Purpose ' The purpose of this study is to examine how academic library directors set goals for change in the information age and the factors influencing the approaches used.Design/methodology/approach ' Bolman and Deal's reframing change model provided the foundation for this research. An online survey was sent to 1,010 academic library directors in the USA. The response rate was 59 percent. The qualitative data were analysed using content analysis. The collected quantitative and qualitative data were analysed using descriptive (frequencies, percentages, means, standard deviations) and inferential statistics (binary and multinomial logistic regressions).Findings ' Most directors used multiple approaches to set goals for change. The structural and human resource approaches were the most frequent single approaches. Regression analysis confirmed that demographics, human capital, and library variables played significant roles in setting goals for change.Research limitations/implications ' Data in this study were collected from directors in libraries of doctoral granting, master-granting, and baccalaureate-only colleges and universities. Accordingly, the results of the study might not be generalized to college and university libraries outside this classification.Practical implications ' This paper provides a useful overview of the approaches used to set goals for change and the factors influencing the approaches used.Originality/value ' Directors may use the results to reflect on different options of the strategies for setting goals for change in the information age and balance the weight of the factors' influences. The results may also help librarians better understand various approaches to setting goals for change in the information age.