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Illinois Library Association – Executive Director

Alford Executive Search, a division of KEES, has been exclusively retained by the Illinois Library Association (ILA) in its search for a new Executive Director.


ILA seeks a mission-driven executive leader with strong programmatic, interpersonal, management skills. The new Executive Director will hold a deep commitment to the library profession’s foundation and ethics and bring experience in a membership association governed by volunteers. Strong candidates will have progressive experience leading a complex, statewide, or multisite nonprofit or association with a significant advocacy component. The successful candidate will continue and build new external financial partnerships, grow membership, practice geographical outreach and, as a partner to the Executive Board, lead the association into the future. The ILA office is currently in Chicago.


The Executive Director will be a goal-oriented, accomplished leader who is passionate and committed to the value of public libraries which provide free and equal access to information, as well as the diverse offerings of academic, school and special libraries which provide invaluable intellectual freedom opportunities to Illinois stakeholders. S/he is visionary, with the ability to develop strong external partnerships. Familiarity with the types of mission-focused programs and services offered by ILA is important, and a familiarity with issues of importance to the members who make up the ILA is essential.


This position offers a competitive salary with strong benefits. All inquiries will be held in strict confidence.


Illinois Library Association is an equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, gender, religion, age, sexual orientation, national or ethnic origin, disability, marital status, veteran status, or any other occupationally irrelevant criteria.


Specific Requirements Include:

  • Commitment to ILA core values, including experiences with managing a diverse body of members and potential members.
  • A minimum of 7 years of progressive experience in leadership and management, with documented ability to manage staff and lead teams and bring cross-cultural competencies.
  • Proven ability to build strong external relationships with a variety of volunteers, public leadership, partner organizations and other stakeholders.
  • Association leadership experience in an institutional based membership association is preferred.
  • Track record in financial management, stewardship, and developing strategies to successfully increase revenue, including experience in managing an effective philanthropic program.
  • Proven success in building strong and productive work teams with a focus on mentoring and nurturing staff development.
  • Experience in a state-wide or multi-geographic organization where the leader must be “present” at various meetings and events.
  • Strong analytic and strategic-thinking skills, with demonstrated ability to create, implement and monitor complex plans, and translate those plans into goals and concrete strategies.
  • An understanding of both traditional and emerging trends in how libraries serve their communities is preferred.
  • Career track record that shows stability with an organization and capacity to develop and nurture relationships culminating in overall success.
  • Library leadership experience is preferred.
  • BA/BS degree required; MLS, MBA or related advanced degree(s) strongly preferred.



Candidates must complete the online application at http://alfordexecutivesearch.applicantstack.com/x/openings and thereon submit their cover letter and resume.


To assure confidential tracking of all applicants, no applications will be accepted via email. ALL INQUIRIES WILL BE HELD IN STRICT CONFIDENCE.


This search is being managed by Heather Eddy, President and CEO and Laura Weinman, Senior Consultant of Alford Executive Search. Questions may be addressed to: lweinman@alfordexecutivesearch.com





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