MLS Executive Director Announcement and Position Description

Position Opening – Call for Applications, Executive Director

The Massachusetts Library System (MLS) seeks an experienced leader, strategic thinker, and enthusiastic library advocate to guide the development and implementation of statewide services to more than 1,600 multi-type libraries throughout Massachusetts.  This vacancy is being created by the upcoming retirement of the incumbent Executive Director.

The Massachusetts Library System operates out of two offices, in Marlborough and Northampton, MA.

The Executive Director will lead the team and work with the Board and membership to co-create a future-facing collaborative to support and nurture the success of the statewide library community.  Massachusetts libraries are champions in resource sharing with a long history of strong collaboration.  The MLS is a key player among the stakeholders who advocate for and strive to develop libraries and library services in the Commonwealth.

We seek a leader with a strong teamwork orientation and a commitment to customer service and collaboration.  Other skills important to this position include consortium library experience, understanding of libraries and their work, developing staff, fiscal and budget management, advocacy, developing/nurturing partnerships, contracting, and excellent communications skills.

Our mission states: “The Massachusetts Library System, a state-supported collaborative, fosters cooperation, communication, innovation, and sharing among member libraries of all types.  The MLS promotes equitable access to excellent library services and resources for all who live, work, or study in Massachusetts.”  The MLS Team is committed to providing services that benefit and contribute to the library profession’s core values:  diversity, inclusion, equity of access to information, free expression, privacy, and social justice.

We support provision of content electronically and through an outstanding physical delivery service contracted to a local courier, mediated ILL, and a contract for document delivery services.  We support the library workforce with extensive continuing education opportunities and consulting services from our professional staff; as well as with our unique temporary employment service called BiblioTemps®.  Other services include a statewide purchasing cooperative for materials and supplies, a shared ILS for smaller libraries called MassCat, and a strong statewide summer reading program that reaches thousands of residents.  We aspire to explore innovative ways to collaboratively strengthen libraries and bring the Massachusetts library community together.  We believe that Libraries are stronger when they work together.

Executive Director Position Description download here.

Applications received by April 18, 2018 will receive first consideration.  Please provide a letter of application, resume, and the names and contact information of three professional references.  We will notify candidates prior to contacting references.  Send applications to  Please state “Executive Director Application” in your subject line.  All applications will be acknowledged by return email.

About the Massachusetts Library System (MLS)

Our organization was formed by the merger of six regional library systems in 2010.  We were one of many groups of regional library systems that merged at that time as a result of that economic downturn.  MLS is a member-driven not-for-profit corporation governed by a 15-member Executive Board, which is elected by the membership.  MLS is funded chiefly by state appropriations through the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners and that funding has been slowly increasing since 2010 and exceeds $7.3 million per year.  Current staffing stands at 24.5 FTE.

MLS has two offices; in Marlborough and in Northampton.  Our Marlborough office is located 30 miles west of Boston (a thriving, rich cultural and historic city) and 18 miles east of Worcester (an emerging city with a growing cultural and business scene) in a suburban office park with easy highway access from I-495 and I-90 and outside the major rush hour traffic issues of the Boston area.  Our Northampton office is located 20 miles north of Springfield in a thriving, lively city, in a bedroom community to UMASS/Amherst, and close to a major highway.  Both locations offer a comfortable office with support, a meeting room, and modern training facilities.

About Massachusetts

CNBC ranked Massachusetts the smartest state* in the country.  We like to think that our libraries have a lot to do with that.  More people visit Massachusetts libraries in a year than attend the Boston Red Sox, New England Patriots, Boston Bruins and Boston Celtics games combined!

When people are not visiting their libraries, they are able to enjoy the rich history that abounds in Massachusetts.  The first settlements in Massachusetts are nearly 400 years old and our streets are filled with history that helped shape our nation.

Massachusetts’ educational system continues to be among the best in the nation and the world. Massachusetts students recently scored top among world leaders on reading, science, and math tests. World class educational institutions include Harvard, MIT, Wellesley, Smith, Amherst, Tufts, and 100 more.

Massachusetts is also home to Cape Cod, surrounded on nearly all sides by beaches, and the Berkshire Mountains with great hiking and camping.  The Commonwealth boasts a vibrant arts and culture community, championship major sports teams and our progressive state was the first in the nation to approve marriage equality in 2004.


Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Project SET Alumni Spotlight: Kirsten Underwood

Kirsten Underwood was a participant in our 2015 SET Cohort. Since completing SET Kirsten has been an active member of our library community. Kirsten has continued the work she did on her 2015 Project SET program by joining the Massachusetts Library System’s Tressa Santillo in the planning and development of the “Institute for Database Engagement and Leadership” (IDEAL). Kirsten is also currently serving on the MBLC’s Public Relations Advisory Committee.

What were your goals for Project SET? How did these develop throughout the Project? Did you meet them?
As everyone in my cohort can attest, my goals seemed to morph and change at every session. I was concerned with the amount of money we spend on electronic resources and wanted to determine the best way to encourage usage among my patrons. Was it a marketing issue or was I just not providing what my community really needed? While I never determined the definite cause I enjoyed digging more deeply into the problem and was very appreciative of the wonderful conversations and discussions among my fellow SET participants….they were great.

Identify one goal you have for your career, your library, and for the Massachusetts library community?
As part of my continuing interest in the problem of usage with digital resources I would like to develop some best practices. These would allow colleagues to more accurately predict what their patron base would want and or need from electronic sources and to determine the most efficient and effective marketing tools to make these resources less intimidating and more accessible to the general audience. To that end I was excited to join with MLS to co chair the IDEAL program (Institute for Database Engagement and Leadership). We hope to gain insights through this program for specific ways to increase the visibility and acceptance of the Gale resources and through this process gather ideas to use in promoting other electronic resources to the public.

Project SET is a professional learning cohort that supports the development of individual career goals and the exploration of other aspects of the library community. Every session provides the chance for participants to build knowledge, communication skills, connections, awareness, and confidence as an information professional.

For additional information about Project SET visit our LibGuide!   

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

BiblioTemps® on Location!

The Massachusetts School Library Association (MSLA) conference on March 25 and 26 at the DCU Center in Worcester, MA is a great place to stay connected to the library community. The Massachusetts Library System will be have a table where you can find out about all the great things MLS has to offer, including BiblioTemps®! Shelah Coullard, Bibliotemps Manager, will be available to answer any questions you may have about staffing solutions and employment opportunities. Hope to see you there!

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

School Library Commission finds inequities in Commonwealth’s schools

We are pleased to spread the news about the findings of the School Library Commission.  This special legislative commission engaged the library and school community along with thought leaders to study school libraries in Massachusetts and to report on findings and recommendations. The press release below provides a nice overview and a link to view the full report. Continue reading

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Storm Cancellations for the Week of March 19

Due to the winter storm warning, MLS is cancelling/postponing the following events/services:

March 22 [Cancelled] : Building Inclusive Collections: Why Cultural Competence is Essential in Libraries (with Mitali Perkins) Ashland

March 22 [Cancelled] : Building Inclusive Collections: How to Create a More Diverse Library Collection Ashland

March 22 [POSTPONED, date t/b/d] : Word of Mouth Marketing Power Celebration: Celebrate success, plan next steps, vow to keep it moving Northborough

March 23 [POSTPONED, date t/b/d] :  Word of Mouth Marketing Power Celebration: Celebrate success, plan next steps, vow to keep it moving Northampton

Print Friendly, PDF & Email