Assistant Director, Research Services – New York Public Library – New York, NY


The New York Public Library is one of the worlda��s great public research libraries. Its four research centers provide opportunities for engagement with in-depth and unique collections, inspirational reading rooms, exhibitions, programs, and a range of research services. The Collections and Research Services Department is responsible for establishing a unified strategic vision for NYPLa��s Research Collections, including aligning budget resources to support and enhance collecting priorities; formulating and implementing a clear, responsible collection management and preservation plan for the lifecycle of all research collection material; and coordinating the development and assessment of research services and systems that position the Library as a vital resource to support learning, creativity, scholarship, and enterprise.


Reporting to the Astor Director for Collections and Research Services, the Assistant Director for Research Services is a new position providing leadership in establishing a consistent customer service experience across research library-wide strategic services and collection initiatives. With key partners from across the Library, the Assistant Director works to establish best practices, and clear policies and procedures for effective research services and operations, including access operations that promote excellence in public service. Manages a public services working group to provide input to the Digital team on the design and functionality of the Catalog, as well as online platforms such as Discovery, Digital Collections, and the Librarya��s website. Develops an approach for incorporating data on user experience into research services and oversees ongoing evaluation and assessment of services. Promotes the use of digital collections and digital literacy through an active training program, and fosters awareness of new developments in publishing, research trends, and digital collections. Supports library-wide staff initiative in the expansion of consultation services, class instruction, outreach, and programming based on the research collections.

  • Lead a coordinated conversation with public service managers and coordinators of reference and research services across the Research Libraries to identify and establish best practices in reference and delivery services
  • Assist in drafting and disseminating new policies to support consistent practice
  • Convene and lead a public service working group on user needs and functionality for online tools such as the Catalog, Discovery, Articles and Databases page, and the website pages supporting research. Serve as liaison to Digital team to provide input on priorities for development and rollout of improved services
  • Oversee research service initiatives that promote broader access to the research collections, such as the MaRLI lending program
  • Oversee the discoverability and promotion of electronic resources; develops a robust training program to promote their effective use in reference service
  • Design and implement new tools that promote the collections and staff subject expertise, for example, staff profiles, and LibGuides
  • Coordinate ongoing research libraries-wide assessment across various activities, including collection partnerships, such as MaRLI and the ReCAP Shared Collection, circulation, programming and user surveys
  • In conjunction with the Assistant Director for Collection Development, coordinate collection and research service activities with the CUNY Graduate Center and other strategic partners

Key Competencies

  • Accountability and Professionalism a�� Demonstrates enthusiasm for and commitment to the position and accepts responsibility for personal actions.
  • Customer Service a�� Commits to meeting the expectations of internal and external customers. Listens and responds effectively to customer questions; resolves customer problems to the customera��s satisfaction; respects all internal and external customers.
  • Collaboration and Teamwork – Supports a positive team environment in which members participate, respect and cooperate with each other to receive desired results.
  • Job-Specific Knowledge and Skills – Plans, prioritizes, and organizes work effectively to produce measurable results; keeps current with and effectively applies new work methods, skills and technologies to complete work.
  • Leadership and Management – Provides direction, motivation and sets an example through open communication and modeling best practices. Demonstrates ability to motivate others to meet a common goal; and, recognizes and effectively leverages employeesa�� skills and abilities. Establishes realistic budget plans and demonstrates fiscal responsibility.
  • Performance Management and Development – Provides clear departmental strategic goals, individual employee performance expectations and criteria for performance measurement. Provides meaningful and appropriate advice, on-going feedback, support and resources to improve effectiveness of individuals and teams. Addresses performance problems in an appropriate and timely manner.


  • ALA-accredited MLS and minimum seven years of experience in an academic or research library setting with increasingly responsible or supervisory work in reference services and collection development
  • Successfully demonstrated knowledge and use of a range of online and print reference sources in the humanities and social sciences, including academic e-books
  • Successfully demonstrated experience in liaison and outreach work with faculty and students in an academic or research library setting
  • Successfully demonstrated experience in promoting collections and services in support of research and scholarly communication
  • Familiarity with social media, website editing and other office software applications
  • Experience developing and implementing new policies and workflows
  • Demonstrated ability to build consensus and promote productive teamwork
  • Knowledge of current issues and emerging trends in humanities and social science research
  • Successfully demonstrated experience in the areas of project or resource management, problem-solving and decision-making in a collaborative and coordinated work environment
  • Successfully demonstrated commitment to excellence in public service
  • Excellent interpersonal, oral, and written communication skills

Preferred Qualifications

  • Graduate degree in the Humanities or Social Sciences, preferred
  • Knowledge and experience working with and promoting the use of special collection material, preferred
  • Knowledge of foreign languages, preferably Spanish
  • Experience with evaluating the effectiveness of Discovery services and other online platforms

Work Environment

Office setting and Branch Environment

Union / Non Union

Non Union

To Apply

Submit an application online:

About John Pell

John Pell is an assistant professor and librarian at Hunter College in New York City.

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