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Director of Library Initiatives

  • Post Date:January 13, 2020
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  • Employer Name Big Ten Academic Alliance
Job Description

The Big Ten Academic Alliance seeks a Director of Library Initiatives to provide innovative leadership and advance its ambitious programs of at-scale collaboration. Headquartered in the Midwest, the Big Ten Academic Alliance is the nation’s preeminent model for effective collaboration among research universities. For more than half a century, these world-class institutions have advanced their academic missions, generated unique opportunities for students and faculty, and served the common good by sharing expertise, leveraging campus resources, and collaborating on innovative programs.

Reporting to the Executive Director of the Big Ten Academic Alliance and working with the Library Deans/Directors, the Director leads efforts to leverage institutional resources and expertise toward an ambitious agenda with significant institutional benefits and broad academic impact. With a 60-year history of substantive collaboration, the Big Ten libraries are committed to realizing an interdependent, networked future. The libraries’ agenda pursues collective action to provide robust and enduring access to information resources, to advance models for more open and sustainable scholarship, and to engage shared investment in programs of efficiency and impact across the consortium.

As a member of the Big Ten Academic Alliance headquarters Leadership Team, the Director also works closely with the Executive Director and other leadership team members to set strategic priorities, establish operating policies, and develop and sustain a collaborative culture.

Big Ten Academic Alliance staff members are employees of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The Director position is a full-time, benefits-eligible, academic professional position. The Director of Library Initiatives is ideally located at the Headquarters office in Champaign, Illinois, but off-site locations may be considered for exceptional candidates.

For more information about the Big Ten Academic Alliance, visit

The University of Illinois is an Equal Opportunity, Affirmative Action employer. Minorities, women, veterans and individuals with disabilities are encouraged to apply. For more information, visit

Link to apply:

Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Develops and sustains a vision for collaboration and investment at-scale across member university libraries.
  • Working closely with the library deans/directors, helps shape the strategies the consortium pursues, oversees execution of those strategies, and continually works to build pathways to interdependence and coherence across member universities.
  • Explores and analyzes opportunities, identifies areas for collective action and innovation, and oversees initiatives through active engagement with project groups.
  • Advocates for the Big Ten Academic Alliance on issues of importance to research university libraries (e.g., scholarly communication, preservation, data management).
  • Develops robust communication strategies about collaborative library initiatives for member libraries and other Big Ten Academic Alliance leadership groups as relevant.
  • Actively engages with national, international, and other relevant organizations to promote the models and interests of the member libraries, identify opportunities for partnership, and contribute broadly to the interests of the research library community.
  • Ensures effective and impactful programs of cooperative licensing; library conferences; resource sharing; digitization; and shared print storage.
  • Manages or directly supervises the work of three full-time staff.

Required education, experience and qualifications:

  • Master’s degree required; advanced degree in related field preferred.
  • At least 5 years senior-level experience in coordinating complex collaborative library or similar projects for or in a research university, academic library, or cooperative organization.

Required knowledge, skills and abilities:

  • Demonstrated organizational abilities and leadership, including advancement of strategic projects or programs.
  • Demonstrated ability to work proactively and collaboratively across stakeholder communities.
  • Experience and facility with organizational planning, project assessment, and strategic negotiation.
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills.
  • Demonstrated ability to handle and prioritize multiple responsibilities.
  • Demonstrated commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion.


  • Political, communication, and interpersonal skills to guide, influence, and shape initiatives. Must be able to work across large, autonomous universities, work with many people at all levels of the organizations, build relationships with broad constituencies and vendors, and diplomatically move conversations and projects forward.
  • Project management skills. Must be able to interpret interests, devise strategies for execution, marshal forces in the participating universities, monitor progress, and sustain momentum.
  • Ability to move from facilitation, to leadership, to action on issues and projects, as each situation requires.
  • Ability to work effectively with others at the Big Ten Academic Alliance headquarters and with staff throughout the member universities in order to achieve objectives.
  • Ability to act decisively in a complex, multi-institutional environment.
  • Knowledge of libraries, technology, the research university environment, and the information resources marketplace.
  • Significant travel will be required of this position to attend meetings, workshops and professional conferences.


This position is a 100% full-time, benefits-eligible Academic Professional position. Salary is commensurate with experience and qualifications.  To ensure full consideration application materials must be received by February 10, 2020. Proposed start date for this position is as soon as possible. All candidates must create a candidate profile through and upload a cover letter, resume, and the names, addresses and telephone numbers of three professional references. Interviews may begin prior to the close of the search, however a hiring decision will not be made until after the search closes. For further information regarding application procedures, contact Jennifer Steiling at [email protected].

The University of Illinois conducts criminal background checks on all job candidates upon acceptance of a contingent offer.