Executive Director of Libraries, the Art Institute of Chicago

The Art Institute of Chicago seeks an experienced Executive Director of Libraries who will provide strategic direction for its distinguished libraries, which are central to the research and educational missions of the museum.

The Ryerson Art Library and the Burnham Library of Architecture together form a major art and architecture research collection of nearly 500,000 print titles, 100,000 auction catalogues, 1,200 current serial subscriptions, extensive archives of artist’s and architect’s papers, and many digital resources.

A resource of national and international significance, the Libraries date to the museum’s founding in 1879 and figure among the largest art museum libraries in the world. The reading room, designed by Shepley, Rutan, and Coolidge, opened in 1901 and was restored to its original decorative scheme in 1994.

For well over a century, the Libraries’ collections and staff have offered critical support to the research mission of the museum. The collections reflect the rich array of cultures and eras represented in the museum’s encyclopedic permanent collection, with particular depth in 18th-21st century Western European and American art.

The Libraries also are the premier repository for both print and archival sources documenting Chicago architecture, offering nearly 150 archival collections and 50,000 published titles. With a generous grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation in 2000, the Libraries were among the first museum libraries to digitize and make accessible on the Internet both archival finding aids and digital images.

The Executive Director of Libraries will oversee a staff of 22 full-time employees as well as part-time staff, and will work closely with the curatorial, publications, and education staff to ensure that the Libraries’ collections and digital resources develop in alignment with the research, acquisition, and exhibition priorities of the museum. Reporting to the Deputy Director for Art and Research, the Executive Director of Libraries will play a leadership role in assessing the impact/potential of new technologies on the acquisition, management, and distribution of information.


  • MLIS degree and art/architecture background required. Must have five to seven years of broad-based and progressively responsible experience in an academic or research library, a minimum of five years managing library and/or archives professionals, and subject expertise in art history.
  • Understanding of evolving issues and trends in higher education, libraries, open access, and scholarly communication as well as the ability to engage library constituencies in meaningful discussions of these issues.
  • Strong executive leadership background with substantial management experience in planning, budget, and human resources.
  • Excellent interpersonal and communication skills and demonstrated ability to work collaboratively with a diverse population of museum professionals, faculty, students, and library colleagues.
  • Demonstrated success in development, fundraising, and public relations in a research library setting.
  • Understanding of current issues in scholarship in Art History and Architecture.
  • Experience and expertise as a bibliographer. Motivation and ability to develop print and digital collections that further the museum’s reputation for research excellence and align with areas of curatorial expertise and inquiry.
  • Commitment to the support of scholarly research including a demonstrated awareness of trends in scholarly communication.
  • A record of accomplishment in librarianship and service to the profession.
  • Knowledge of and familiarity with emerging technologies in library services.
  • Experience with special collections, archives, and rare books.
  • Knowledge of preservation and conservation protocols for library materials.

APPLY ONLINE AT: https://hrweb.artic.edu/recruit/applyjob.html

The Art Institute of Chicago is an equal opportunity, equal access employer fully committed to achieving a diverse workforce.

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