Our Mission

This community-sourced mission statement was posted in January 2022 and may be revised and updated occasionally to reflect progress, transition, and alignment with Indiana University goals. 

By connecting individuals to expert information services and responsibly curated, world-class collections, the people of IU Libraries inspire and empower students and faculty to excel in innovative research and creative activity, outstanding teaching and publishing, and deep, reflective learning.


Five young people sit on a rock wall and talk. Behind them is the East tower of the Wells Library.
Many students wearing masks crowd around a table to view a book. In the background are well lit exhibition cases.
IU President Pamela Whitten stands in the reading room of University Archives discussing something with three library employees.
Hands with purple gloves hold a disc recording from the Archives of Traditional Music
Many people wearing masks are crowded into a colorful and lively space, the Herman B Wells Lobby.
A group of people are covered in a shower of confetti as part of a library celebration happening in the Wells Library Lobby



Our Foundational Values

IU Libraries esteems DIVERSITY of all kinds, building collections and collaborations to support students from diverse socio-economic backgrounds and foster a global, diverse, inclusive community of excellent students, scholars, and teachers. In addition, the Libraries commits to diversifying its own staff to reflect a diversity of perspectives and backgrounds.

IU Libraries commits to targeted recruitment, training and ongoing professional development of OUTSTANDING LIBRARIANS AND STAFF to support the university’s missions of excellent education and research.

IU Libraries supports research, scholarship, teaching, and learning through a sustained commitment to a culture of INNOVATION AND EXPERIMENTATION.

IU Libraries commits to creating, deploying, and supporting both core and innovative TECHNOLOGIES AND SYSTEMS that define our work and are instrumental to our success.

IU Libraries actively seeks out and builds STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIPS AND COLLABORATIONS within the university and nationally, enabling bold and innovative action, leveraging limited resources, and inspiring better working models.

IU Libraries commits to a vigorous ASSESSMENT program to inform strategic and operational priorities, working in close partnership with IU faculty, students, and researchers to inform and guide change.



IU Libraries: Destinations for Discovery



Three library fires—in 1854, 1883, and 1969—did not daunt us. Through wars, recessions, and the birth of the internet, we have collected and protected a legacy of knowledge. Our materials are digital, visual, audio, and print. They are curated from our campuses, our country, and our world. As a result, they are in 450 different languages, world-renowned, and ready to connect students with limitless possibilities. Our partnership with University Information Technology Services (UITS) to complete the Media Digitization Preservation Initiative (MDPI) is the country’s most ambitious academic audio, video, and film digitization preservation project to date.  

We are experts on copyright, preservation, open access publishing, digital collection management, statistics, geographic information systems, textmining, and all the technologies we find worthy of your work. We have been collecting the greatest ideas for 200 years. We are ready to inspire yours.


On the Bloomington campus, the Herman B Wells Library, with its double towers of Indiana limestone, is the visual center of the multi-library system and primarily supports the disciplines of the humanities and social sciences.  Especially noteworthy are the collections that support IU’s international and area studies, including interdisciplinary research collections developed in the areas of African Studies, Russian and East European Studies, Uralic and Altaic Studies, East Asian Studies, and West European Studies.

The Wells Library, however, is only one entry point to an entire system. You'll also find branch libraries across campus that support specific academic interests. The William and Gayle Cook Music Library, for example, provides resources and services to support the internationally renowned Jacobs School of Music.  The Education Library and the Sciences Library (to name only a few) offer on-site spaces for students and faculty of those schools to study, interact, research, and learn.

A team of specialists select, manage, and build our research collections, which include more than 11,532,115 million cataloged items. The materials support every academic discipline on campus, with an emphasis in the humanities and social sciences. Collections also include journals, maps, films, and sound recordings. Users can access more than 1,871 databases, 60,000 electronic journal titles, and 1.9 million electronic books, as well as locally developed digital content.  IU Libraries is prolific in open access publishing and hosts 40 open access journals.

We are proud to be home to Indiana University Press, an academic press serving the world of scholarship and culture as a professional, not-for-profit publisher. Founded in 1950, IU Press is recognized internationally as a leading academic publisher specializing in the humanities and social sciences. 

Other major destinations include: 

Lilly Library | 1200 E. Seventh Street
A preeminent rare book and manuscript library known around the world, the Lilly Library is centrally located on the university’s Fine Arts Plaza and offers over 8 million manuscripts, 150,000 pieces of sheet music, 30,000 mechanical puzzles, and 450,000 books.

Wylie House Museum | 307 E. Second Street
Home to Indiana University’s first president, this 1835 structure is one of Bloomington’s oldest homes and open to the public through free guided tours. 

All IU libraries are open to residents of the state as well as to Indiana University faculty and students.