Mission, Values, and Priorities

Our Mission 

The Amherst College Library partners in teaching, learning, and research by providing and advocating for equitable access to information, promoting free expression, and building community. We aim to provide inclusive and responsive services, resources, and spaces that reflect these commitments. 

Adopted August 2023

Our Values


As library workers, we are charged with the acquisition, description, discovery, and preservation of both current and historical information that meets the teaching and research needs of the Amherst College community and the larger world. We promote equity of access to information, support free expression, and work to advance a more just society. We are part of a profession that regularly reflects on its core values and how they apply in a changing world. In its Core Values of Librarianship, the American Library Association has articulated the many values that uphold the work we do, which include access, confidentiality/privacy, democracy, diversity, education and lifelong learning, intellectual freedom, preservation, the public good, professionalism, service, social responsibility, and sustainability. In addition to supporting and promoting those values, the staff of the Amherst College Library are guided by these additional values, both personal and professional, that shape how we approach our work. Developed through a collaborative and iterative process, this statement of values represents our aspirations for the community we aim to be.

Communication and Transparency 

As information specialists, we are acutely aware of the importance of clear, reliable, and accurate communication. 

  • In both our internal and external communications, we aim to demonstrate transparency that builds community understanding for the “why” as well as the “what” of library practices and policies. 
  • We embrace accessible technologies and practices that facilitate clear channels for feedback and two-way communication among library users and staff.

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility 

As a library, we are dedicated to the ideals of justice and solidarity that are central to the pursuit of a more equitable world. 

  • We aim to provide resources, services, and spaces that are accessible to all people, regardless of their race, color, ethnicity, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, ability, age, size, socioeconomic status, or national origin. 
  • We provide resources, services, and spaces that are welcoming and inclusive, promoting the voices of members of groups who are currently and/or have historically been marginalized or denied full participation in society.
  • We strive to reflect the diversity of knowledge, experience, and ways of knowing in our collections.

Integrity and Compassion 

We commit to build an atmosphere of integrity and compassion in which all members of the community are valued and have the opportunity to learn and grow.

  • We approach our work and each other with respect, kindness, and compassion, recognizing the humanity and dignity of all people, and attending to the emotional, physical, and holistic dimensions of research and access. 
  • We respect library users’ privacy and rights of access, and bring to each interaction the highest level of ethical conduct.

Collaboration and Creativity

We are most successful in reaching our common goals when we imagine, think, and work together.

  • We strive to create a positive, collaborative environment for all who work in and with the library and access its physical and digital services, resources, and spaces.
  • We encourage joy, imagination, and serendipity in all endeavors, for and with staff, students, faculty, and community groups.
  • We foster and make space for creative freedom and innovation, giving academic and creative modes of practice equal weight.

Stewardship and Sustainability

We take seriously our role as stewards who produce, collect, manage, and provide library and archival materials, using sustainable practices in our work.

  • We affirm that the long-term holistic support of staff and library users is essential to ensuring that collections and services are available to future generations.
  • We foster and maintain close partnerships with our campus and community stakeholders in support of our long-term mission.
  • We commit to developing practices and workflows that are environmentally sound, socially equitable, and economically feasible.

Workplace Well-being 

We want to be able to bring our best selves to our work.

  • We use professional judgment to articulate our needs and boundaries, with the flexibility and autonomy to help determine priorities.
  • We believe the library should foster workplace well-being through the adoption of workloads that respect the boundaries of personal and professional life.


These values will guide us as we develop and revise our policies and procedures. We know that there will be times when we fall short of embodying these aspirational values, but we pledge to address our shortcomings as they happen and continue to work towards fully integrating these values into our shared community.

Adopted October 2022

Our Priorities (2023-24)

To guide our decision-making and allocation of resources, both human and financial, the library has adopted the following priorities for the 2023-24 academic year:

  • Enhance the student worker experience through additional opportunities for professional development and community building
  • Building mutually meaningful partnerships with local community organizations, including a deepening of the relationship with the Jones Library and continuing the development of relationships with Native communities in the Northeast
  • Improving the employee experience for library staff through continued efforts on enhancing transparency through the development of clear policies and procedures, encouraging participation in governance through the recently established (Spring 2022) Library Leadership Council, improving the library’s climate through a partnership with the Center for Restorative Practices, and continued implementation of the library’s action plan for increasing staff diversity through inclusive hiring and retention practices
  • Improve the library website’s functionality through the successful completion of the search for a new Library Web Services Manager to lead an inclusive redesign and update of the site with active engagement and support of staff
  • Use the continuing discussions around workload to assess capacity, identify and address backlogs, and prioritize core functions