Executive Director - Reaching Across Illinois Library System (RAILS)

The Challenge – to lead a vibrant, connected, accessible network of libraries to improve public education and the quality of life for Illinois citizens (paraphrased from RAILS Vision Statement). The Board of Directors of the newly formed Reaching Across Illinois Library System (RAILS) seeks an innovative and creative leader—capable of achieving organizational consensus amid the diverse demands and expectations of staff, member libraries, public officials and citizens. The successful candidate will be able to envision enhanced library services, inspire others to initiate innovative change that supports the cooperative spirit of Illinois libraries, lead a team of highly-talented professionals and relentlessly pursue the vision, mission and values of the System.

Reaching Across Illinois Library System (RAILS) is one of two multi-type regional library systems in Illinois. RAILS was formed in 2011, through the merger of the Alliance, DuPage, Metropolitan, North Suburban, and Prairie Area library systems. Library systems are established by state law (75 ILCS 10/), the Illinois Library System Act). Funding for Illinois Library Systems is provided through the Illinois State Library and the Secretary of State, with funds appropriated by the Illinois General Assembly. The RAILS service area covers northern and western Illinois. The system serves more than 1500 public, private, university, and school library members, representing more than 3700 library facilities in a 27,000 square mile area. Although the city of Chicago is within RAILS' boundaries, and a number of RAILS member libraries are located in Chicago, the Chicago Public Library constitutes a separate library system. RAILS provides delivery service to support Illinois’ vast interlibrary loan program, technology support for more than 800 libraries’ electronic catalogs, and Talking Book Services that serve persons with visual or physical disabilities who cannot read conventional print material. For additional details on the System, the region and its libraries see RAILS Links.

Responsibilities. The Executive Director is responsible for providing executive leadership in the overall administration and integration of a multi-type library system that has been formed from five previously existing systems. The Executive Director will work closely with the System Board of Directors, System staff, member library directors and representatives, as well as Illinois Heartland Library System and Chicago directors and the Illinois State Library. Examples of core job functions can be found in the detailed job description at RAILS Job Description.

Qualifications. MLS degree from an ALA-accredited library school; and a minimum of ten years of progressively responsible library management, with five years at the senior and/or executive level including supervision of professional and supervisory staff. Desired knowledge, skills and abilities include: knowledge of principles and practices of library system administration; experience in long range planning and budgeting; strong verbal, written communication and listening skills; effective problem solving; organizational skills, including the ability to delegate authority, supervise and lead staff effectively at multiple remote sites; and proven experience operating within and influencing outcomes in a political environment. See the job description for additional details. Experience reporting to a governing board and knowledge of and experience working with the Illinois legislative process affecting libraries are highly desirable.

Compensation. The starting salary range is $100,000-$140,000 (dependent upon experience and qualifications) with a competitive benefits package.

For further information, contact Bradbury Associates/Gossage Sager Associates via email or call 816.531.2468. Apply via email with a meaningful cover letter and resume as Word or pdf attachments to Dan Bradbury or Jobeth Bradbury. This position closes May 6, 2012.