Chief Customer Officer / Library Director, Charlotte Mecklenburg Library


The roots of the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library (the Library) can be traced to 1891 when, during a period of Charlotte history characterized by boom and civic pride, a group of prominent citizens organized the Charlotte Literary and Library Association. In 1901, the directors of the Association transferred control of the Library to the City School Commissioners so that the general public and students would have access to the collection. Subsequently, philanthropist Andrew Carnegie agreed to donate $25,000 for a library building if the city would furnish a site and taxes to support operations. This building, with an imposing classical façade, was dedicated and opened to the public in July, 1903. In 1918, the first push for county-wide service came and the Library Board, along with the City and County Boards of Education, established school libraries as public library branches. In the 1930s bookmobile service was established to serve the rural areas of the county. Over the next several decades, the Library established town libraries and new branches were continually added to keep pace with the rapid growth of the city and county. Now located in the most populated, and the most densely populated, county and city in North Carolina, the Library serves hundreds of thousands of Mecklenburg County’s (the County) diverse population of approximately 1,115,000, while also responding to the needs of individual library visitors. Further, with 6.9 million residents within 100 miles, Mecklenburg County and Charlotte lie in the heart of a region that is the sixth largest urban area in the US and the Library’s role as a provider of lifelong education in the community has never been more relevant and timely.

The Library was created by the North Carolina General Assembly as a separate body corporate and is governed by an 11-member board of trustees. The Library receives nearly 90% of its operating funding and almost all of its capital funding from Mecklenburg County. The Board of County Commissioners approves annual funding for the Library and appoints 10 of its 11 trustees. The lone remaining trustee is appointed by the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education.

The Library improves lives and builds a stronger community through four delivery channels — 20 fixed locations; a digital branch; an outreach team; and soon a mobile library. Library programs, services, collections, technology, spaces and staff are available to everyone in Mecklenburg County. The Library employs roughly 480 individuals (425 FTEs), and has a volunteer workforce of 1,500 library lovers who contribute hours that approximate another 30 FTEs.

In 2015, the Library embarked on a visioning project entitled Blueprint 2025 to envision the future of the Library. Blueprint 2025 brought together a diverse group of stakeholders including the community-based Library Board of Trustees, Library staff, Mecklenburg County staff, subject matter experts, Library customers, and community members. Inspired by Elizabeth Merritt,
Founding Director of the Center for the Future of Museums, who said, ‘To survive and thrive, museums must provide something that is essential or addictive,’ the Library moved ahead with the idea that a Library, too, must be essential – even addictive – to its community.

Emerging from this project, the Library sought to accomplish its mission (improve lives and build a stronger community) and achieve its vision (the essential connector of a thriving community of readers, leaders, and learners) by focusing on three guiding principles – an Essential Community Connector, a Welcoming Place to All, and a Destination for Learning. As such, the emerging theme for the Library is the Library as Public Commons. The Library set specific targets for being “Essential in 2025″, including:

  • The Library is integrated into every part of the community.
  • Library facilities that deliver programs, services, collections, technology, spaces and staff that can be accessed within 15 minutes by every resident, especially seniors, immigrants, those living in poverty and experiencing homelessness, and people with disabilities.
  • Self-service library kiosks and online portals complement traditional services to give residents more convenient options.
  • Library services are personalized to individual needs.
  • Library staff reflect the diversity of the community.

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This position reports directly to the Chief Executive Officer and will serve as an officer of the Library organization; a member of the Library Strategy & Policy Team; a member of the Expanded Leadership Team; and along with the CEO will represent Charlotte Mecklenburg Library in various local, state, and national settings. Also reporting to the CEO are the Chief Community Officer, Chief Capacity Officer and Chief Innovation Officer.

Positions reporting to the Chief Customer Officer/Library Director include: Robinson-Spangler Carolina Room Leader; Education Leader; Outreach Channel Leader; Digital Channel Leader; Branch Channel Leader; and the Circulation Leader.


The fundamental purpose of the Chief Customer Officer/Library Director position is to serve as the Library Director and lead the delivery of professional library programs, services, collections, technology, spaces, and staff to the community.

The CCO/LD is responsible for (1) growing library users, usage and impact; (2) delivering an ever-improving customer experience; and (3) building a talented, engaged, and dynamic library workforce.


The Chief Customer Officer/Library Director will:

  • Be very active externally, interacting daily with customers and customer-facing staff.
  • Supervise leaders for the four channels through which Library programs, services, collections, technology, spaces and staff are delivered — (1) physical libraries, (2) digital; (3) outreach, and (4) mobile library.
  • Oversee Library educational offerings and activities aligned with key community initiatives, guided by an Education Leader.
  • Oversee circulation strategies and activities, and the Carolina Room through the leaders who manage those areas.
  • Partner closely with the Chief Innovation Officer to develop new ways to serve customers and support staff.
  • Partner with the Chief Community Officer to collaborate on partnerships, funding, and input into the Library story that is shaped and delivered to outside audiences.
  • Partner with the Chief Capacity Officer to coordinate on, and plan for, resource requirements for achieving customer-related and organizational goals and objectives.

