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The Library Company of Philadelphia Job Location: Pennsylvania Apply By: 12/31/2019 Date Created: 10-13-2016


The mission of the Library Company is to preserve, interpret, make available and augment its extraordinary collections.  Its mission derives from its origins and from Benjamin Franklin's legacy of public service.  Through exhibitions, public programs, and online resources, the Library Company ensures that the lessons of the past will amaze, inspire and instruct people for generations to come.


The Library Company of Philadelphia is America's first successful lending library.  It was founded by Benjamin Franklin in 1731 as a subscription library supported by its shareholders, as it is to this day.  It is an independent research library concentrating on American society and culture from the 17th through the early 20th centuries.  The Library Company is America's oldest cultural institution and served as the Library of Congress from the Revolutionary War to 1800.  It was the largest public library in America until the Civil War and remains one of North America's most important research repositories.

Since the 1950s, the Library Company has been an independent research library and a residential center for advanced research in early American history.  It holds one of the largest collections of early American books, pamphlets, broadsides, newspapers, magazines, graphics and photographs in existence, and is one of the principal archives of primary source material used by scholars around the world.  In the 21st century, the Library Company serves as a resource for a variety of patrons, from high school students to senior scholars, from novelists to film producers, and anyone else with an interest in its collections.  Its internationally-renowned collections in early African-American history, economic history, women's history, the history of medicine and visual culture, augment the stature of the Library Company as a center for discovery, exploration and education for scholars globally.

Today, the Library Company -- free and open to the public -- also serves a large general audience, locally in its reading rooms and through exhibitions and public programs, reaching more than 700 scholars annually and more than 3,000 people a year through its on-site programs and scholarly engagement.  Through the website, publications, on-line curriculum and catalogs, and loans to other institutions, the Library Company has expanded its reach further to connect with over 350,000 visitors annually world-wide.  Its value to scholars and general audiences is best measured by the hundreds of books and articles written by those who use the collections, and the thousands of its images used in textbooks, video broadcasts, and online publications.

Located near Philadelphia's historic district, the Library Company has recently acquired several neighboring properties and is in the process of developing a plan to re-imagine an expanded campus and library facilities.  The Library Company has an operating budget of approximately $3 million, a $27 million endowment and a staff of 22.

For more information, please contact: www.librarycompany.org/


The Director is the institution's chief executive.  Working with an 18-member Board of Trustees, the Director of the Library Company will set the goals of the institution and will possess a compelling vision for the future of a special collections-based research institution.  The Director will be a sophisticated manager active in all aspects of the Library and an integral member of the team and culture.  The Director will be an energetic and enthusiastic representative of the institution and committed to its constituencies, vibrancy and growth.


*    Articulate a clear, compelling vision for the future of the Library Company; provide strong leadership to engage the Board and staff in developing a plan to execute a vision to bolster the Library Company's position in the scholarly world and expand its public presence;
*    Spearhead a long-term strategic plan that includes a master plan for the development and use of recently-acquired properties, future exhibit space, programming , growth of academic fellowships and future technology needs;
*     Maintain a comprehensive grasp of the budget and other key financial metrics; collaborate with the CFO to ensure finances are managed prudently, operating budgets are set; oversee the use of available investment funds;
*    Provide leadership for strong fundraising initiatives, including capital investments, grant challenges and annual operating support.  Work closely with the staff on key fundraising initiatives, including the completion of the NEH Challenge Grant to support African American studies;
*    Partner with the board to attract, recruit and engage a strong, diverse and committed Board of Trustees
*    Manage, motivate, empower and evaluate staff; create clear lines of authority and responsibility; establish annual goals and employee benchmarks; ensure a productive, supportive and collaborative working environment;
*    Oversee development of a comprehensive marketing plan that raises the visibility of the institution both nationally and in Philadelphia;
*    Inspire curators, department heads and program directors to develop collections, programs and exhibitions that support the Library Company's larger strategic vision;
*    Be a highly visible and articulate spokesperson for the institution; cultivate relationships that increase the Library Company's profile and stature; maintain close relationships with library, academic and cultural institution communities; deepen relationships with elected officials, civic leaders, media, shareholders and members in order to grow support for the institution;
*    Assume a leadership role in the Philadelphia cultural community.


The Director will have:

*    A passion for the Library Company's mission; a record as a strong and inspirational leader and catalyst able to articulate that mission with conviction and clarity; capable of building support for his/her strategic vision among many constituencies, including employees and other stakeholders;
*    A reputation for successful and visionary leadership and management in the academic, nonprofit or business sectors; recognized experience and expertise that relates to the operations of the Library Company; a demonstrated love for American history, the humanities and scholarship;
*    Good business acumen; nimble and entrepreneurial; able to apply sophisticated management experience to the institution's practices and procedures; able to build new relationships and collaborations as a way to leverage assets and expand reach;
*    Proven ability to raise funds, cultivate and solicit new donors;
*    The capability to balance respect for a distinguished history and traditional practices with the need for creativity, innovation and growth;
*     Skill as an articulate and persuasive communicator in both spoken and written expression;


*    A dynamic leader who is able to create and respond to new opportunities;
*    An inclusive style with respect to empowering the staff and engaging the Board;
*    Excellent problem-solving skills and a "no challenge or problem too tough" attitude;
*    A persuasive manager able to achieve consensus; a decision-maker who can be firm, fair and flexible as needed;
*    An ethical person who imparts stability, trust, integrity and common sense and who can motivate others;
*    Someone with energy, a sense of humor and maturity in order to maintain perspective and a sense of balance.

Applications, including cover letters and résumés, and nominations should be sent to the attention of Susan Meade and Addie Jones at LibraryCo@phillipsoppenheim.com.

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