Skip to main content
SSU ship logo and 'Salem State University' text
Frederick E. Berry Library and Learning Commons

About the Library

Strategic Plan 2019-2022

Vision Statement

The Frederick E. Berry Library is the hub of intellectual exploration, knowledge creation, and community engagement at Salem State. The Library provides high quality, nimble, and innovative services in a welcoming, comfortable, and vibrant physical environment that encourages diversity, excellence, and continued growth.


Mission Statement

Berry Library advances academic excellence and empowers student success at Salem State University by providing informed expertise and teaching the effective use and critical evaluation of information and archival resources. Through a commitment to developing a broad range of collections and partnerships, we facilitate access to information and preserving local and regional history that promotes lifelong learning for students, faculty, staff, and the public we serve.


Six Core Values

  1. Collaboration: Through collaboration and teamwork, we create programs and services that advance learning and scholarship. By proactively identifying opportunities with our faculty, campus leaders, students, and members of our local community, we deliver better service, value, and outcomes for the users of Berry Library. 
  2. Openness & Access: Openness and access are foundational concepts for Berry Library. We champion accessibility in all forms, from freely available digitized facsimiles of 19th-century material to onsite accessible/assistive technology. 
  3. Diversity and Equity: Berry Library strives to create an inclusive and welcoming environment. We promote diversity and equity through access and in our approaches to developing collections, hiring staff, and creating programs for both Salem State and our local communities. 
  4. Information Literacy & Critical Thinking: In an age of controversy and contested truth, the role of libraries as champions of informed inquiry is more important than ever. By teaching students skills that enable them to search for information effectively, develop their critical perspectives, and participate in civil discourse, we build modes of thinking essential to student success and civic engagement.
  5. Lifelong Learning: Berry Library supports lifelong learning by providing access to formal and informal learning opportunities for the whole SSU community and beyond. This will enable lifelong development of knowledge, skills, and abilities for career enhancement, academic success, and personal fulfillment.
  6. Student-Centered Education: Berry Library focuses on the needs of students, listening carefully to their concerns and perspectives. Helping students succeed in their educational pursuits is our primary goal. We create spaces where students can thrive as independent researchers and scholars. We empower students to seek their own best outcomes.


Five Strategic Priorities

Priority 1: Advance academic excellence to increase student engagement


  1. Partner with SGA and SSU Program Council on events designed to raise awareness among students of the value and services provided by the library.
  2. Evaluate and implement initiatives to reduce student costs for textbooks and course materials in collaboration with key partners.
  3. Guide faculty in incorporating library materials and open educational resources in instruction and course design.
  4. Increase programs and lectures in the library focusing on subjects of interest to students.
  5. Develop online tutorials and other online self-help for learning information literacy skills.
Priority 2: Evaluate and enhance collections to meet needs of students, faculty, and the wider community


  1. Develop and  implement methods to document collections use.
  2. Develop protocols to assess serial e-resources (databases and journal titles) for potential cancellation.
  3. Develop a plan for weeding the print book collection.
  4. Create Collection Development Plans for overall library collection and for each subject area and establish procedures for collections activities including acquisition decisions and others.
  5. Develop and implement procedures for both cancelling subscriptions and considering new subscriptions of e-resources.
  6. Review and streamline book ordering and acquisition processes.
  7. Compile list of expected dates for departmental accreditations and program reviews requiring library collections data, and create archive of past such reports.


Priority 3: Foster and promote digital scholarship to help faculty and students achieve their fullest potential and showcase their work to the world


  1. Increase amount of scholarship represented in the institutional repository from faculty members.
  2. Hold info sessions and workshops for faculty to educate and assist in preparing material for repository.
  3. Partner with CRCA in planning and running Research Day events and develop outreach workflows for coordinating with students & faculty to deposit work in repository.
  4. Establish a Digital Scholarship Center at Salem State.
  5. Increase staff and resources dedicated to supporting digital scholarship.


Priority 4: Develop collaborations and proactively pursue opportunities that strengthen community engagement and financial vitality


  1. Investigate potential new partnerships with academic library consortia.
  2. Increase engagement with community through strategic growth of special collections and archival materials that are relevant to the social, cultural, and political history of Salem and Essex County.
  3. Partner with Salem Public Library to host events marketed to the Salem Community, particularly residents of South Salem.
  4. Investigate alternatives methods for fundraising, such as GoFundMe for specific projects.


Priority 5: Build a collaborative and flexible staff that is positioned to meet opportunities and challenges


  1. Identify needed skills, knowledge, and learning opportunities.
  2. Create and implement a library-wide plan for career development and training.
  3. Provide the development and training support necessary for each person to be successful in their position.
  4. Create a vital and effective organization by fostering respect, trust, collaboration, teamwork, and better communication.
  5. Evaluate existing organizational structure and consider other structures that may help us meet challenges and opportunities.
  6. Develop transparent, flexible, and proactive decision-making practices.
  7. Assess library workloads and revise job descriptions to match work.


Strategic Planning Working Group Membership

Beth Bower, former Chief of Staff, Salem State University
Renee Dempsey, Executive Assistant to the Director
Debra Heerter, Library Assistant III
Elizabeth McKeigue (chair), Dean and Executive Director of the Library
Roopika Risam, Associate Professor of English
Justin Snow, Digital Initiatives Librarian
Peter Urkowitz, Library Assistant III
Carol Zoppel, Research and Instruction Librarian

The group met regularly in Spring 2018. Several focus groups were held with librarians and library staff. The library director held private consultation with each m A brief survey on expectations for library services was administered to students entering the library in late spring. Group members interviewed selected faculty for feedback. Members consulted other university administrators. The plan was finalized at the beginning of Spring 2019.