Director of Library Services, Braille Institute, Los Angeles, CA

The Library:

For 86 years now, the Braille Institute Library has served as Southern California’s official branch of the National Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled (NLS), a division of the Library of Congress. It is one of only two NLS branches that are privately operated and the only NLS Library operated by a private, nonprofit organization and serving people of all ages, at all stages of vision loss.

The award-winning Braille Library offers around 1 million books on audio, in braille, and in large-print format to over 20,000 patrons. As a result, tens of thousands of people each year use the Library to fill all their reading needs, ranging from necessary books for school or work to those for recreation and leisure. The Library offers a wide range of free programs for their patrons, including magazines and periodicals in braille and audio formats, a telephone reader program – both online and on the phone, a book-of-the-month club, descriptive videos, and more.

Braille Institute’s Library Program is the largest and among the most important the organization provides to those it serves. Many who are blind or visually impaired or who have reading or other physical disabilities cannot use standard printed materials, depriving them of reading and enjoying those materials which most take for granted.

As one of the largest libraries in the 55-branch NLS system, Braille Library provides reading materials in digital cartridge, electronic, braille, and large print formats to individuals who have a disability that prevents them from reading standard print. It is also the only library in Southern California dedicated to providing accessible reading materials to those who need them. The larger of the two NLS branches in California, Braille Library serves 10 counties that are home to two-thirds of the state’s population in need of accessible books.

In 2009 the Braille Library was named one of 10 recipients of the National Media for Museum and Library Service, the nation’s highest honor for museums and libraries. The annual award, given by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) recognizes institutions for outstanding social, educational, environmental, or economic contributions to their communities.

The Position:

Reporting to the Vice President of Technology and Business Solutions, the Director of Library Services is responsible for the leadership of the Braille Institute Library Program and for transforming it to reflect current best practices. This Director will lead the Library Services team to provide all educational, informational, and leisure time materials and resources for the visually impaired and disabled. S/he will directly supervise the Reader Services Manager and the Circulation Services Manager and will oversee and provide work direction to the Library Services team, comprised of 25 fulltime staff. In addition, the Director of Library Services will work closely with senior leadership in all seven regional locations to ensure their local library programs are providing consistent and optimal services to their respective patrons. This Director will also be responsible for managing and growing Braille Institute’s relationships with the State Library and National Library Service.

Responsibilities:

  • Oversee daily management and efficient operation of Braille Institute’s Library Services;
  • Provide leadership and vision to achieve department goals and objectives;
  • Lead a comprehensive assessment of current Library service programs and create a strategic plan, in collaboration with senior management, to advance all programs and related information/literacy services for the digital age, ensuring they reflect current best practices;
  • Provide strategic vision and direction, in collaboration with Braille Institute management and library staff, for special library programs and projects related to resource sharing, information literacy, digital library technologies, and other opportunities as they arise;
  • Lead, inspires, and further develop a highly skilled library staff;
  • Provide general management for the department, including hiring, training, evaluating staff performance, maximizing productivity, promoting teamwork, developing staff and, handling corrective action issues;
  • Identify and resolve problems and issues in order to provide optimal services for users;
  • Ensures a high quality and quantity of Library collection items;
  • Oversee department operating expense budget with accountability for variances;
  • Represents the Library at national, state and local conferences, workshops, and seminars, as well as a variety of local community groups;
  • Work with the Philanthropy Department on various fundraising opportunities;
  • Manage State Library and Telephone Reader Program grants; ensure compliance with National Library Service (NLS) guidelines.
  • Provides both narrative and statistical reports and other data to Braille Institute management, State Library, and National Library Service (NLS) as required;
  • Establish and maintain effective working relationships with other departments, regional centers, branch libraries as well as external partners.

Requirements:

The Director of Library Services is expected to support Braille Institute’s mission, vision and values, work collaboratively with others, contribute to the positive morale of the Library, and be a respected representative of the organization.

Required Skills, Experience & Personal Characteristics

  • Minimum of 10 years of progressively responsible work experience as a Librarian including at least 5 years in a managerial capacity. (A combination of education and experience which demonstrates the ability to successfully meet the requirements of the position may be considered);
  • Experience working with the blind and visually impaired is highly desirable;
  • Thorough knowledge of the principles of library science, organization, and functions, and thorough knowledge of library administration;
  • Proven, exceptional leadership and strategy development skills;
  • Excellent communication, presentation, decision making, organization, problem solving, and team building skills;
  • Collaborative, positive, and collegial management style with a history of successfully building and maintaining productive and effective internal and external relationships;
  • Ability to exercise discretion and sound judgement and to analyze and resolve problems;
  • Proficiency with computers, popular library software, internet, digital communications, and their application to strategic development;
  • Demonstrated commitment to continual learning and knowledge of new developments in the library profession, including technological advances.

Education:

Undergraduate degree required. MLS (Master of Library Science) degree preferred.

Kevin Chase Executive Search Group has been retained to lead this recruitment effort on behalf of Braille Institute. We are pleased to answer any questions or supply further information. Braille Institute is an equal opportunity employer. Kevin Chase Executive Search Group encourages applications from all qualified individuals without regard to race, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, national origin, marital status, citizenship, disability, or veteran status.

Inquiries, nominations, or applications (including a cover letter and resume/curriculum vitae) should be directed electronically and in confidence, to: search@kevinchasesearch.com

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