A note from Sarah Thomas on the role of the Library in the recently launched Harvard fundraising campaign.
September 24, 2013
There was much interest at the all-staff meeting in what the Library’s role in the Campaign will be. I attended the Campaign launch on Saturday evening and connected with several members of the Visiting Committee and other library supporters. If you click on the Campaign website, you will see that the first aspiration begins with the library as an illustration. The Campaign website is intended to be dynamic, which will allow us to update it often. In addition, we will be developing some Campaign literature which will showcase our aspirations. The most important things for us to do with regard to fundraising are:
- Identify compelling themes and activities which align with the overall Campaign aspirations
- Paint a portrait of libraries which encourages and inspires philanthropists to invest in our future
- Ensure we are working collaboratively with the faculties and schools to achieve the University’s highest priorities
- Nurture our existing friends and supporters and seek their continued backing
- Develop new relationships to extend our reach
We have the broad outlines of the areas for which we will solicit support. These are based on the strategic planning done earlier this spring and include:
- Building outstanding collections across the University according to a coordinated approach
- Providing the broadest possible access to information in all forms and from worldwide resources
- Innovating to offer leading-edge services
- Stewarding vulnerable and critical resources
- Developing and maintaining a skilled and expert staff with a passion for being the best
These will be integrated with the University’s six Campaign themes:
- Advancing the power of integrated knowledge
- Advancing Global Harvard
- Advancing innovation and hands-on discovery
- Advancing new approaches to teaching and learning
- Advancing meaning, values and creativity
- Attracting and supporting talent
The Library Leadership team will contribute ideas drawn from you that can be shaped into Campaign opportunities for giving.
The finale of the Campaign Launch on Saturday night was the conversion of the seats in the stadium into an IMAX-like theater onto which images of beautiful leather-bound books were projected. Each idea presented was depicted as a book being taken off the shelf and pages being turned. It was as if the whole campaign emanated from a library. We couldn’t have asked for anything more. But, actually, there was more. During the evening, quotations from famous Harvard graduates and teachers rotated on large screens, and then the actor Courtney Vance read from accounts of the experiences of several notable Harvard men and women. As we streamed out of the stadium at the end of the night, we were given a pack of colorfully illustrated cards with these quotations on them. I know the University Archives was instrumental in providing much of the content used to inspire the campaign leaders attending the launch. So, from inception to conclusion of the kick off, the Library was at the heart of Campaign planning, documenting and anchoring the message of the path to creating the foundation for the next century.
We will now be active in reaching out to our supporters. Bob Darnton will be meeting with friends of long standing this week in New York, and I am touching base with book lovers and collectors who care deeply about sustaining and advancing a great library. In the coming weeks I’ll be in New York, Toronto and Washington, combining conferences and speaking engagements with reconnecting with Harvard alums and becoming acquainted with others. In future notes, I’ll update you on progress, both in defining the specifics of our giving opportunities and, I hope, with news of gifts that will help us achieve our goal of being the leading library of the 21st century.
With kind regards,
Sarah E. Thomas
Vice President for the Harvard Library