of North Carolina. The libraries wish to digitize these and make them electronically available to students and faculty. To accomplish this requires a special project and additional funding.
  • Initiate a formal structure to bring together information specialists, technologists, networking services personnel, media specialists, instructional support staff, computer professionals, and staff/faculty who provide support to faculty and students pertaining to the utilization of networked information within the University of North Carolina.


  • The fundamental measure of the success of these goals will be their impact on UNC students and faculty. Building on library assessment measures already in place on each campus, both quantitative and qualitative evaluation will be used to test availability, ease of use, and satisfaction with the services.
  • As electronic sources become available to all faculty and students, usage figures will be monitored and recorded electronically. Usage figures will be analyzed in relation to data which has been gathered systematically by the libraries for twenty years.
  • Cost effectiveness is a key measure of success. Costs will be analyzed, especially on a per use basis, and compared to costs involved in more traditional ways of delivering library materials.

What can be accomplished with the context of available funding?

During the next three years, the libraries will initiate within resources available to them the following:

  1. Adopt and initiate procedures to further universal borrowing.
  2. Initiate joint collection development among designated libraries.
  3. Offer universal access to select electronic information sources or databases.
  4. Initiate consortia pricing arrangements and the sharing of electronic sources with as many vendors as possible.

Adopted by UNC 6 /14/96

A Constituent Institution of The University of North Carolina