Library Director

City of Abilene, TX | Full-time

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The Position

The City of Abilene is seeking a Library Director who will have the exciting opportunity of planning the relocation of the Main Library to a new state-of-art facility. The Director is responsible for overseeing all library operations, including personnel, budget, resources, and department plans and policies.

This individual is responsible for providing leadership and guidance, as well as directing the day-to-day operations of the City’s library system and ensuring the library’s services, programs, and materials meet the needs of the community and its patrons. The next Library Director will be responsible for developing and implementing a vision for Abilene’s Library System and developing long and short-range goals, including facilities and technology expansion, identification and development of funding sources, collections development, and public relations activities.

The Library Director reports to the Deputy City Manager and has seven direct reports: Librarian III (1), Librarian II (5), and an Administrative Assistant. This position meets with and maintains effective relationships with government officials, the Abilene Public Library Board, and the Texas State Library. The Library Director serves on the Abilene Library Consortium Administrative Council and is the City liaison to the Friends of the Library.

The Organization

The City of Abilene is a home rule city with a council-manager form of government. The City Council includes a mayor and six council members. The City Manager, City Secretary, City Attorney, Municipal Court Judge, and all Board and Commission members are Mayoral appointments approved by the City Council.

In Fiscal Year 2020, the City has an operating budget (all funds) of $219,148,580, a General Fund budget of $106,523,080, and 1,276 full-time employees. The City is organized into 12 departments: General Government, Human Resources, Finance, Planning and Development Services, Public Works, Information Technology, Police, Fire, Transportation Services, Community Services, Health, and Water.

The City’s mission statement is, “We work together to build and maintain a community of the highest quality for present and future generations,” and the City has the following core values: respect, integrity, service above self, and excellence in all we do. The organization has adopted strategic objectives that align with individual department goals and work plans.

Abilene Public Library System

The mission of the Abilene Public Library is to provide materials, services, and programs to help community residents obtain information that meets their personal, educational, professional, and recreational needs. The City provides traditional library services, such as children’s services, circulation, and reference assistance, while also trying to meet the demand for high-end technological needs. In Fiscal Year 2019, the library system had 514,438 visitors, checked out 832,860 items, and issued 5,924 new library cards. For Fiscal Year 2020, the library system has 37 full-time employees and over 20 part-time staff and a budget of $3.1 million.

Abilene’s Library system includes the Main Library and two branch locations – the South Branch and Mockingbird Branch. The Main Library is the primary location of the Abilene Public Library, located in downtown Abilene. With three floors, all of which are accessible to the public, this location houses the largest and most diverse collection of the three branch libraries.

The South Branch Library was the second branch established for the Abilene Public Library, first opening its doors in 1998 in a 5,000 square foot storefront in south Abilene. In 2016, this location was successfully relocated to the Mall of Abilene and is now in a 20,000+ square foot facility that offers even better services for those residing on the south side of Abilene. The Mockingbird Branch Library, which is located in the Edgewood Shopping Center, is the third branch location and has served the community in northwest Abilene since 2009.

Abilene Heritage Square

As a part of the Abilene Heritage Square project, the Main Library will be relocated to a new state-of-the-art facility in 2023. The Abilene Heritage Square project is the redevelopment of the former Abilene High School/Lincoln Middle School buildings and campus. This historical 1923 academic building and 1929 gymnasium will be renovated while preserving their historic façades. New construction sensitive to the historical structures will be added to the west side of the academic building, creating a contemporary learning center for Abilene. The project will retain and enhance the property's historical elements, including the north façade and the Eagle's Nest. In late 2019, the Abilene City Council deeded over the property to the Texas non-profit 501(c)(3) corporation, Abilene Heritage Square, Inc. The estimated costs of renovation are $41.5 million, which include $1.5 million in endowment funds for the long-term maintenance costs of Abilene Heritage Square.

The new library design will integrate the latest technology and will provide space for library programming, including options like a recording studio and the ability to check out computers, tools, and equipment. Meeting rooms and private study areas will be available, along with an adjacent coffee shop.

The Ideal Candidate

The City of Abilene is seeking an innovative and dynamic library professional to serve as its next Library Director. This individual has a commitment to public service, is passionate about libraries, believes in providing outstanding customer service, and has high ethical standards and integrity.

