University Librarian (September 2019)

Job description

University Librarian (September 2019)

Lexington, VA
Open Date:
Sep 19, 2019

Washington and Lee University Libraries seek a visionary, innovative, and collaborative leader for a welcoming and user-centered library that delivers transformative library services and facilities to the university community. The University Librarian provides strategic and managerial leadership over all aspects of library operations, including personnel, budgets, patron services, internal and external relations, collection development, assessment, technology, and facilities. This administrator is also a non-tenured member of the faculty, and the endowed position carries the title Hal F. and Barbara Buckner Higginbotham University Librarian.

STATUS: Full-time, 12 Month, With Benefits
WORK HOURS: 8:30-4:30 Monday-Friday with occasional evening and weekend hours
FLSA: Exempt
MINIMUM PAY: $130,460 / year

Washington and Lee University is a highly selective, independent, co-educational, liberal arts institution of approximately 1860 undergraduate and 400 law students located in the city of Lexington, Virginia. Lexington (population 7,000) is a warm, welcoming, and historic town located between the Blue Ridge and Allegheny Mountains, three hours southwest of Washington, D.C. Established in 1749, W&L is the ninth oldest institution of higher learning in the nation and is ranked among the top 10 national liberal arts colleges. Washington and Lee University is composed of two undergraduate divisions, the College and the Williams School of Commerce, Economics, and Politics; and a graduate School of Law. Offering 37 undergraduate majors and 30 minors, including a number of interdisciplinary programs, the University prides itself on the depth and breadth of its curriculum, in which traditional liberal arts studies are augmented by offerings from the only fully-accredited business school and journalism program among the nation's top-tier liberal arts colleges.

To achieve our mission as a liberal arts college, we continually strive to foster an inclusive campus community, which recognizes the value of all persons regardless of identity. Washington and Lee University and the University Library are committed to cultivating an educational and professional environment that is rich with cultural, social, and intellectual diversity. In keeping with the University’s Strategic Plan, we seek candidates who can effectively encourage an academic culture that is diverse, inclusive, and collaborative. Washington and Lee welcomes applications from members of underrepresented communities and other candidates who will contribute to the diversification and enrichment of ideas and perspectives.

Washington and Lee University’s Library system consists of the James Graham Leyburn Library, the main undergraduate library, and the Robert Lee Telford Science Library. The Law Library operates independently but collaborates closely with the undergraduate libraries and shares with them an integrated library services platform.

The undergraduate libraries hold over 630,000 print volumes, provide access to over 731,000 e-books, 460 databases, and 124,000 e-journals. The current materials budget is approximately $1.4 million. The libraries have recently completed a migration to Alma/Primo, and the Leyburn Library is in the process of integrating CARPE (The Center for Academic Resources and Pedagogical Excellence), a newly envisioned teaching and learning center for the University.

The University Librarian reports directly to the Provost and is expected to collaborate closely with Information Technology Services (ITS), CARPE, the Law Library, and other departments and programs campus wide. The University Librarian is responsible for the leadership, management, and development of 13 faculty librarians and 11 library staff members. The library is an academic department and library faculty members are teaching faculty who may teach up to two courses per year; the library recently completed a major Mellon grant to build on the University’s Digital Humanities initiative focused on pedagogical innovation and culminating in a new minor housed in the library. The minor, entitled Digital Culture and Information (DCI), is primarily taught by library faculty. A popular Women in Technology workshop, now in its second year, is another product of the Mellon grant run by library faculty.

The University Librarian advocates for library resources, faculty, and staff; sits on appropriate University-wide committees; participates in local, regional, and national organizations (including Virginia’s academic library consortium VIVA, and the Oberlin Group); maintains and strengthens consortia relationships; expands the university’s access to information; and represents Washington and Lee University to internal and external audiences.

Essential and Related Functions:

