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The ARL 2030 Scenario Set Released with User’s Guide

Posted by Editor on October 19, 2010

For immediate release:
October 19, 2010

For more information, contact:
Karla Strieb
Association of Research Libraries

Washington DC—The Association of Research Libraries (ARL) has released The ARL 2030 Scenarios: A User’s Guide for Research Libraries. The package, which contains the “ARL 2030 Scenario Set” and an accompanying user’s guide, is the product of a project to promote visioning and scanning activities among research libraries. ARL’s “Envisioning Research Library Futures: A Scenario Thinking Project” employed a scenario planning process to develop four scenarios for 2030, which answered the question, “How do we transform our organization(s) to create differential value for future users (individuals, institutions, and beyond), given the external dynamics redefining the research environment over the next 20 years?”

The “ARL 2030 Scenario Set” is a rich description of four possible futures. Each future scenario presents a particular exploration of many critical uncertainties in a way that considers the dynamics that might unfold over a twenty-year time frame, as well as synergies and interactions between uncertainties. As a set, the four scenarios are designed to tell widely divergent stories to explore a broad range of possible developments over time.

The “ARL 2030 Scenario Set” was developed for ARL members to use to enhance organizational planning for their local institutional setting. The scenarios were created by representatives from member institutions to ensure their usefulness to ARL members seeking to engage in a rich strategic conversation on the futures of research libraries.

In addition to the scenario set, the guide identifies several strategic implications of the scenarios for research libraries, and also provides extensive resources for library leaders, planners, and facilitators to help them use the scenarios for visioning and planning. The guide includes seven designs for workshops and two sample process maps that illustrate integrating scenario planning into an ongoing strategic planning process.

As ARL Executive Director Charles B. Lowry states, “The scenarios push your attention away from the false security of prediction to a balanced consideration of risk. They open largely unexplored avenues that can lead libraries to strategic change.”

Further resources, including a discussion list and information about a webcast scheduled for November 4, 2010, are available from the project website at  The Guide is here–


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