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The Seattle Public Library
Seattle, Washington, United States
27 days ago


Adult Services Librarian, African American Collection & Community Engagement 

Douglass-Truth Branch, 2300 E. Yesler Way, Seattle

The Seattle Public Library is actively seeking innovative librarians who see community engagement as essential to all aspects of developing, delivering, evaluating and improving programs, services and content. Successful candidates will be creative, self-directed professionals with a strong work ethic, a collaborative work style, a good sense of humor, and the ability to thrive in an environment that requires supportive teamwork to maintain a safe and welcoming service environment for patrons and staff. 

About us

The Seattle Public Library is Seattle’s center of information and knowledge and one of the most popular and valued services in the city. Library staff members are highly regarded by the public for their knowledge, quality of service and caring. Staff members are committed to the Library’s organizational values of respect, partnership, engagement, diversity, transparency and recognition. In particular, they demonstrate respect, engage in partnerships, and are transparent in their communications and intentions. 

A strategic priority of the Library is to foster an internal culture of innovation which focuses on creativity, engagement, learning and staff development. The Seattle Public Library is also firmly committed to Intellectual Freedom and the City of Seattle's Race and Social Justice Initiative (RSJI). To this end, all staff embrace Intellectual Freedom as a core value of the library and understand the role that the Library plays in creating a more equitable community with increased opportunity for historically marginalized individuals and families in Seattle

If you share these values and meet the qualifications, the Library invites you to apply for the Adult Services Librarian, African American Collection & Community Engagement position.

Position Description

This position will specifically work with the Library’s Collections Services Department to select and maintain materials that are part of one of the largest collections of African-American literature and history on the West Coast. The African-American Collection was established in 1965 through a donation by the local chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority. 

This position will be based in the Douglass-Truth Branch Library, which houses the African American Collection. In addition to responsibilities related to collection development and maintenance, the position will also be responsible for community engagement, including outreach and programming, focused on and responsive to the African American community in Seattle. The position will work collaboratively with librarians to serve adult audiences, as well as teens and young adults. High school and college students will especially be part of this position’s scope as the African American Collection can be a significant resource for high school and college students who wish to explore and understand the African American experience.

This position will be part of the Douglass-Truth Branch and Mid-City East Regional team, with the additional responsibility of serving as lead for building operations and information services. The Mid-City East Regional team includes the Capitol Hill, Douglass-Truth, Madrona-Sally Goldmark and Montlake branches. 

Position Responsibilities

  • African American Collection Management & Promotion: 
    • Serve as a liaison to the Collection Services Department for the African American Collection at the Douglass-Truth Branch. 
    • Support selection of materials by keeping current with publishing, film and music industry trends, local interests and popular culture related to the African American experience in the United States. 
    • Contribute to the development of collection standards, coordination and analysis of selection recommendations, formulation and implementation of the selection plan for the African American Collection at the Douglass-Truth Branch. 
    • Work with Selection Librarian(s) to create a collection review and maintenance plan for the African American Collection at the Douglass-Truth Branch including adherence to the Library’s Weeding Guidelines. 
    • Collaborate with the Special Collections Department on identifying and preserving unique and historically significant materials. 
    • Promote use and awareness of the collection through community engagement, including outreach and programming.
  • Community Engagement and Partnerships: Understand the role of community engagement in identifying community needs and goals, and develop relevant and responsive programs, services, and content that meet those needs. Engage with community members and organizations to develop and maintain both formal and informal relationships to realize outcomes that further community and Library goals. Understand the importance of bringing Library resources to where people are, both inside the library and through spaces in the community. 
  • Cultural Humility: Recognition of the need to continually develop and practice cultural competence in customer service, reference services, readers’ advisory, program development, community engagement, team work and leadership with communities and staff that a librarian does not personally identify with.
  • Race and Social Justice Initiative: Applicants must be able to support the City of Seattle’s Race and Social Justice Initiative and have a strong commitment to providing equitable services to marginalized or underserved populations throughout Seattle.
  • Reference Services and Readers’ Advisory: Assist patrons of all ages and interests in finding information they need and materials that surprise and delight. Support system-wide service initiatives and strategic priorities. Develop and deliver local targeted programming for area-specific populations. Develop and maintain expertise in a wide range of information resources in order to deliver high quality reference and readers advisory service in a variety of modes (in person, phone, virtual). Ensure that information resources and the library collection, specifically the African American Collection in this space, reflect the range of information needs in the community and effectively serve the city’s diverse and growing population.
  • Program and service design, development, delivery, and evaluation: Commitment to continually support community needs and interests. Use community information to create relevant programs, services, and content that responds to specific community interests and needs. Design and deliver relevant training and instruction for the public and library colleagues. Create and give presentations to colleagues and peers, stakeholders, and/or Library administration to market programming or obtain funding for future programming. Use evidence-based practices, data-driven decision-making, and outcomes-based evaluation practices to review and ensure programming is meeting expectations. 
  • Programmatic Leadership: Understand how the role of the Librarian functions within the context of system-wide service initiatives and local service delivery. Initiate conversations with staff about service delivery and lead staff, volunteers, patrons, community partners, vendors, etc.  
  • Operational Leadership: Knowledgeable in the effective use of Library facilities, equipment, services, and programming. Cultivate healthy working relationships with colleagues locally and regionally; engaging with them in support of Library program and services. Working effectively under the supervision of the Regional Manager, the Librarian will regularly serve as a staff lead. Together with the branch Assistant Manager, they will coordinate programming and service logistics with site supervisors to provide consistent service to all branch patrons. 
  • Project management: Create, execute, and manage all aspects of project planning for designed services delivery including budget, resources, timeline, and outcomes based evaluation. Coordinate all administrative and logistical details, such as coordination of volunteers when needed, marketing and advertising, budget tracking, and leading project teams.



