Charles Deering McCormick University Librarian

Charles Deering McCormick University Librarian


Northwestern University seeks nominations for and expressions of interest in the position of the Charles Deering McCormick University Librarian. Reporting to the provost, the University Librarian will be expected to lead the Libraries in their mission to provide information resources and services of the highest quality for the University’s teaching, research, professional, and performance programs; foster internal and external partnerships and collaborations; collaborate with communities of scholars on and off campus; recruit and nurture a diverse, professional staff; and garner and manage resources toward strategic goals. The University Librarian also has responsibility for the Northwestern University Press.


The Libraries

Northwestern University Libraries serve the Evanston, Chicago, and Qatar campuses by providing access to more than 7 million books; 3.5 linear miles of manuscripts, archives, and unique materials; over two hundred thousand digital books, periodicals, and databases; and more than 300 terabytes of unique digitized content. Its distinctive holdings include the Charles Deering McCormick Library of Special Collections and University Archives, which houses more than 250,000 rare materials ranging from Mesopotamian tablets to its Femina collection, one of the largest second-wave feminism collections in the country, as well as extensive archives pertaining to Northwestern history; the Melville J. Herskovits Library of African Studies, the largest collection of materials relating to Africa in the world; the Music Library, recognized internationally for the John Cage Collection and a renowned collection of 20th century classical music; and the Transportation Library, home to one of the nation’s most complete collections of US environmental impact statements. There are currently 186 professional and support staff: 69 faculty librarians; 36 professional exempt staff; and 81 non-exempt support staff, along with student workers who provide service support in multiple areas.  

The University Press

From its inception, Northwestern University Press has been at the forefront in publishing important works of scholarship in the humanities and social sciences as well as quality works of fiction, drama, nonfiction, and poetry. Prestigious authors first published by Northwestern University Press have won the Nobel Prize in Literature, the National Book Award, and other major awards. The Press continues to publish works of enduring scholarly and cultural value, extending the University’s mission to a community of readers throughout the world.


The University

Northwestern enjoys a position as one of the country’s leading private research universities whose ambitions are enabled by an endowment of more than $15 billion. Recognized nationally and internationally for the quality of its educational programs, Northwestern University is home to faculty members who conduct innovative teaching and pioneering research in a collaborative, interdisciplinary environment that combines the resources of a major research university with the level of individual attention of a small college. It is distinctive for its diverse and influential professional schools. All told, Northwestern enrolls more than 21,000 full- and part-time students. The college admissions acceptance rate is 7%, and 70% of undergraduates choose to combine two or more areas of study. The University’s 1,500 full-time faculty members range from MacArthur Fellowship recipients to Tony Award winners. Their ranks include members of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Council of Learned Societies, and numerous other honorary and professional societies. Annual sponsored research awards have risen 127% over the past ten years and totaled $893 million in the most recent fiscal year.

The Position

The University Librarian reports to the provost and will be expected to fulfill the following leadership opportunities:


  • Enhance, support, and extend research and scholarship within the University
  • Build collaboration across Northwestern University
  • Represent the Libraries regionally and nationally
  • Manage resources to ensure a strong financial future
  • Increase resources through fundraising
  • Serve as one of the University’s senior leaders, advocating effectively for the library in institutional settings
  • Foster diversity, equity, inclusion, and access



Candidates must possess expertise in an academic discipline and/or the field of library/information science; a record of setting and achieving strategic goals; a proven record of managing people and resources effectively; and an uncompromising commitment to academic excellence and to the creation and support of a vibrant and broadly diverse community of faculty, students, alumni, and community members. A relevant graduate degree is required. Ideal candidates will have the following professional qualifications and personal characteristics:

  • Vision: A vision for the current and future roles that academic research libraries play in the creation, preservation, curation, and dissemination of information and a deep understanding of the changing nature of scholarly communication;
  • Leadership: Distinguished accomplishments appropriate for the leadership of a large, complex organization of professional librarians and staff in their current duties and through equitable professional development in an evolving environment;
  • Advocacy: Proven ability to articulate compellingly the centrality of the Libraries to the University’s pursuit of excellence in research, teaching, and service; and strong diplomacy and negotiation skills in conversation with collaborators, coalition partners, and vendors;
  • Innovation: Demonstrated success in integrating and leveraging  technology and research information and data resources to support and improve services, build collections, enable research, and build innovative programming;
  • Service: Proven ability to foster the excellence of research and education in support of faculty, students, and the wider community; as well as best practices in the acquisition, preservation, and use of printed and born digital materials, and distinctive collections;
  • Management: Experience with the management of complex organizational structures and the ability to foster engagement across a unionized and diverse workforce;
  • Financial acumen: Experience in financial management of budgets involving personnel, facilities, and programmatic resources;
  • Effective communication: Accessibility and the ability to communicate effectively with faculty, senior administrators, trustees, staff, students, alumni, donors, and other constituents; and
  • Fundraising skill: Prior experience in development is preferred but not required. The University Librarian serves as the lead fundraiser for the Libraries and must be willing to engage others often and as appropriate, on behalf of the library.


The Search

Inquiries, nominations, and applications are invited. Although the search will remain open until the position is filled, review of candidate materials will begin immediately. Candidates should provide, in confidence, a curriculum vitae, a letter of application that highlights administrative acumen and leadership experience, and the names and contact information of five references. References will not be contacted without prior knowledge and approval of the candidates.

Requests for the full position description and/or materials should be sent electronically via e-mail to the university’s consultant, Dr. Jonathan Fortescue of Park Square Executive Search, at Documents that must be mailed may be sent to Jonathan Fortescue, Ph.D., Managing Partner, or Kyle Meingast, Principal, Park Square Executive Search, LLC, 225 Franklin Street, 17th Floor, Boston, MA 02110. Phone: 617-401-2991.

Northwestern University does not discriminate or permit discrimination by any member of its community against any individual on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, pregnancy, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, parental status, marital status, age, disability, citizenship status, veteran status, genetic information, reproductive health decision making, or any other classification protected by law in matters of admissions, employment, housing, or services or in the educational programs or activities it operates. Individuals who feel they have been discriminated against on the basis of any of these classes should contact the University’s Office of Equity.