Wednesday, February 20, 2008

President & Director

The Board of Trustees of the Free Library of Philadelphia is seeking an outstanding leader as its next President and Director, succeeding Elliot Shelkrot who is retiring after 20 years of distinguished service. The President and Director has the unique opportunity to have a lasting impact on one of Philadelphia’s most honored and treasured institutional resources by leading the organization at a time when the role of libraries is changing rapidly. The President and Director will be expected to lead a new strategic course that will ensure the institution’s continued pre-eminent standing at the national, state, local, and neighborhood levels, while remaining in the forefront of enhancing learning and the cultural growth of the citizens of Philadelphia and the region.

The agenda for the next President and Director will be challenging but fulfilling. In addition to being the public spokesperson for the 54 branches in the system and its 750 employees, the President and Director is responsible for a $55 million operating budget and the success of the $175 million Central Library Capital Campaign, the largest capital campaign in the institution’s history. World renowned architect Moshe Safdie has been selected to renovate the existing Central Library branch and to build a 200,000 square-foot addition. This will entail maintaining and strengthening relationships with multiple stakeholders, including city and state government officials, the corporate community, and philanthropic foundations.

The President and Director must be a person of consummate skill. The ideal candidate will be experienced in leading a complex organization, and have the knowledge and understanding of what is required for a large urban library to operate in major US city with a diverse population. The ideal candidate must recognize the power of technology to disseminate knowledge and expand the availability of information in the digital age. Library experience is a plus but not a requirement. The new President must be able to demonstrate a passion for the importance of reading and the empowerment of learning. Experience in Board development and leadership is critical, as well as the ability to engage foundations, corporations and individuals in the philanthropic support of the Library, while maintaining public support. The position offers an extraordinary opportunity to provide leadership for one of the largest library system’s in the nation in, according to National Geographic Traveler, the “Next Great American City.”

Applicants should submit a current resume and a thoughtful application letter, expressing interest in the opportunity. All items associated with the search should be sent electronically to: Documents that must be mailed may be sent to Oliver Tomlin at Witt/Kieffer, 1600 Arch Street, Suite 918, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 19103. More information about the Free Library of Philadelphia may be found at its Web site:

Non-Discrimination Policy

The Free Library of Philadelphia prohibits discrimination against current or prospective employees on the basis of race, color, sex, religion, national origin, age, disability, sexual orientation, or any other legally protected characteristic.

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