Specific duties will include, but not necessarily be limited to:

Strategic Leadership

  • Develop and execute strategies designed to improve customer lives and build a stronger community; these strategies will support the Library organization’s annual operating plan, three-year enterprise business plan, and longer-range vision.
  • Monitor current trends, and anticipate future customer needs, in order to provide the best possible resources and services to the community.

Operating Leadership

  • Direct physical library, digital, outreach, and mobile library channels and supervise their leaders to achieve growth in users, usage, and impact while providing consistently excellent customer service.
  • Oversee the delivery of programs, services, collections, technology, spaces and staff through the Library’s four distribution channels and education activities.
  • Oversee growth and optimization of the Library’s circulation activities.
  • Oversee the Carolina Room specialty library.
  • Serve as chief advocate for the Library’s customers and set an example for all staff.

Organizational Development

  • Organize and structure to achieve mission, support key strategic distribution channels, provide authority to support responsibility, and balance positional responsibilities.
  • Work closely with the HR Leader to recruit and develop a highly-skilled and diverse workforce who have natural customer-service abilities, whose personal values align with the Library’s cultural principles, and who embrace continuous learning, improvement, and change.
  • Ensure customer-facing managers and supervisors are putting the right people with the right skills in the right positions doing the right things in the right way.
  • Maintain a positive work environment that attracts, retains, and develops high quality personnel who are collaborative, innovative, and inclusive.

Board and Volunteer Development

  • Update and educate the Board of Trustees on growth in users, usage, and specific impacts, as well as aggregate customer experience trends and results.
  • Support a thriving volunteer program in the Library branches.

Resource Development

  • Consult regularly with CEO and Chief Capacity Officer to review and discuss future funding requirements.
  • Collaborate with Chief Innovation Officer, Technology Leader, and Real Estate Leader to identify and prioritize needs and ideas that will improve the customer experience.
  • Collaborate with Library Foundation Executive Director on potential grant opportunities.
  • Develop partnerships that deliver best execution and extend the capacity of Library staff.

Financial Stewardship

  • Manage staffing and operating expenses within the established budget.
  • Identify favorable and unfavorable variances to budget in a timely manner and participate in solution discussions.

Brand Development

  • Leverage and support the Library brand architecture and brand promise.
  • Measure and share outcomes of programs and services to aid telling the Library story activities.


  • Preference for a minimum ten to twelve years successful and progressive Library leadership.
  • Comfortable fit with the Library’s FOREWORD cultural principles: Every voice counts; We over me; Think and act forward; Be a hero; Love what you do; Live your purpose.
  • Energy, passion, enthusiasm, and spirit that inspires fellow employees.
  • Energetic, highly interpersonal leadership style with a bias for personal face-to-face interactions with employees at their work site.
  • Proven success collaborating closely with direct managers/supervisors to find incremental value, unlock maximum potential, and produce optimal results.
  • Successful experience coaching and developing employees, supervisors, and managers.
  • Superior verbal and written communication skills with ability to make effective and educational presentations, of varying difficulty, to a variety of audiences.
  • Passion for serving customers.
  • Ability to create a work environment that embraces change at all levels, and the skills to lead these change processes.
  • Demonstrated use of innovation across library functions that results in increased productivity, increased excellence, and new benefits for customers.
  • Ability and a bias for working at a fast pace and making desired and/or necessary changes quickly.
  • Culturally proficient; demonstrated understanding of norms, values, and behaviors of various people, including direct experience working in multiple cultural and cross-cultural settings.
  • Knowledge of, and experience with, implementing and evaluating library services such as circulation, reference, programming, outreach, library operations, automated library technologies, readers’ advisory, and collection management.
  • Knowledge of, and experience with, project management methods, including budgeting, project coordination, project planning and analysis, workforce and staffing level planning, and communications.
  • Demonstrated ability to juggle multiple priorities simultaneously.
  • Experience in matrix management preferred.
  • Bachelor’s degree in related field; Master’s degree in library science from an ALA accredited institution is required.
  • NC Public Library certification is required or must be obtained within 90 days of employment.
  • Work schedule varies and flexes based on hours of operation; some weekend work required; moderate travel.


The Chief Customer Officer/Library Director will be a proven leader with demonstrated success in the delivery of complex public library services to urban and suburban communities, and will possess the following competencies:

  • Building and leading talented, creative, productive, high-energy, collaborative, and diverse teams.
  • Building trust and creating followership across the organization.
  • Making others around them better.
  • Building collaborative partnerships and relationships.
  • Leading and facilitating change.
  • Thinking critically.
  • Creating and supporting innovation at all organization levels.
  • Solving problems and making important decisions quickly.
  • Communicating effectively verbally and in writing.
  • Planning – operating, strategic, long-range visioning.
  • Coaching and managing performance.
  • Budgeting and budget management.
  • Creating and leveraging quantitative operating analytics.


Compensation will be commensurate with experience including a competitive base salary and competitive benefits package.

The Charlotte Mecklenburg Library is an equal opportunity employer committed to diversity in the workplace.


Coleman Lew Canny Bowen
6101 Carnegie Blvd., Suite 300
Charlotte, NC 28209
Ken Carrick, President
Janny DeLoache, Consultant