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ARL Seeks Visiting Program Officer to Advance Initiative on Digital Rights

21 Dupont Circle, exterior
image CC-BY-NC by Paul Goddin

The Association of Research Libraries (ARL) seeks a visiting program officer (VPO) with broad knowledge of digital rights issues—including controlled digital lending, digital first sale, and licensing—to work with the Association to develop a series of briefs on these and other related issues.

The series of briefs will help advance ARL’s 2021–2022 advocacy strategy to further the interests of researchers and learners, ensuring that libraries can acquire, share, lend, reformat, and preserve digital/digitized content with maximum digital affordances. The briefs will include a description of the landscape of digital content advocacy and will identify practical  political opportunities. Target audiences for the briefs and any accompanying materials (presentation slides, audio interviews, visualizations, etc.) include ARL members, the public, US Congress, and courts. The VPO may develop the briefs through independent research and interviews with relevant stakeholders. ARL values a diversity of professional and lived experience; the VPO will solicit a range of viewpoints in order to inform an advocacy agenda that supports an inclusive research and learning ecosystem.

The COVID-19 pandemic and the associated shift to ubiquitous online teaching and learning highlighted immediate gaps, obstacles, and opportunities for libraries to provide digital services. The transition to digital services has been underway for the past 25 years, and restricted access to physical materials during the pandemic has heightened demand for digital content. It has also intensified ARL’s focus on the areas of law and policy where we need to intervene to safeguard the interests of researchers and learners in a predominantly digital future. With uneven access to physical spaces and materials, libraries’ ability to lend digitized content, and acquire born-digital content, is essential to performing the functions of research and learning support, and is therefore a top priority for the ARL Advocacy & Public Policy portfolio. ARL is a member of the Library Copyright Alliance (LCA) and the balanced copyright coalition Re:Create.

Visiting Program Officer Program

Under the Visiting Program Officer program, the ARL member library supports the salary of the staff person and provides the time needed to participate as a VPO. ARL supports or seeks grant funding for travel or other project-related expenses.

The ARL Visiting Program Officer program provides opportunities for staff in ARL member libraries to contribute to strategic initiatives, either in whole or in part, in order to advance the agenda of the Association. The program provides highly visible professional development opportunities for outstanding staff members and serves the ARL membership as a whole by extending the capacity to achieve the shared priorities. This VPO will participate in Advocacy and Public Policy Committee meetings as appropriate, and will have an opportunity to work on both theory and practice of digital access advocacy.

To Apply

ARL is looking for a one-to-two-year commitment at .3 FTE, to start as soon as possible. Interested staff within ARL member libraries should contact Judy Ruttenberg (judy@arl.org) with a 500-word statement of interest, an updated CV or résumé, and a letter of recommendation from their ARL member representative. Applications will be reviewed until Tuesday, March 2, 2021.


About the Association of Research Libraries

The Association of Research Libraries (ARL) is a nonprofit organization of 125 research libraries in Canada and the US whose mission is to advance research, learning, and scholarly communication. The Association fosters the open exchange of ideas and expertise; advances diversity, equity, and inclusion; and pursues advocacy and public policy efforts that reflect the values of the library, scholarly, and higher education communities. ARL forges partnerships and catalyzes the collective efforts of research libraries to enable knowledge creation and to achieve enduring and barrier-free access to information. ARL is on the web at ARL.org.