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Dean of Libraries

Dean of Libraries

Mississippi State University Job Location: Mississippi Apply By: 06/11/2021 Date Created: 05-20-2021

Mississippi State University (MSU) invites nominations and applications for the position of Dean of Libraries. The university seeks an individual who is an experienced, strategic, creative, dynamic forward-thinking leader. The Dean will create a vision and plan to advance the mission of the university and library system by building upon a strong legacy of growth and excellence to provide innovative services to a diverse population of patrons, organizations and communities. 

MSU has exclusively engaged Jack Farrell & Associates (www.jackfarrell.com) to find its next Dean of Libraries. Interested candidates should please contact Jack Farrell, jack@jackfarrell.com. Thank you. 

Mississippi State University Library system is comprised of six libraries that include the Mitchell Memorial Library, the main library; the College of Architecture, Art and Design Library, College of Veterinary Medicine Library; The Phil Hardin Foundation Libraries on the Meridian Campus and the School of Architecture Library in Jackson, MS. The Libraries are a key component of academic life at the University and play an important role in enhancing cultural life in the local community and throughout the state. The Libraries provide access to more than 2.9 million books, 398 data bases, over 142,917 paid subscriptions for journals, and 55 digital collections. Additionally, the Mississippi State University Libraries Special Collections Division includes the Congressional and Political Research Center, the University Archives, Manuscripts, and Rare Books. The total collections under the care of the division is currently at 3,207, and total expenditures of the Mississippi State University Library system exceeds $12.5 million annually. 

The Mitchell Memorial Library on the main Starkville campus houses the Ulysses S. Grant Presidential Library and Museum and the Frank and Virginia Williams Collection of Lincolniana. It is also home to the Charles H. Templeton Collection that includes two hundred 19th and 20th Century music instruments, 22,000 sheets of music and over 13,000 records. The Library also contains the MaxxSouth Digital Media Center, a multi-media collaborative space equipped with state-of-the art technology designed to propel teaching, learning, exploration and research among university faculty, staff and students. The Library is an active institutional member of the Association of Southeastern Research Libraries. For more information about the university libraries please visit http://lib.msstate.edu/

Reporting to the Provost and Executive Vice President, the next Dean will be a respected leader in the field who will partner with Mississippi State University constituents and external stakeholders to leverage the Libraries’ efforts to develop an ambitious strategic plan for the future. The Dean of Libraries will provide a clear vision of the evolving role of the University Library System and how it will support the strategic initiatives and intellectual core of the university. The Dean will have oversight for 36 faculty, 63 professional support staff and over 90 student workers. Librarians hold faculty status, are active researchers, and are engaged in significant campus and professional service. The Library faculty is actively embedded in the curricula across the disciplines through its’ liaison relationship with each college, school, and academic departments across colleges. The position is located on the beautiful MSU campus in Starkville, MS and relocation assistance is negotiable for the winning candidate.  

Candidates should possess the following qualifications: 

  • Exceptional leadership skills and the ability to work effectively with university faculty and academic administrators across the academy to build effective relationships and a collaborative environment that fosters research and teaching excellence. Skills include the development and effective management of library budget and other resources to support the strategic plan and mission of the university library system.
  • Significant and progressive library administrative experience, strong management skills, and an understanding of the operations, disciplines and goals of a major public, land grant research university.
  • An understanding of major challenges facing academic research libraries today, particularly in a public, land grant university.
  • A history of building, enhancing and sustaining partnerships across the university, state, region and nation.
  • Demonstrated commitment to diversity and to continuing programs to achieve inclusion among faculty and staff, and to provide services that meets the needs of a diverse population of students and scholars.
  • Evidence of advocacy for innovative methods of dissemination of scholarly communications, information and data to support the instructional, educational and research mission of the university and its various constituents.
  • Ability to be an advocate for the university library system, faculty and staff.
  • Ability to secure external funding through grants, contracts and private fund-raising.


  • A Master’s degree in Library and Information Science from an American Library Association-accredited program or an international equivalent degree is required, along with credentials and experience to qualify for the rank of professor with tenure in a discipline within Library and Information Science. A Doctoral degree is strongly preferred. 
  • Must demonstrate a strong recognition of and commitment to MSU’s stature as a land-grant institution and research university.
  • Demonstrated ability to work effectively with the academic, research and service efforts of the university, as well as external constituencies and stakeholders.
  • A record of successful administrative leadership and achievement.
  • Minimum of four years of significant administrative experience.
  •  A thorough familiarity and understanding of the operation of multiple libraries in a system.
  •  Possess the vision and experience necessary to lead a complex organization in developing and enhancing its mission in service to the university, state, region, and nation as a premier research leader.
  •  Demonstrated vision for how libraries can best meet the needs of their stakeholders and constituents with ever-changing technologies.

 Mississippi State University, founded in 1878, is a public research, land-grant university with a mission to provide access and opportunity to all sectors of Mississippi’s diverse population, as well as other states and countries, and to offer excellent programs of teaching, research, and service. The university offers a comprehensive range of undergraduate, graduate, and professional programs across many disciplines, and enrolled 22,986 students in fall 2020 (including 18,803 full and part-time undergraduates and 4,183 graduate and professionals). Additionally, Mississippi State University is designated as a Carnegie Foundation R1 “Very High Research Activity” institution. The university embraces its role as a major contributor to the economic development of the state and beyond through targeted research and the transfer of ideas and technology to the public, supported by faculty, staff, student, and alumni relationships with industry, community organizations, and government entities. Mississippi State University is committed to its tradition of instilling among its community ideals of diversity, citizenship, leadership, and service. 

Building on its land-grant tradition, Mississippi State University strategically extends its resources and expertise for the benefit of Mississippi's citizens, the nation, and the world by offering access for working and place-bound learners through its on- and off-campus education and research sites, Extension, and distance education programs. For more information about Mississippi State University please visit https://www.msstate.edu/

Equal Employment Opportunity Statement:

MSU is an equal opportunity employer, and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, ethnicity, sex, religion, national origin, disability, age, sexual orientation, genetic information, pregnancy, gender identity, status as a U.S. veteran, and/or any other status protected by applicable law. We always welcome nominations and applications from women, members of any minority group, and others who share our passion for building a diverse community that reflects the diversity in our student population. 

NOTE Mississippi State University has exclusively engaged Jack Farrell & Associates (www.jackfarrell.com) to find its next Dean of Libraries. Interested candidates should please contact Jack Farrell, jack@jackfarrell.com. Thank you.

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