Head of Library Services

Open Society Foundations

The Strategy Unit shares a vision of the Open Society Foundations (OSF) as a thoughtful, self-reflective philanthropy unafraid to change with the world and address its most complex problems. To help get there, the Strategy Unit supports program and foundation staff as they create and implement “living strategies” to signal plans, share new ideas and approaches, align actions, delegate authority, budget resources effectively, assess progress, and hold themselves accountable. We work to translate the knowledge, experiences and successes of our colleagues in the field into practical guidance. We create spaces to challenge assumptions and inspire fresh and different thinking.   We also provide a range of strategic supports: supporting efficient collaboration at OSF, providing guidance new enterprises that can add strategic value to the field, offering research support, and providing expert assistance in advancing youth and arts in strategies.

The OSF Library, housed within the Strategy Unit, is an evolving knowledge management resource offering access to and curating both internal and external information. The Library serves as a resource to staff in all stages of their work: supporting them in staying current in their fields, continuing their education, and making informed decisions. This in turn better positions them to improve upon the development, implementation, and also assessment of their strategies. The Library is available to programs and foundations as they develop and update their strategies and prepare for ongoing portfolio reviews by providing research support and research skills training, as well as increasing awareness and encouraging the use of OSF’s existing internal knowledge.

Job Profile

The Head of Library Services is a full performance role of significant independence and responsibility which operates with a high degree of responsibility, accountability, and potentially, creativity

The Head of Library Services is a service-oriented but strategic role that interfaces with staff across all OSF units, providing research support and research skills training across the strategy cycle, as well as maintaining awareness and use of internal knowledge assets.  Placed within the Strategy Unit, (s)he also coordinates with colleagues supporting staff in developing and assessing their strategies and looks for new opportunities to coordinate and align services on an ongoing basis.

The Head of Library Services supervises an Associate Librarian and is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the library including the management and maintenance of OSF’s suite of library resources. These services are available to all OSF projects, departments, staff, and Fellows across the globe. The ideal candidate will bring expertise in information and library science applied within a complex organization, stellar people and project management skills, and an interest and appetite for creative communication and knowledge management.

The Head of Library Services is also responsible for problem solving, either autonomously or collaboratively, and contributes to the overall integrity of the Library as well as the broader Strategy Unit.

The Head of Library Services may also supervise Interns, temporary staff, and any future new hires in the Library. Project management is common, and skills required include effective deployment of time, money, and human resources, intra-departmental coordination, effective communication, and collaborative problem solving. This role relies on forging collegial relationships in the field of specialization, both internally and externally.

Responsibilities may include any or all of the following and/or similar activities:

  • serve as the main point of contact for library and information services to OSF staff and Fellows
  • promote the services provided by the Library across the global OSF network while seeking ways to  improve effective and creative information and data use across our global network
  • collaborate on projects with other knowledge management units within the OSF network
  • coordinate with colleagues in the Strategy Unit to stay abreast of and respond to knowledge needs throughout the annual Strategy-Budget cycle and the ongoing process of Portfolio Reviews; some of the work on Portfolio Review support may be in partnership with Presidential Fellows
  • supervise and support Associate Librarian in acquiring articles, books, and reports for OSF projects, departments and staff according to their requests via inter library loan and/or purchase.
  • assist with research needs through answering reference requests and compiling focused collections of information requested by OSF staff and Fellows
  • maintain the OSF digital library catalog, along with Associate Librarian
  • support Associate Librarian in managing subscriptions to online databases and periodicals available to all staff
  • set up information alerts in various databases for OSF staff and projects
  • orient new staff and Fellows to OSF information services
  • supervise the Associate Librarian
  • administer and inform OSF staff of OSF’s memberships in affinity groups of funders
  • participate in professional organizations, such as the American Library Association, the Consortium of Foundation Libraries and/or the Special Libraries Association (SLA)
  • present at conferences such as the Internet Librarian, the National Online Meeting or Special Libraries Association as needed
  • provide database and research training to staff, as needed

Candidate Profile

  • bachelor’s degree (B.A.) from a four-year college or university with several years’ relevant experience, Master’s in Library Science or equivalent preferred but not required
  • leadership expertise in identifying current best practices and improvement of internal organizational systems and processes
  • experience in designing and building a new, digital Library service capability
  • expertise in innovative learning, research, and knowledge management approaches
  • knowledge of any of the following: Academic Search Complete,, Docline, Foundation Directory Online, HeinOnline, Ingenta, JSTOR, Leadership Library, LexisNexis, OCLC, PubMed
  • experience in managing multiple priorities under pressure and accomplish short- and long- term deadlines with a heavy workload
  • demonstrated management skills in large and complex global organizations;
  • flexibility and willingness to work simultaneously on a wide range of tasks and projects
  • demonstrated experience in budget, technical and financial management functions
  • outstanding written and verbal communication skills
  • proven ability to build and maintain relationships with a wide array of people with diverse backgrounds throughout a complex organization
  • proven leadership qualities with delivering superior results
  • professionally competent to make administrative, procedural decisions and judgments on sensitive and confidential issues
  • effectively interact with staff on all levels
  • ability to work independently
  • identify and resolve sensitive matters and situations
  • professional and strong interpersonal skills to effectively interact with colleagues from diverse backgrounds
  • excellent computer skills, proficient in Microsoft Office
  • candidate should be customer-service oriented, have the ability to work quickly with attention to detail, and provide high quality work product
  • a forward-thinking approach to providing research in a fast-paced organization is a must

Application Instructions: Please upload a cover letter and resume as one document when submitting an application.

Work Environment and Physical Demands:

Essential functions are typically performed in an office setting with a low level of noise.  Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

We are strengthened by the diversity of our colleagues across the Open Society Foundations, and we welcome and actively seek applications from people of all cultures, backgrounds, and experiences.


New York
New York
Arts, Culture, and Humanities
Posted on:
April 3, 2017

How to Apply