Library Director and Chief Executive Officer, Mid-Continent Public Library


Headquartered in Independence, Missouri, Mid-Continent Public Library (MCPL) is the largest public library system in Missouri, serving nearly 800,000 people in the Greater Kansas City Metropolitan area across three counties. It ranks among the nation’s 20 largest public library systems. Through 35 branches and over 3.5 million items in its collection, the Library delivers exceptional services and programs, with a mission to enrich surrounding communities through expanding access to innovation, information, and ideas.

In 2017, the Library received additional funding and was able to increase its operating hours, enhance its services to customers, and launch a new mobile-friendly website. In 2018, the Library launched several construction projects including renovations of existing Library facilities and the addition of two new service locations.

The Library is governed by a 12-member Board of Trustees, which includes four representatives from each of the three counties in its district – Clay, Jackson, and Platte.

For more information, please visit


This position reports directly to the Board of Trustees and leads a team of over 700. Direct reports include the Chief Operating Officer, Human Resources Director, Finance and Facilities Director, Fundraising and Development Director, Chief Technology Officer, Internal Communications Director, Chief Customer Experience Officer, Community Relations and Planning Director, and the Construction and Maintenance Director.


The Library Director, as Chief Executive Officer, is responsible for planning, directing, and coordinating all activities of the Library system. As part of the collaborative leadership team of the Library, the Director administers a comprehensive program of library services as determined by the Board of Trustees to carry out the policies and goals of the Library system. Subject to general policies established by the Board of Trustees, the Director is responsible for planning the long-term development and directing the current operations of the Library program. Considerable authority, for performance of administrative and operational activities, is delegated and the major emphasis is on overall administration and coordination through professional subordinates. In conjunction, the Director keeps abreast of current library trends and supervises various department managers, furnishing necessary guidance to help fulfill the mission of the Library. The Director is responsible for modeling excellent customer service to all staff and customers and is responsible for being the public face of the
Library to the local community and the Library community.

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

  • Support, promote, implement, and make decisions based on established Library policies, guidelines, and programs; develop major long- and short-range goals based on direction from the Board of Trustees.
  • Use best practices, MCPL policy, and good stewardship principles to plan and allocate Library resources.
  • Attend all board meetings; plan and develop the service program of the system with approval of the Board.
  • Contribute positively to the efforts of the Library; consistently exhibit leadership qualities, a professional attitude, and behaviors.
  • Model excellent, proactive customer service attitude and delivery; assist customers and other members of the MCPL Team in a tactful and effective manner; support and work with direct reports to provide the best possible library service to the customers.
  • Actively participate in making the Library a welcoming and inclusive workplace; maintain an attractive, safe, and welcoming environment.
  • Conduct interviews, hire, supervise, and evaluate professional positions of those individuals under the position’s span of control.
  • Lead, guide, and assist with department manager goals; communicate with department leaders about their concerns and needs.
  • Develop a high-performance work team in an empowered environment; acknowledge and appreciate each employee’s contributions; model dependability and punctuality by reporting to work on time and prepared.
  • Develop and lead a professional staff, stimulate professional growth, and motivate professional effort and innovation to achieve a coordinated staff effort.
  • Communicate and work effectively with board members and staff; establish supportive and collaborative working relationships with co-workers and other departments/branches; negotiate for win-win solutions.
  • Work closely with the finance director in the financial matters of the system, including budgeting, personnel, etc.
  • Work with the public in areas of public relations and promotion; establish and maintain effective working relationships with community leaders, public officials, professional groups, and the public; work with the political and social structures of the community.
  • Contact neighboring library systems to compare policies, procedures, best practices, and investigate potential new products; participate in local, state, and national library organizations; develop library legislation and perform a wide variety of related tasks.
  • Support the Library’s adherence to the Missouri Public Library Standards including but not limited to the core competencies for library directors.
  • Understand the legal framework in which the Library operates.
  • Assess needs, set objectives, and evaluate the effectiveness of public library programs.
  • Select materials and provide guidance in the use of all library resources.
  • Manage, organize, and maintain library collections.
  • Make use of current and emerging technologies for information and communication.
  • Manage financial resources.
  • Manage fundraising, including grants, gifts, endowments, etc.
  • Manage human resources.
  • Provide continuing education.
  • Analyze the Library needs and evaluate Library services; determine community needs and interests in relation to Library services, and methods for meeting such needs.
  • Represent the Library system at professional library meetings, conferences, and on professional panels; attend conferences and workshops.


  • 10 years of extensive experience in professional library management.
  • Knowledge and support of the principles of intellectual freedom including the Library Bill of Rights and the Freedom to Read statement.
  • Possess a comprehensive and broad knowledge of the principles, methods, and practices of librarianship and library.
  • Possess a comprehensive knowledge of sound methods of management in relation to the operation of a growing public library system, including new developments in the library science profession.
  • Demonstrated knowledge of fiscal matters, including budgeting.
  • Life-long learner; willing to investigate new ideas.
  • Effective verbal, written, and discreet communication with management, coworkers, and the public.
  • Self-motivated with the ability to meet deadlines and manage changing priorities.
  • Demonstrated organizational, planning, and detail-oriented skills, with ability to perform multiple tasks concurrently.
  • Collaborative leadership style.
  • Excellent customer service attitude and delivery.
  • Able to perform duties requiring the exercise of professional skill, initiative, and independent judgment.
  • Conflict resolution skills.
  • Possession of a valid driver’s license and a reliable personal vehicle for use in carrying out the duties of this position including transportation of materials and equipment (mileage reimbursed).
  • Master of Library Science degree issued by an American Library Association accredited program.


  • Clarity of speech and hearing which permits the employee to communicate effectively with the supervisor and other employees.
  • Vision which permits the employee to produce and review a wide variety of library materials, written correspondence, reports, and related materials in both electronic and hard copy form.
  • Manual dexterity which permits the employee to operate a keyboard and any other assigned equipment to process library materials.
  • Personal mobility which permits the employee to monitor, supervise, and perform assigned library operations, and to attend library district, community, and public meetings at various locations.
  • Reasonable tolerance for dust, mold, scents, allergens, and communicable diseases which permits the employee to handle library materials, work in older buildings, and interact with coworkers and the public.
  • Ability to perform job requirements while adhering to MCPL’s safety protocols; includes wearing a mask and other protective equipment as directed during pandemic or other emergency operations.


Compensation will be commensurate with experience including a competitive base salary, performance incentive pay, and competitive benefits package.

NOTE: This job description is not intended to be all-inclusive. Employee may perform other related duties as required to meet the ongoing needs of the organization. Mid-Continent Public Library is an Equal Opportunity Employer and nothing in this Position Overview guarantees employment.


Chris Shade, Consultant