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University Librarian

Job description

Michigan State University (MSU) seeks outstanding candidates for the role of University Librarian. Reporting directly to the Provost, the University Librarian serves as the administrative and academic head of the MSU Libraries. Working across the University, the University Librarian will be a thought partner and implementation colleague of the Deans and other members of the Provost’s office.


The primary responsibilities of the University Librarian are to:

  • Provide strategic, forward thinking leadership to effectively set priorities, manage resources and programs, and achieve institutional goals.
  • Collaborate creatively across campus and beyond to advance the Libraries’ mission and role as a thought partner, building alliances to support and enhance the evolving needs of researchers, educators, students, users, and innovators.
  • Oversee the Libraries’ budget and cultivate relationships with alumni, donors, and outside partners to support the Libraries’ fundraising and development efforts.
  • Promote the Libraries at campus, state, national, and international levels.
  • Direct the recruitment, development, and retention of a diverse and talented library staff, and create an inclusive and collaborative library environment.


About Michigan State University

The nation’s pioneer land-grant university, Michigan State University, is one of the top research universities in the world. Home to nationally ranked and recognized academic, residential college, and service-learning programs, MSU is a diverse and thriving community of dedicated students and scholars, athletes and artists, scientists, and leaders.


Founded in 1855, MSU began as a bold experiment that democratized higher education and helped bring science and innovation into everyday life and served as the prototype for 69 land-grant institutions established under the Morrill Act of 1862. Today, MSU is located in East Lansing, three miles east of Michigan’s capitol in Lansing on a 5,200-acre campus. 2,100 acres are in existing or planned development with 545 buildings, including 103 with academic or instructional space. In keeping with being the first institution of higher learning in the United States to teach scientific agriculture, there are also approximately 19,600 acres throughout Michigan used for agricultural and natural resources research and education by MSU faculty, staff, and students.


With over 50,000 students from all but one of the 83 counties in Michigan, all 50 states in the United States, and 133 countries, MSU enrolls approximately 39,000 undergraduates, and just over 11,250 graduate and professional and students. Supporting and educating these students are approximately 5,540 faculty and academic staff and nearly 7,000 support staff employees.


The MSU Spartans compete in the NCAA Division I Big Ten Conference. With 25 varsity teams, in addition to adaptive sports, and many club and intramural teams, athletics is prominent feature of the MSU experience.


For more information on MSU, please visit http://www.msu.edu


Michigan State University’s Mission and Strategic Vision

MSU’s shared strategic framework Bolder by Design launched in 2013 after a yearlong, institution-wide process. With the contexts of quality, inclusiveness, and connectivity, the imperatives that had been the focus of the previous strategic plan were refined. These imperatives are to:

  • ENHANCE THE STUDENT EXPERIENCE by expanding opportunities for where, when, and how students learn and increasing the value of an MSU degree.
  • ENRICH COMMUNITY, ECONOMIC, AND FAMILY LIFE through research, outreach, engagement, entrepreneurship, innovation, diversity, and inclusiveness.
  • EXPAND INTERNATIONAL REACH through academic, research and economic development initiatives, and strategic alliances.
  • INCREASE RESEARCH OPPORTUNITIES by expanding funding to support high-impact scholarship and research.
  • STRENGTHEN STEWARDSHIP by nurturing the university’s financial assets, campus environment, infrastructure, and people.
  • ADVANCE THE CULTURE OF HIGH PERFORMANCE by elevating the quality and effectiveness of every product and process.


The Opportunity        

The Michigan State University Libraries today are the Main Library, which includes several internal branch libraries, the Gull Lake Library, and the Gast Business Library. The core mission of the MSU Libraries has been and continues to be to fulfill its land grant commitments to the people of Michigan, MSU undergraduate and graduate students, faculty, and staff. It has grown from a 200-volume collection in 1855 to an institution that ranks within the top 30 largest ARL member institutions by the ARL Investment Index.


The MSU Libraries also serve as a welcoming and much-utilized undergraduate academic space in the center of campus. With over 3,000 available seats in the Main Library, and a wide-variety of student-friendly spaces, including group study rooms, computer labs, and a cafe, the Libraries are deeply embedded in the day-to-day life of the students of MSU. The Libraries host a wide array of events and activities that attract students, faculty and community members year-round. In the past several years, the Libraries have invested significantly in upgrading the physical spaces in the building to make them welcoming and comfortable, and this investment has paid off in terms of increased use.


An ambitious transformation has been underway at Michigan State University and leaders at the institution are setting their sights on being a global institution in service of the world, a "world grant university". The MSU Libraries are integral to this endeavor, serving to support students, staff, and faculty with resources and training wherever they are, as well as to promote the campus’ work beyond state and domestic borders. Deans of the many academic units and many other members of the Provost’s Office are looking to the University Librarian for active collaboration to support and propel both curricular and research development on campus. A recent example of this is the Digital Scholarship Lab, which is a joint venture between the College of Arts and Letters and the MSU Libraries. The 10,000-square-foot space in the Main Library features a 360-degree immersive visualization room and is available to faculty to support their research and promote innovative instruction. Librarians and faculty partners across disciplines will promote a wide range of research endeavors through consultation, advising, workshops, and instruction sessions. 


In addition to the broad role the University Librarian will take on campus, there are also the traditional and operational responsibilities of leading the MSU Libraries. With the assistance of a strong leadership team, the University Librarian directs the recruitment, development, and retention of the diverse and talented staff, and must have the ability to manage a highly complex organizational structure with skill and respect. Consultative leadership and empowerment on an individual level have been key to the success of the Libraries, and broadening this to interactions and collaborations on the campus level is crucial. The University Librarian leads the MSU Libraries’ Executive Committee, which is composed of the Associate Directors of: Collections; Digital Information and Systems; Human Resources, Text Management and Interlibrary Services; Public Services; Special Collections and Preservation; and Technical Services. Many of these senior librarians have held leadership roles within other departments in the MSU Libraries, making for a highly-informed and comprehensive approach to the administration of the organization.


With the support of the Director of Development, the University Librarian is an active ambassador for the University and the MSU Libraries, and has had tremendous success with individual donors for collections support. In the past twenty years, the Libraries have added more than 75 endowments, which have made possible many of the improvements undertaken recently.


Candidate Profile

The ideal candidate will have extensive experience working in collaborative, entrepreneurial environments and will possess a deep understanding of current trends and issues relevant to academic librarianship, including pedagogy and inquiry, digital libraries and library technologies, outcomes assessment, strategic planning, and advocacy. The incoming University Librarian will have strong leadership skills and show creativity, persistence, and skill in communication as well as goal-setting and achievement. A demonstrated commitment to creating safe, inclusive, diverse spaces for all is crucial. A Master’s Degree in Library Science from an ALA accredited program or other equivalent educational preparation and experience is required. A second advanced degree in a relevant field is preferred. A significant record of progressively responsible leadership and management experience in an academic library setting is strongly preferred.



Michigan State University has engaged Koya Leadership Partners to help in this hire. Please submit a compelling cover letter and CV here.


Michigan State University is an equal opportunity employer and strongly encourages applications from people of color, persons with disabilities, women, and LGBT applicants.






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Job No:
Posted: 1/24/2018
Application Due: 3/25/2018
Work Type: