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Director, Swarthmore College Libraries

Job no: 494806
Work type: Full Time
Location: Swarthmore
Categories: Staff

Swarthmore College is a highly selective liberal arts college located in the suburbs of Philadelphia, whose mission combines academic rigor with social responsibility. Swarthmore has a strong institutional commitment to inclusive excellence and nondiscrimination in its educational program and employment practices and encourages candidates who will further advance the goal of fostering a diverse and inclusive community. As one of the nation’s finest institutions of higher learning, Swarthmore College is global in outlook and draws students from around the nation and world. The 425‐acre campus is a designated arboretum, complete with gardens, rolling lawns, a creek, wooded hills, and hiking trails in the Crum Woods. Swarthmore College was recently ranked number 3 in the 2021 US News Best National Liberal Arts Colleges rankings -

Position Summary:

Swarthmore College, a close-knit, deliberative community of intellectually driven students and a faculty whose scholarly attainments make it pre-eminent among national liberal arts colleges, seeks a new Director of its Libraries. The new Director will participate in strategic planning that, among other initiatives, will make the renewal of Swarthmore’s main McCabe Library a top institutional priority.

The incoming Director will have a rare professional opportunity: to manage the realization of McCabe’s next architectural incarnation based on conceptual planning now nearing its conclusion. McCabe’s renewed and expanded physical plant will anticipate the needs—and comforts—of its twenty-first century users, while also providing state-of-the-art conservation for the College’s existing collections and the flexibility to accommodate various forms of media that may emerge over the next half-century, as well as changing modes of library-centered pedagogy and undergraduate study. It will also integrate existing programming that is now spread over campus, and for which the library staff has partnered including a Teaching and Learning Commons, a Writing Center, and likely an art gallery and art storage. The renewal of McCabe will also create a greener footprint that fulfills Swarthmore’s sustainability commitments.

Essential Responsibilities:

Reporting directly to the Provost, the Director supervises six direct reports and a total staff of 40 FTEs. The Director oversees an operations budget of $3.18 million. In addition, the Director will develop close working relationships with Swarthmore’s Chief Information Technology Officer, Teaching and Learning Commons Director; Lang Center for Civic and Social Responsibility Director; Co-directors of the Aydelotte Foundation, and Vice Presidents for Human Resources and Advancement.

The Director’s duties will include:

  • Overseeing the day-to-day operations of the Libraries, administering all library resources and services for students, faculty, staff, visiting researchers, and the broader Swarthmore community.
  • Recruiting, developing, and coaching a library workforce in alignment with job expectations, professional roles, and the College mission, while facilitating mentoring across all departments.
  • Interacting at all levels in an academic setting, advocating effectively for the Libraries with a variety of constituencies.
  • Developing and monitoring a strategic plan that supports the overall mission of the College.
  • Leading a team of librarians and curators, archivists, and other staff to monitor and ensure that all financial commitments and expenditures protect the interests of the College.
  • Participating in the Tri-College Library Consortium with Haverford and Bryn Mawr and strengthening our relationships with PALCI (Partnership for Academic and Library Collaboration and Innovation), CNI (the Coalition for Networked Information) and the Oberlin Group.

The Director leads all aspects of library administration, including long-term planning, budget development and oversight, community and public relations, personnel selection, facilities management, effective stewardship, and ongoing resource assessment for the Swarthmore College Libraries, which comprise the McCabe Library for Humanities and Social Sciences, the Cornell Library for Sciences and Engineering, the Underhill Performing Arts Library, and the internationally important Swarthmore College Special Collections (including the Friends Historical Library, the Peace Collection, the College Archives, and the Rare Book Room).

An administrative staff position, the Director has voting privileges at Faculty Meetings and will be an active participant in newly launched College-wide discussions for creating and enhancing liberal arts teaching and learning in the 21st century.

Required Qualifications:

  • An ALA-accredited graduate degree in library and information studies is required.
  • At least ten years of successful administrative experience, including significant management and supervisory responsibilities.
  • A record of leadership that includes promotion of diversity, equity, and inclusion; and a demonstrated commitment to transparent and ethical decision making through consensus building.

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:

  • A collaborative decision-making style, empathy, and team orientation are essential.
  • Strong analytical, interpersonal, and motivational skills.
  • The ability to manage multiple projects concurrently
  • A command of budgeting, professional development, and mentorship.
  • Expertise in implementing diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives.
  • A strong service orientation, supporting the Libraries’ goal of improving discovery of and access to the full scholarly record.
  • Candidates should evidence an understanding of emerging challenges facing academic librarianship, including managing the transition from print to digital materials, storage of and access to print collections, the librarian’s changing role in the research cycle and keeping pace with technological advances while inculcating information literacy to a born-digital generation.

Swarthmore College has retained C. V. O’Boyle, Jr., LLC ( to support the College Librarian search. For full consideration, please submit a formal application (consisting of a cover letter with salary expectations, a CV or résumé) to by May 18, 2022. References will be required upon request.

Swarthmore College actively seeks and welcomes applications from candidates with exceptional qualifications, particularly those with demonstrable commitments to a more inclusive society and world. Swarthmore College is an Equal Opportunity Employer. Women and minorities are encouraged to apply.

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