The next Director is an experienced library professional who is well-respected in this field and has a clear vision for the future of libraries while recognizing the emerging and changing technology trends in the profession. The ideal candidate also has a firm grasp on the core functions of libraries and believes that libraries are essential to communities as a place to gather and learn. The ideal candidate is forward-thinking, open to new ideas, and a good listener. The Library Director is capable, competent, and balances multiple priorities and projects.

The successful candidate is skilled in budget and grant management. The Director demonstrates sound judgment and effective decision-making and provides thoughtful recommendations to staff, City leadership, and elected officials. This individual remains calm during high-pressure situations.

The next Library Director is a relationship builder who effectively works with and engages diverse groups of individuals and organizations. This person is approachable and accessible and instills trust throughout the community, region, and organization. The successful candidate is a skilled communicator who demonstrates cultural sensitivity and understands the importance of effective civic engagement and providing accurate and timely information.

The Library Director is open and demonstrates a collaborative management style. This person leads a team of professionals and is fully invested in their continued development and success. The ideal candidate engages with Library staff and provides mentorship, support, direction, and feedback. The Director encourages and motivates employees and has experience in employee development and workforce planning.

Experience and Education

The position requires a master’s degree in Library or Information Sciences or a related field from an ALA-accredited college or university, a minimum of five years of progressively responsible library experience in a service institution with comparable demands and responsibilities, and at least two years in management/supervisory role with experience working with the public and a governing body/board.

Preferred qualifications include being familiar with and knowledgeable of emerging trends in library science, familiar with implementing process improvements, and the ability to learn and operate various computer software applications including NEOGOV, Kronos, CivicPlus OCLC, Sirsi/Dynix Workflows, and Lawson.

The Community

The City of Abilene, Texas, is located approximately 180 miles west of the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex, near the geographic center of the state. Conveniently connected east-west by Interstate Highway 20 and north-south by U.S. highways 83, 84, and 277. Abilene serves as the county seat for Taylor County, one of 254 counties in Texas.

Abilene was established in March 1881, upon the completion of the Texas and Pacific Railroad. Abilene's civic progressiveness and logistic function as a regional center for distribution, commerce, industry, transportation, and education provide an assortment of lodging, dining, cultural, and retail opportunities typically found only in much larger cities.

Today, more than 120,000 friendly people call Abilene home, and the City represents an eclectic mix of Old West heritage, contemporary culture, and traditional values. As a Top Texas Destination, there is something for everyone in Abilene. For instance, visitors can feed the giraffes at the Abilene Zoo or relive rugged western lore through cutting-edge technology at Frontier Texas.

Art enthusiasts can find inspiration at various museums and cultural events held in Downtown Abilene, such as ArtWalk, City Sidewalks, and the annual Children’s Arts and Literacy Festival. Conveniently located at the center of a 22-county area known as the Big Country, Abilene is a centerpiece for employment, retail, and medical services in West Texas. While the City continues to expand, both the manufacturing and wind energy industries have increased to meet growing demand and opportunities. The urbanized areas (population, business, industry, medical and education institutions) are clustered primarily inside the City limits of Abilene. These elements serve not only Abilene’s interests but also those of a large rural community focused on farming, ranching and resource production.

Interstate and state highways, Union Pacific Railroad cargo service, and air travel via Abilene Regional Airport provide citizens and industry easy access to transportation services. For those pursuing higher education, students may choose between three universities, a college, a technical college, a pharmacy school, and schools of nursing.

The City boasts attractive and affordable housing, excellent schools, a revitalized historic downtown, an assortment of tourist attractions, recreational possibilities, top-notch medical facilities, a regional industrial hub, Dyess Air Force Base, and a philanthropic community.

Quick Facts:

  • Abilene Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA): 172,310
  • MSA Civilian Labor Force (as of August 2019): 76,141
  • Population: 123,403
  • Number of Households: 46,225 
  • Average Age: 32.2
  • Average Household Income: $63,224
  • Average Homestead Appraised Value: $133,551

Demographic data was sourced from the Community Profile section of the FY2019-2020 City of Abilene Budget.

Compensation

The salary range for this position is $115,000 base depending on qualifications, with an excellent benefits package.

How to Apply

Applications will be accepted electronically by The Novak Consulting Group. Applicants complete a brief online form and are prompted to provide a cover letter and resume. Open until filled with the first review of applications on March 30, 2020. 

Questions

Please direct questions to Jenn Reichelt at jreichelt@thenovakconsultinggroup.com or 513-801-6326.

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