Strategic Plan

Strategic Directions May 2016 to May 2019

CARL—the Canadian Association of Research Libraries—is the leadership organization for the Canadian research library community.


CARL provides leadership on behalf of Canada's research libraries and enhances capacity to advance research and higher education. It promotes effective and sustainable knowledge creation, dissemination, and preservation, and public policy that enables broad access to scholarly information.

Strategic Directions

In a research, teaching and learning landscape characterized by transformative technological and socio-economic change, Canadian research libraries are adopting innovative strategies for creating, acquiring, preserving, and sharing knowledge. CARL represents and actively supports the new and expanded roles for research libraries identified by its members. Specifically, CARL advances the research enterprise, strengthens libraries' collective resource capacity, ensures that the contributions of libraries are both evident and continually evolving, and articulates and advocates for a policy environment that fosters and preserves access to scholarship and knowledge. In pursuing its goals, CARL engages in collaborations within Canada and on an international basis.

1. Advancing Research

Canada's research libraries play pivotal roles in the creation and long-term stewardship of the scholarship produced at universities—whether new faculty publications or the research data upon which new scholarship is built. They also provide access for students, faculty, and researchers to the world's information resources. CARL supports the critical enabling role of libraries in research and scholarship.

  • 1.1. Lead, develop, and deploy research data management initiatives.
  • 1.2. Foster new knowledge creation and sustainable scholarly communication, including open access, and foster the role of the library in publishing.
  • 1.3. Facilitate collaborations to create, acquire, share, and preserve Canada's research resources.

2. Strengthening Capacity

As changes in research, teaching, and learning continue to accelerate, Canada's research libraries are evolving to include a wider variety of expertise and professional backgrounds in their workforce. CARL provides a forum to explore and advance leadership and workforce development so that its member libraries are leaders within their institutions.

  • 2.1. Foster development of expertise and capacity for new and emerging roles.
  • 2.2. Support workforce development and renewal through initiatives relating to strategic recruitment, leadership and management development, and diversity.

3. Measuring Impact

CARL supports assessment within and across Canadian research libraries that demonstrates their valuable contributions toward higher education and the research enterprise and facilitates the continuing evolution of services.

  • 3.1. In collaboration with other bodies engaged in assessment campus-wide, develop new indicators and approaches to demonstrate library value and impact on research, teaching, and learning.
  • 3.2. Support and facilitate an ongoing program of library assessment on a pan-Canadian basis, and encourage the use of such evidence to strengthen the profile and services of libraries.

4. Influencing policy

CARL is a major national voice for the interests of the academic community and its libraries in a balanced and fair approach to copyright, and on other information policy issues including access to information, privacy, intellectual freedom, and open government. In this role it collaborates with other organizations across the culture and research sectors, as well as with the Association of Research Libraries (ARL), the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA), and other international associations.

  • 4.1. Represent the interests of Canadian research libraries in the information policy arena, especially at the federal level, with particular focus in the areas of copyright, privacy, and research infrastructure that leads to broad access and sound management of Canada's information assets.
  • 4.2. Strengthen and mobilize national initiatives across the library and research sectors to advance common policy objectives.
  • 4.3. Engage with multiple organizations to foster national and international collaborations.

Read the PDF version of our Strategic Directions