The Reaching Across Illinois Library System (RAILS) Board of Directors seeks a visionary, innovative, and highly collaborative Executive Director to lead an award-winning, nationally recognized multitype library system into the future.
Formed in 2011 from the merger of five library systems, RAILS provides a wide variety of innovative programs and services to support approximately 1,300 libraries of all sizes and types (academic, public, school, and specialized). These libraries include over 4,200 facilities across a 27,000 square-mile area in northern and west-central Illinois.
The RAILS mission statement is: We Connect Libraries, and RAILS is all about connections. The system connects libraries to each other by helping them share resources as widely as possible, including physical materials, e-resources, best practices, and knowledge. The system connects libraries to information by providing continuing education, consulting, and other resources to help libraries stay on top of relevant issues and meet current and anticipated challenges. This includes developing activities and initiatives to promote equity, diversity, and inclusion and helping libraries to do the same.
RAILS works hard to build effective relationships with staff at member libraries and the system has an excellent reputation. RAILS also collaborates with like-minded partners throughout the state of Illinois to advocate for additional funding and other resources for libraries, and the system also helps libraries promote their value to important stakeholders.
A current list of RAILS programs and services is available on the RAILS website. Though the system’s focus will always be on connections, RAILS is light on its feet, and is constantly looking for new and more effective ways to meet member needs, including the potential future needs members may not yet be aware of. RAILS is a very collaborative, member-focused organization, and the RAILS staff is one of the system’s greatest assets. The Executive Director works closely with staff to improve current offerings and to envision new programs and services to serve all member libraries more effectively.
RAILS is headquartered in Burr Ridge, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago. Downtown Chicago and its outlying suburbs provide every amenity possible from professional sports teams to world-class museums and cultural institutions to excellent cuisine and events year-round. Since RAILS covers such a broad geographic area, the Executive Director will also have the opportunity to explore other parts of the state as well, including hiking and biking trails along the Mississippi River, and state parks such as Starved Rock, the Grand Canyon of the Midwest.
Responsibilities: The Executive Director is employed by and reports to the RAILS Board of Directors and is responsible for the overall management and administration of the system. This includes managing an annual budget of $15.1 million and ultimate responsibility for 94 staff positions across five facilities.
Specific responsibilities include but are not limited to providing executive leadership in the overall administration and management of a multitype library system; maintaining a systemwide, statewide, national, and global perspective consistent with the system’s mission statement and strategic plan; formulating an overall strategic vision; working closely with the system board, staff, and member libraries to develop and implement services responsive to member needs; and fostering a success-oriented, member-focused, innovative, and accountable organization.
Qualifications: An MLS degree from an ALA-accredited library school, a minimum of 10 years of progressively responsible library management experience with five years at the senior and/or executive level including supervision of professional and supervisory staff are required. Preferred qualifications include someone who is highly collaborative and effective at building and maintaining relationships with RAILS staff, staff at member libraries, and others. The ideal candidate will also possess knowledge of and experience working with the Illinois legislative process affecting libraries; knowledge of the principles and practices of library system administration; hands-on experience in long-range planning and budgeting; and proven experience operating and influencing within a political environment.
Compensation: The hiring salary range is $155,000 – $175,000 (with placement negotiable dependent on experience and qualifications) and an excellent fringe benefits package.
For further information, contact Bradbury Miller Associates. Apply via email with a meaningful cover letter and your resume as Word or PDF attachments to Briana Trudell. This position closes on Sunday, November 27, 2022.
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