  • Establishes the strategic direction for the University Library to address the University’s learning, teaching, research, and information literacy needs.
  • Supports a welcoming, inclusive environment for all faculty, staff, and students, emphasizing clear and transparent communication and outreach.
  • Leads, mentors, and encourages the library faculty and staff to foster an inclusive culture of user-centered service and collaboration and provides an environment that encourages staff in continual improvement, learning, and development of new skills to serve the university’s educational mission.
  • Serves as a member of the Provost's Academic Council and works closely with the university leadership and department chairs to plan the library’s future.
  • Develops and monitors the library’s budget to ensure appropriate expenditure of funds, maintenance of a collection that supports the curriculum, and provision of technology required to facilitate access to information resources and maximize operational efficiency.
  • Ensures that the library provides the quality innovative content, equipment, and facilities crucial to student academic success and scholarly research.
  • Works with the Assistant Dean of Legal Information Services to coordinate the joint library system and maximize benefits from shared resources.
  • Develops and implements appropriate assessment programs for library operations and services.
  • Serves as liaison for selected academic departments to support research and collection development, offer one-on-one consultations with faculty and students, and provide in-class guest lectures.
  • Promotes collaborative and consortia relationships on regional, national, and international levels for resource sharing and develops/utilizes new models of collection development and technology adoption.
  • Serves as ex-officio chair the Intellectual Property Review Committee and serves as an ex-officio member of the University Library Committee.
  • Performs other duties as assigned by the Provost.


The successful candidate will have a Master of Library Science or equivalent degree from an ALA-accredited institution; five years of progressively responsible management experience in libraries or an equivalent combination of training and experience; strong and demonstrated commitment to diversity, equity, respect, and inclusion; strong collaborative, empathetic, and ethical leadership skills; demonstrated ability to maintain productive and collaborative relationships with campus partners and to foster this ability in others; exceptional interpersonal, written, and verbal communication skills; knowledge of physical and digital library environments and fluency in the application of informational technology; demonstrated commitment to and understanding of the ideals of a liberal arts education with an understanding of the role of library services in the teaching and learning environment; robust commitment to information literacy and a strong understanding of new and developing trends in higher education; evidence of continued scholarship and/or professional accomplishment in the library profession; leadership experience with library faculty and evidence of a solid understanding of the role and responsibilities of librarians as members of the faculty; significant and demonstrated interest in and understanding of managing and mentoring library faculty and staff.

Required Competencies:

  • Strategic Thinking - Actively develops and aligns the departmental strategy with the University's vision, mission and values. Able to rally others behind the University's mission and create commitment to achieving long-term goals. Looks beyond the surface of problems, connects unrelated information and integrates it when making decisions. Able to quickly assess changing situations and recognize key risks involved in order to handle the problem or opportunity efficiently.
  • Change Adaptability - Champions change initiatives in own department, communicates rationale and provides updates throughout the change process to help others deal with ambiguity. Anticipates and addresses staff concerns throughout the change process, creating and maintaining open dialogue to obtain commitment and buy-in. Supports the practical utilization of new ideas that show promise and encourages diversity of thought in own department and others.
  • Communication and Networking - Adapts own style to deliver persuasive messages by understanding the audience, communication objectives and intended outcome. Serves as a role model by advocating a culture of openness and two-way communication across departments. Develops and maintains knowledge of key areas, persons in the University or larger community and uses social networks to build support for common purposes.
  • Drive for Results - Champions continuous improvement of work methods, policies and practices by providing resources and sharing success stories and lessons learned. Engages department in setting challenging goals and targets, encourages others to overcome obstacles and holds people accountable for results. Guides establishment of customer service processes to standardize a culture of customer service and sensitivity.
  • Talent Development - Supports processes to identify and reward talent by creating development opportunities, mentoring and coaching others to develop the next line of leaders. Proactively identifies and ensures development of critical future skills and capabilities for talent across the University and not just within a department. Takes time to actively build individual relationships on a formal and informal basis with University employees. Leads by example, by supporting the implementation of a sustainable performance development system (e.g., encouraging participation in goal setting activities, final year review, etc.).

Physical Requirements:

  • Fingering: Picking, pinching, typing or otherwise working, primarily with fingers rather than with whole hand or arm as in handling.
  • Grasping: Applying pressure to an object with the fingers and palm.
  • Repetitive motions: Making substantial movements (motions) of the wrists, hands, and/or fingers.

Working Conditions:

  • The worker is not substantially exposed to adverse environmental conditions (as in typical office or administrative work).

Types of Work:

Sedentary work: Exerting up to 10 pounds of force occasionally and/or a negligible amount of force frequently or constantly to lift, carry, push, pull or otherwise move objects, including the human body. Sedentary work involves sitting most of the time. Jobs are sedentary if walking and standing are required only occasionally and all other sedentary criteria are met.

Application Instructions:

Review of applications will begin November 1, 2019. Candidates should submit:

  • a letter of application
  • a CV
  • a list of professional references

All materials should be submitted via Interfolio at




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Job No:
Posted: 9/20/2019
Application Due: 12/9/2019
Work Type: