Vanderbilt's Jean and Alexander Heard Libraries are entering an auspicious era as the university accelerates advancements in research, student learning and global service, strengthening Vanderbilt as a destination for growth, renewal, and free expression of ideas and discourse. Aligned fully with the university as one Vanderbilt, the Heard Libraries’ strategic plan builds on the foundation of Discovery Vanderbilt, Destination Vanderbilt and Opportunity Vanderbilt as an organizational compass concertedly guiding the libraries into the future as we continue to Dare to Grow.

Vanderbilt Libraries Mission Statement


Vanderbilt's Heard Libraries is a preeminent, academic research library system that acquires, preserves and makes accessible the world's information and engenders a community of collaboration, adaptability and innovation to address deep inquiry and challenges facing all of humanity.



The Heard Libraries will be a leader, partner and ally in propelling knowledge to address the challenges and opportunities of a rapidly changing world.


Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Accessibility

Modern librarianship adheres to an essential set of core values that include freedom of speech, promotion of diversity, and recognition of our social responsibility to inform and educate for progress. As our mission statement makes clear, we want to be part of the effort to improve or solve the critical problems of our society. Libraries nurture and inspire the next generation of leaders in America—leaders who will do better, be better and take us to a better place.

We recognize the challenges and we commit to furthering the mission of the Vanderbilt Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion to create an equitable, diverse, inclusive, and accessible educational environment both on campus and off. The libraries are dedicated to challenging and dismantling systemic oppression by acknowledging our shortfalls and recognizing that inequalities in higher education are pervasive and continue to hinder access to information and impede scholarship.



The Vanderbilt Way

We embrace continuous learning, knowing that permanent growth improves our work and our own human potential.


We believe that the highest purpose of research and learning can only be achieved when all are welcome to participate.


We pursue opportunities to catalyze knowledge through new services, resources and partnerships.


We are a home for research, a neutral ground to further collaboration, communication and respect.


These core values—the Vanderbilt Way, belonging, adaptability and free expression—guide the libraries in our work to elevate the role of research and advance the university mission.


The libraries’ four strategies lattice and enrich the university's initiatives:

Bolster faculty research and deepen engagement with student experiential learning

Embed librarians at critical points in the research and teaching lifecycle at Vanderbilt to offer proactive and integrated provision of collections, expertise and services.

Promulgate extensible models for librarians as research collaborators, co-authors, team-based partners and contributors to curricula and other programs.

Build strategic collections for current research and pedagogical needs while actively contributing to the global scholarship of tomorrow.

Integrate knowledge discovery through our physical and virtual services and staff activities

Remove structural and technological barriers to research and knowledge to enhance access, discovery, innovation and productivity.

Frame our endeavors to inspire meaningful and critical engagement with the Vanderbilt community, local cultural heritage and the global community.

Develop diverse partnerships, improve workflows and expand interfaces to open Vanderbilt scholarship to local, national and international constituencies.

Partner with faculty to make the libraries a locus for interdisciplinary and trans-institutional initiatives

Generate new models for collaborative scholarship, digital projects, interdisciplinary research and pedagogical learning spaces.

Partner in the creation of new knowledge in the classroom, the lab and library spaces using digital pedagogy, archival collections and enhanced informational resources.

Construct new learning, study and event spaces to unlock the work of research, innovation and entrepreneurial scholarship, intersecting with broader campus initiatives.

Engage locally, regionally and globally in creating access, disseminating knowledge and preserving cultural memory

Expand global impact through intentional and consequential engagements with institutions, individuals and communities.

Promote information equity by opening scholarship and resources to expansive publics.

Protect the legacy of the world's cultural heritage by building and safeguarding collections with a focus on preservation, access and education.

Pursue effective and inclusive models for digital and material preservation and stewardship of collections.


We are committed to measuring the success of our Strategic Framework.