Andrew W. Mellon Director - The Research Libraries
The New York Public Library (NYPL) has been an essential provider of free books, information, ideas, and education for all New Yorkers for more than 125 years. Founded in 1895, NYPL is the nation’s largest public library system and the fourth largest in the world. It includes their world-renowned research centers at the Stephen A. Schwarzman NYPL Building, the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, and The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts. It also features 92 locations across the Bronx, Manhattan, and Staten Island. Together with its circulating branches including the all-new Stavros Niarchos Foundation Library, NYPL provides an extraordinary richness of resources and opportunities available to all.
The Library’s uniqueness lies in its vast research holdings, coupled with its vibrant community branches and its public/private partnerships throughout the nation and the world. Its vision and reach are both local and global.
Serving more than 16 million patrons a year in the area and millions more online, the Library holds more than 56 million items – from books, e-books, and DVDs to renowned research collections used by scholars from around the world. Housed in its research centers, NYPL’s historical collections hold such treasures as a draft of the Declaration of Independence written in Thomas Jefferson’s hand, one of the few surviving copies of the Gutenberg Bible, and original works, manuscripts, letters, and more by luminaries in literature and art including William Shakespeare, Virginia Woolf, James Baldwin, Charles Dickens, Maya Angelou, John Coltrane, Augusta Savage, and more.
NYPL’s neighborhood libraries in the Bronx, Manhattan, and Staten Island – many of which date to Andrew Carnegie’s visionary philanthropy at the turn of the 20th century – are centers of educational innovation and service, vital community hubs that provide far more than just free books and materials. NYPL local libraries play a key role in closing the digital divide, especially for the millions of New Yorkers who do not have internet access at home. Altogether, the Library offers hundreds of thousands of free education programs annually.
In the always-expanding digital realm, NYPL provides patrons worldwide with powerful online tools to help them discover its extensive resources and services. On https://www.nypl.org/, visitors can browse the Library’s immense collections, download e-books, and view more than 900,000 items from its award-winning Digital Collections.
With a $360 million budget, an endowment of $1.6 billion, and a staff of more than 2,500, NYPL is supported by public funds and private donations. As it embarks on its next 125 years, it is passionately committed to meeting the ever-changing needs of its patrons.
The Andrew W. Mellon Director oversees all the facilities, staff, activities, and external partnerships for the research area of the Library. The next Director will be an innovative leader with a record of professional success and positive transformation. The Director will ensure that the most used and democratically accessible of research library collections thrive – appropriately preserved, added to, and expertly curated – while providing the best physical and increasingly digital experiences and services that cultivate the creation of new knowledge, greater understanding, as well as cultural and artistic work. Reporting directly to the CEO and serving as part of his senior team, the Mellon Directorship is considered one of the most prestigious positions in the research library community.
The Director has oversight of the Library’s 46 million research items and staff at the National Historic Landmark Schwarzman Building on 42nd Street and Fifth Avenue and the unparalleled collections and staff of the Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center, the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, as well as the Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers, LIVE at NYPL, and the Library’s Digital Collections. The Director oversees a staff of over 480 and a total expense budget of $145 million.
Areas directly reporting to the Mellon Director are Humanities and Social Sciences Research Divisions, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, the Library for the Performing Arts, Digital Research, Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers, Collections and Research Services, and Special Collections and Exhibitions.
The Director is responsible for leading a world-class research service operation with a strong tradition of public access. As a leader capable of transformation, the Director will:
- Ensure that a global and diverse community is aware of and able to access the Library’s collections through expert staff, fellowships, exhibitions, seminars, partnerships with educational institutions, social media, and other venues;
- Create and lead an integrated research library experience at NYPL and in partnership with other institutions to ensure that research services are available to any patron seeking its collections and expertise;
- Lead a collection development strategy that ensures NYPL collects materials useful to its community today and in the future, through its own initiative and in collaboration with others, in digital and physical forms;
- Promote the growing importance of digital technology to the current and future success of NYPL’s research function;
- Lead, manage, and motivate a talented research library staff – agile in innovative transformation – to deliver on the Library’s mission;
- Engage the community of Research Library users and other experts to assess and prioritize needs for collections and services for future generations;
- Oversee NYPL’s role in ReCAP (The Research Collections and Preservation Consortium), jointly owned and operated by NYPL, Columbia, Harvard, and Princeton Universities, and created to support library and archival collections, making them available to researchers;
- Evolve a world-class research library service (virtually and in-person) to support research needs throughout the city and around the world;
- Partner with the Tisch Director of Branch Libraries and Education to develop creative partnerships and strategies that connect the collections, expertise, and programs of the Research Libraries to the network of circulating branches and their educational programs and get them into classrooms;
- Serve as the staff lead, along with the Tisch Director, to the Program and Policy Committee of the Board of Trustees.
The Andrew W. Mellon Director of the Research Libraries will possess:
- A strong commitment to the Library, its history, and the importance of its vast research holdings as a base for what the Director can achieve in the future;
- Demonstrated commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging;
- Significant senior management skills and experience in academic institutions or similar leadership in research libraries;
- Experience with the use of digital technology and a commitment to its importance in both content and delivery of information;
- Superior leadership skills within and across teams and institutions – with proven ability to transform services and programs;
- Strategic planning experience including delivering on agreed-upon outcomes; ability to use qualitative and quantitative analysis and adjust as needed;
- Experience working with boards and governing bodies;
- A strong track record of effective fundraising and proven ability to operate in the unique New York philanthropic world or in other major philanthropic markets;
- Sophisticated communication skills, both verbal and written;
- Advanced degree in humanities, arts, library science, or social science; significant scholarly research.
The Director will bring or be:
- The ability to convey a strong and compelling presence; able to inspire people to perform at a high level; a firm decision-maker who engages with diplomacy and tact;
- A confident leader who can build, motivate, retain, and lead a strong team of people who collaborate to achieve results; able to create an exciting environment that attracts and supports star performers;
- A visionary who draws admiration for their innovative and forward-thinking accomplishments;
- The ability to anticipate problems, resolve ambiguity, and take decisive action;
- Integrity, empathy, emotional intelligence, and cultural agility.
NYPL is an equal opportunity employer and is strongly committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion in every sense of the word – from background and birthplace to experience and ideas. All applicants will be considered for employment without attention to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, citizenship, veteran, or disability status.
Please send nominations or applications including cover letters and CVs to Jane Phillips Donaldson and Susan Meade at NYPL@PhillipsOppenheim.com.
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