  • Information Services: Minimum of one year work experience providing information services to the general public. Minimum of one year work experience providing programming specifically to adults and families and the ability to develop, plan, implement and evaluate a program using a community focus or voice. 
  • Exemplary Customer Service: Minimum of one year work experience providing customer service in person, via online chat, or over the phone; and/or instructional or outreach services to the general public. The successful candidate will have a proven commitment to public service and providing exceptional customer service. Candidates must possess excellent interpersonal communication, problem solving, customer relations and teamwork skills, a sense of humor, and demonstrate a positive and enthusiastic commitment to public service.
  • Leadership: Applicants must be able to utilize their knowledge, skills, and abilities to effect positive change. They must actively seek out information from the library industry and other industries; pursue opportunities to develop networks with the intent to learn about best practices from other organizations and share The Seattle Public Library’s best practices; take initiative in helping the organization to meet its goals; and be able to communicate how the Library is fulfilling its mission.
  • Technology and Informational Resources: Must have current working knowledge of PCs in a Windows environment and library applications, and be able to use online Internet searching methods and information resources. Familiarity with social media platforms and blogging software is highly desirable. Experience with Horizon library automation or a similar system is preferred.
  • Collections: 
    • A thorough understanding of the principles of intellectual freedom as they apply to the selection of library materials is essential. A commitment to these principles and to the Library’s mission and goals is required.
    • Professional experience maintaining collections in a public library environment; professional experience developing and preserving collections highly desirable.
    • Knowledge of methods of developing and managing collections; knowledge and experience of collection needs assessment, analysis, budgeting, and purchasing highly desirable.
    • Knowledge and experience of publishing, film and music industries and popular culture related to the African American experience in the United States.
    • Knowledge and experience of published materials that describe and reflect the African American Experience in the United States. 
  • Project Management and Team Work Skills: Experience planning programs and designing outreach, developing and implementing a project, and evaluation; preferably using outcomes-based evaluation methods. Experience serving as a member on a working committee or project team in lieu of the above experience may be considered.
  • Resiliency: Applicants must be resourceful and able to deal with evolving and emerging dynamics in the community as well as the workplace, cope with pressures, and learn from failures in ways that respond to patron needs and help the organization move forward. Must have the ability to maintain a high level of professionalism and customer service while enforcing the Library’s Rules of Conduct, working in public areas, and when confronted by aggressive or challenging patrons.
  • Education:  Must have an MLS or MLIS degree from an ALA-accredited library school, or Washington State Librarian Certification. (Note: Washington State Law prohibits an individual from being hired as a librarian unless they have obtained a Washington State Certification for Librarianship which requires a Master’s Degree from an ALA-accredited Library School.)

Desired Qualifications

  • Excellent Communication and Interpersonal Skills: Experience in public speaking and formal writing skill is highly desired, as is fluency in a second language (particularly Somali or other East African languages, Chinese or other Asian languages, or Spanish). Must be able to communicate clearly, diplomatically, and in a positive manner with staff and Library users from diverse language, ethnic, socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds, as well as with neighborhood-based or special interest groups.
  • Commitment to Continuous Learning: Acquire and maintain the necessary skills to better serve our patrons and help our organization evolve. A commitment to develop and grow a racial equity practice; this includes but is not limited to focusing on and addressing the emerging needs of specific age groups and understanding the impacts of race and intersectionality in our larger systems, Library policy, programs and services. 

How to Apply

Candidates who meet the qualifications are asked to submit an online application that includes a cover letter and resume by 5:00 PM Pacific Time on October 21, 2021.  

If you have questions regarding this bulletin or employment at The Seattle Public Library, please send an email to

The Library promotes diversity and inclusion in employment. If accommodations are needed during the selection process, please contact us.

Please keep in mind that job offers are contingent on a review of criminal history as well as verification of information provided by the applicant as part of the application process.

Job Information

  • Job ID: 58914458
  • Location:
    Seattle, Washington, United States
  • Position Title: Adult Services Librarian, African American Collection & Community Engagement
  • Company Name: The Seattle Public Library
  • Industry: Public Library
  • Job Function: Adult Services
  • Job Type: Full-Time
  • Min Education: Master's Degree
  • Min Experience: 1-2 Years
  • Required Travel: 0-10%
  • Salary: $36.53 - $44.30 (Hourly Wage)

Please refer to the company's website or job descriptions to learn more about them.

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