Library Strategy

Students enjoying a lecture

Strategic Plan 2030

Founded in 1961, the University of Sussex Library is an important research library in the UK with exceptional services and internationally significant collections. Today the Library is far more than a building and a collection of printed materials. It plays a central role in the creation, publication, application and preservation of knowledge and research at our thriving University. As a crucial partner in the University’s learning and research agendas, the Library constantly seeks ways to be as closely connected as possible to the changing nature of the work of Schools to contribute fully to the enrichment of the lives of their students and the advancement of their research.

The Library is now entering a period of transformation, seeking to address changes to the educational and research landscape and embrace the opportunities offered by the accelerating digital shift. We continue in our transition to digital for our services and collections, ensuring our staff and users have the skills to work with the proliferation of tools and techniques which are revolutionising libraries as well as monitoring the shift to ensure that the creation of new digital collections are equitable, accessible and environmentally sustainable. 

The iconic main building remains a great resource and stunning representation of the library, though today, its digital presence and exceptional services are equally key to demonstrating its value for the University and its community. It is this digital shift and service-centred approach which will underpin the delivery of every part of this new Strategic Plan and through its implementation the Library will continue to confidently fulfil its role for new times and new generations.

What we will do:

Space and identity

We will embark on an ambitious Library and Study Environment Programme, co-designed with our users, to provide the services and a choice of spaces to inspire and showcase innovative learning and research practices. The main Library will be refurbished in parallel with the design and construction of a Library Pavilion as part of the University’s West Slope development.

The two buildings will complement each other to provide the services and spaces required for mid-21st century learning.


We will celebrate the value of our unique and distinct collections by developing and investing in discovery and preservation services that will deliver items openly for use and reuse where ever possible.

Service model

We will co-create an entrepreneurial service delivery model with students for our new Library Pavilion. The aim of which will be to offer users greater control over their new learning spaces alongside creating employment opportunities for our students to develop and work.  


We will fully engage with our community, staff and students to ensure investments in our supporting technical and physical infrastructure meet and exceed the University’s pedagogical and research requirements.


We will create a sector-leading and sustainable open infrastructure for research and education that will support our community in their cultural transition to Open Practice.


Our decision-making processes will be underpinned by our commitment to providing equitable access to our spaces and collections. We will ensure that our working processes are focussed on maximising inclusion and through the decolonisation of our collections and associated practices, we will challenge our preconceived ideas and develop our understanding of structural inequality.

How we will do it:

  1. We will seize opportunities offered by the digital shift to use new technology, continuously enhancing how we deliver our library services, spaces and collections. We will use technology to ensure our students and our staff are equipped to engage with new methods of learning and research.
  2. All of our student-centred work will feature the Student Voice; we will co-design our services with students and where possible, services for students delivered by students. 
  3. We will be fully aligned with strategies and contribute to the delivery of business plans of the Academic Schools and Professional Services Divisions.
  4. We will be a leader in open scholarship in the University and our wider sector. We will provide the sustainable infrastructure for open research and education that enables us to curate, preserve and disseminate the University’s outputs.
  5. Our libraries will become laboratories of knowledge, working with staff and students to offer inspiring and innovative spaces for them to learn and engage with each other in research.
  6. We will work with our wider academic library community (in particular RLUK) to collaborate on providing sustainable access to knowledge in the UK through initiatives around collective collections and joined up discovery systems.
  7. The Library will act as visible catalyst and space for civic engagement, providing accessible and inclusive spaces to engage with both the university and the wider community to connect with the research of the institution.
  8. We will enhance access to our unique and distinctive collections and lead our sector in areas such as discovery and data mining. We will open them out for use and reuse as far as possible to the wider community.
  9. We will embed environmental and operational sustainability in our physical and digital infrastructure. Understanding and reducing our carbon footprint and ensuring data-driven decision making for efficient operations and space management.

University values:

We will actively collaborate with students and staff to create and deliver the spaces, collections and services that they need in education and research. We will work together with partners and organisations that reflect our values to engage with our wider communities.

We will take a polite and kind approach to working with our colleagues and students ensuring everyone is treated fairly with dignity and respect.

We will demonstrate an inclusive approach to delivering accessible and sustainable resources and spaces for our community.

We will design and deliver our services with integrity, actively seeking input into our decision-making in order to enhance the learning experience of our students, the activities of our researchers and the engagement of our wider community.

We will have the courage to disrupt the conventional view of an academic library through innovative practice.

Library Leadership Team


We will deliver our strategic goals through a values-based approach. We are working to decolonise the Library. Our areas of activity in decolonising practices, collections and services are outlined in our Decolonisation Statement.

The mission of the Library is to help our students and staff have the best possible experience in their education and research.

Learn more about our Decolonisation Statement.


The Keep’s Strategic Plan 2021- 2026

The Keep partnership, East Sussex County Council, Brighton and Hove City Council and the University of Sussex, is committed to developing and promoting our joint vision of The Keep as an outstanding archive centre that is a positive and fulfilling place to work and to visit.

You can read more about our strategy on The Keep's Policy pages.


Our Content Strategy follows some essential principles. We are prioritising digital delivery, where available and appropriate, taking into account user behaviour and preference; participating in national collaborative initiatives to increase access to content for our users and to inform retention; and exploring and exploiting new and existing publishing and delivery models to ensure the most cost-effective and efficient approach. 

Discover more about our content and collections strategies on our Content Strategy pages.


Library Leadership Team  |  June 2022  |