Lia G. Poorvu Executive Director of the Schlesinger Library and Librarian of the Radcliffe Institute

Employer
Harvard Radcliffe Institute
Location
Massachusetts, United States
Salary
Salary Commensurate with experience
Posted
Apr 06, 2021
Employment Level
Executive
Employment Type
Full Time

SummaryThis search is being led by C. V. O’Boyle, Jr., LLC. Resume submissions, nominations, inquiries, and expressions of interest, must be directed to Chuck O’Boyle at chuck@cvoboyle.com

The Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America, the leading center for scholarship on the history of women in the United States, seeks a new Executive Director, who will also serve as Librarian of Harvard’s Radcliffe Institute.

An autonomous special collections library and archives within the Harvard Library—the oldest library system in the United States—the Schlesinger Library acquires, promotes and stewards collections that span the broad sweep of American history, documenting civil rights and women’s rights; health and sexuality; work and family life; education and the professions; and culinary history and etiquette.  Its staff is committed to incorporating best practices in instruction, digital scholarship and community engagement as the library advances a more complete, truer story of human accomplishment.  In addition to its traditional strengths in the history of feminisms, women’s health and women’s activism, the Schlesinger collections document the intersectional workings of race and ethnicity, gender, sexuality and class in American history.  Open to all, the Library is committed to deepening its holdings by and about African American, Asian American, Latina and Native American women as well as women of all political philosophies and socioeconomic backgrounds.

The Schlesinger Library is one of three academic programs of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, one of the world’s leading centers for interdisciplinary exploration.  (The others are Academic Ventures and Engagement and the Radcliffe Fellowship program.)  The Schlesinger Library is integral to the Institute’s Radcliffe Engaged strategic plan, which may be viewed at: https://www.radcliffe.harvard.edu/about-radcliffe/radcliffe-engaged-strategic-plan

Reporting to the Pforzheimer Foundation Director of the Schlesinger (a tenured Harvard faculty member), the Executive Director is a member of the Radcliffe Institute’s senior staff, the Harvard Library Leadership Team and the Harvard Library Directors’ Group.  The Executive Director exercises judgment, creativity, leadership and vision in planning for the Library and securing the financial and human resources as well as the necessary technology to provide the most comprehensive suite of services possible to researchers, including students, and the optimal workplace for archivists, librarians, curators and other staff.

The new Executive Director will oversee the post-COVID revival of research, teaching, acquisitions, exhibitions and public engagement that make the Schlesinger a visible hallmark of the Radcliffe Institute and a lively center for scholarship, teaching and community building—an interdisciplinary convenor. Working with the Pforzheimer Director, and the Institute leadership team, the Executive Director will help lead Schlesinger’s further integration into the Radcliffe Institute as imagined in the Radcliffe Engaged strategic plan, as well as heightened outreach across Harvard and to the public.  The Executive Director appointment will provide a rare platform for an academic librarian skilled in communicating the value of archives and special collections to non-librarian colleagues.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Exercises primary operational leadership of the Schlesinger Library by creating and implementing a vision of excellence in library services and creating an environment of accountability by monitoring effectiveness of programs, initiatives, and departments within the organization
  • Demonstrates leadership in the management of the Harvard Library by participation in both the Harvard Library Leadership team and in the Library Directors Group; chairs or serves on numerous subcommittees of same to solve problems, provide assessments, and conduct planning.
  • Maintains strong organizational health and effectiveness at the Schlesinger Library through planning and assessment, and fosters an environment of inclusion, innovation, and expertise.
  • Manages a complex organization including multi-year financial planning and a direct expense budget of $5.6M.
  • With curators and Pforzheimer Director and senior staff of the library, builds and provides access to a world class collection of material to document the contributions of women in America.
  • Contributes to the leadership of Radcliffe Institute by participation in program managers’ group, senior staff meetings, external relations (fundraising) and communication activities, and other administrative initiatives.
  • Manages a program of continuous learning and improvement through staff recruitment, retention, professional development, and mentoring.
  • Engages as appropriate in collaborations beyond Harvard.
  • Establishes effective relationships and communications with supporters and collections contributors, including the Schlesinger Library Council; outreach and advocacy in regional, national, and international library conferences.
  • Serves as an advisor, advocate, implementer and resource for strengthening and advancing a diverse and inclusive culture at the Institute; collaborate with others to expand and deepen discussions about diversity, inclusion, and belonging in Library collections and programming

Supervisory Responsibilities:

  • Supervises senior staff direct reports, who lead a Library staff of approximately 30.
  • Carries out supervisory responsibilities according to the Institute’s / University’s management policies, procedures and any applicable laws.

Basic Qualifications:

  • At least 5 years senior management experience in a research library
  • Master's degree in Library Information Science from a program accredited by the American Library Association is required, with an advanced degree (MA or PhD) in a subject relevant to Schlesinger’s collecting scope preferred.
  • Demonstrated knowledge of special collections.
  • High-level knowledge of current and future trends affecting libraries, instructional technology and online learning as well as a demonstrated willingness to experiment responsibly within these areas.
  • Experience in developing library policy, articulating vision and providing leadership and direction towards achieving strategic goals.
  • Proven management and administrative skills in developing, implementing, monitoring and evaluating staff and programs.
  • Exceptional writing, editing and oral communication skills as well as proficiency in engaging effectively with a wide range of external and internal constituencies.
  • Ability to build strong relationships, work independently, make decisions, maintain confidentiality, multitask, organize, and prioritize while maintaining high standards in a high-volume environment.
  • Demonstrated commitment to advancing institutional diversity and creating an environment of inclusion and belonging for staff and researchers alike.
  • General administrative skills, including the ability to plan and create new administrative structures.

A complete application including a letter of interest, a curriculum vitae and contact information for five referees who can speak about the candidate’s qualifications for this specific opportunity must be submitted to Chuck O’Boyle at chuck@cvoboyle.com

Harvard Library Diversity Statement

At the Harvard Library, our work is enriched by our diverse campus community. Our unique and wide-ranging abilities, experiences, and perspectives are integral to achieving Harvard University’s mission of excellence in research, teaching and learning for our patrons, our collections and our workplace. We believe that an inclusive environment that cultivates and promotes understanding, respect and collaboration across our diverse workforce enables our success.  We encourage individuals with diverse backgrounds, experiences and abilities to apply to be a part of our community of over 700 staff members.  Our work with faculty, students and researchers to explore answers to intellectual questions, enduring and new, and to seek solutions to the world’s most consequential problems, requires that we not only reflect, but also champion our diverse society.

A global leader, the Harvard Library is a pre-eminent research library that acquires, disseminates and preserves knowledge.  Harvard’s Library holdings range from traditional print collections to rapidly expanding inventories of digital resources.  It is the work of the Harvard Library to provide the University’s faculty, students and researchers—now and in the future—with comprehensive access over time to all of these materials.

Learn more about our contributions to the academic enterprise by visiting us at https://library.harvard.edu/about/about-harvard-library and about the Harvard University Community at https://hr.harvard.edu/why-harvard 

The Harvard Library is a proud member of the ACRL Diversity Alliance.

 

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