FY 2024 | Fall Semester

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Heard Libraries' FY 2024 Impact
Fall Semester Report

This fall, the Jean and Alexander Heard Libraries have undertaken an array of deliberate projects that build on university initiatives and library goals: original exhibitions, programs and events that celebrate Vanderbilt’s Sesquicentennial; a new Geographic Information Systems Lab at Peabody Library that strengthens Discovery Vanderbilt research; and efforts that demonstrate our digital preservation expertise on a global level, including hosting our inaugural Cultural Heritage Preservation Summit and being elected as one of only six full members from the U.S. to the prestigious U.K.-based Digital Preservation Coalition.

Law Library

Study spaces, including those on the main floor of the Alyne Queener Massey Law Library, pictured here, were in high demand across the libraries this semester. (Photo by Igolo Ohalete, Buchanan Library Fellow, Fall 2023)

Meanwhile, we have continued to foster partnerships and engage in radical collaboration with multiple stakeholders, such as the National Museum of African American Music and Amazon Web Services, to explore creative and innovative ways of strengthening teaching, learning and research on campus and beyond.

This report not only highlights many of these projects but also measures the outcomes of the strategic objectives that drive them. At the Heard Libraries, our systemwide assessment program serves as an organizational compass, and we rely on its evidence-based approach to ensure that we are serving the needs of the Vanderbilt community as effectively as possible. The following five charts measure key aspects of our objectives—instruction and outreach, research consultations, space usage, information resource interactions, and our staff’s sense of belonging—while providing benchmarks for us to evaluate ourselves against in the months ahead. In subsequent reports, we will update these charts and present a longitudinal view of our progress as we strive to catalyze intellectual discovery, disseminate knowledge and preserve cultural memory.

We remain grateful to the Vanderbilt community for its support and look forward to sharing future updates as we dare to grow, together.

Jon Shaw
University Librarian
Measuring Our Success

Measuring Our Outcomes


Total Curricular, Co-Curricular and Outreach Engagements

The more than 1,000 sessions highlighted in this graphic encompass our extensive course-integrated and interdisciplinary instruction offerings, as well as library-sponsored events aimed at Vanderbilt students, faculty, staff, alumni, and others in the Nashville community.


Research, Digital and Course Support by School

The libraries’ growing importance as a hub within Vanderbilt’s academic enterprise is indicated by the roughly 5,500 consultations in this chart, representing the broad research support we offer to scholars across campus—from assistance with database searches to Digital Lab-sponsored workshops to help with GIS software applications, among many other examples.


Relative Use and Capacity of Library Spaces

The headcount of nearly 620,000 visitors—a more than 10 percent increase compared to the previous semester—reflects the libraries’ ongoing efforts to maximize usage of our spaces, including creating more inviting study areas and classrooms for our students’ and faculty’s benefit, as well as hosting a variety of engaging events and exhibitions that appeal to broad audiences.


Total Database Searches and E-Book/Journal Requests

The 6.6 million interactions highlighted in this graphic demonstrate the libraries’ commitment to expanding information access, whether through initiatives to digitally preserve our archives and collections or via transformative agreements with leading publishers that bolster learning and research.


Average Employee Response to Sense of Belonging

The Heard Libraries are continuously building a culture of belonging, and this is reflected in various initiatives aimed at creating community both within the libraries and across Vanderbilt as a whole. These initiatives include our commitments to hosting in-person all-staff meetings every month, inviting staff to regular open office hours with University Librarian Jon Shaw, holding ongoing leadership listening sessions with individual library units, and creating transparency around library committee and task force activities by providing full access to their reports. As part of our robust assessment efforts, the libraries intend to work in coordination with the Staff Experience Survey administered by HR and provide a regular supplemental survey to our employees on questions of belonging. Those outcomes will be measured in subsequent reports.

The 3.8 score—an average of library employee responses, on a scale of 1 to 5, to a series of questions that gauge feelings of belonging—provides a baseline for us to measure progress in this crucial area.

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Telling Our Stories

Our work at the Heard Libraries is framed by four strategic objectives:

Bolster faculty research and deepen engagement with student experiential learning.

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

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

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

These objectives are integral to the stories we tell.

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