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Opportunity Profile:

Digital Public Library of America

Executive Director

About Digital Public Library of America (DPLA)

The Digital Public Library of America empowers people to learn, grow, and contribute to a diverse and better-functioning society.

We do this by maximizing public access to our shared history, culture, and knowledge.

DPLA connects people to the riches held within America’s libraries, archives, museums, and other cultural heritage institutions. All of the materials found through DPLA—photographs, books, maps, news footage, oral histories, personal letters, museum objects, artwork, government documents, and so much more—are free and immediately available in digital format. The cultural institutions participating in DPLA represent the richness and diversity of America itself, from the smallest local history museum to our nation’s largest cultural institutions. Our core work includes bringing new collections and partners into DPLA, building our technology, and managing projects that further our mission through curation, education, and community building.

The Digital Public Library of America is a registered 501(c)3 nonprofit organization based in Boston. We are a registered library in the state of Massachusetts. DPLA launched in April 2013 as the result of a multiyear grassroots planning initiative involving thousands of volunteers dedicated to the vision of building a national digital library for all.

Our Values

At DPLA, we share a passion for expanding the reach of openly available materials. We believe that access to trustworthy information is essential to a democratic society. Diversity strengthens us all, and we are committed to fostering inclusive communities and collections, and furthering social justice. Collaboration advances the impact of our network, leading our users to deeper engagement with and understanding of our shared culture. We understand that conscientious stewardship of finite resources is critical for long-term sustainability of DPLA, our communities, and the world.

The following principles and practices connect these values to concrete actions taken by DPLA staff.

A Commitment to our Mission.

Our principles:

  • We share a passion for DPLA’s commitment to expanding the realm of openly available materials and to making them more easily discovered and more widely used.
  • We understand that our scale brings both opportunity and responsibility to advance the work and impact of the cultural heritage community as a whole.
  • In practice, this means that:

  • We foster creativity, curiosity, and empowerment by connecting people with information; enabling and encouraging reuse; and developing curated resources that engage and educate the public.
  • A Commitment to Constructive Collaboration.

    Our principles:

  • Recognizing that DPLA exists because of successful collaborations across the country, we respect and foster our growing network of partnerships.
  • In practice, this means that:

  • We understand that successful collaborations require humility, mutual respect, empathy, honesty, transparency, and strong communication.
  • We model the characteristics of successful collaboration within our organization and in our external partnerships.
  • A Commitment to Diversity, Inclusion, and Social Justice.

    Our principles:

  • We value diversity and inclusion, and ensure a place for all throughout our organization, partners, audiences, and collections.
  • We believe in playing a strong role in furthering social justice, decreasing inequality of access, growing and promoting collections representing diverse communities, showcasing a range of experiences, and advocating for positive change.
  • In practice, this means that:

  • We will work to become an organization whose staff, board, network, and communities reflect the diversity of our nation.
  • We partner with underrepresented and under-resourced groups to increase the visibility of their content and help build capacity.
  • We strive to provide equitable access to all communities.
  • A Commitment to the Public and our Community.

    Our principles:

  • As part of an ecosystem of cultural heritage institutions, diverse audiences, and technology communities, we take our roles and responsibilities seriously, and will be service-oriented in all directions.
  • In practice, this means that:

  • We seek a full and complete understanding of the needs of our network members and our users.
  • We continuously and actively listen to and gather input from our network and our users, and this engagement drives our priorities.
  • A Commitment to Stewardship of Resources.

    Our principles:

  • We aim to be trustworthy stewards of our funds and materials.
  • In practice, this means that:

  • We take into account environmental and social impact in our decisions on how and where to expend resources.
  • We hold a lasting commitment to financial and organizational sustainability.
  • Role Summary & Key Relationships

    Role Summary

    The next Executive Director for DPLA will have a unique opportunity to work with a broad and growing network of libraries, museums and other cultural heritage institutions, staff, and external partners to nurture and expand the nation’s first freely accessible on-line digital library. The Executive Director will be responsible, in partnership with the Board and other stakeholders, for establishing the vision for DPLA's long-term sustainable future and working towards this vision as part of a new Strategic Plan cycle. They will lead a team of talented and passionate staff, and work with them to expand the awareness and reach of DPLA's programs and initiatives.

    Please apply with resume/CV and cover letter to by September 15th in order to be considered for this opportunity.

    Key Relationships

    Reports To: DPLA's Board of Directors

    Direct Reports:

  • Michele Kimpton, Director of Business Development and Interim Executive Director
  • Michael Della Bitta, Director of Technology
  • Emily Gore, Director for Content
  • Andy Privee, Director of Finance and Administration
  • Other Key Stakeholders:

  • Hub Network Members
  • Financial partners, including foundations, individual philanthropists, and institutions
  • Libraries and content partners
  • Location & Travel

    Headquartered in Boston, the DPLA is a national organization with staff working on a distributed basis. The Executive Director will spend significant time traveling the country in support of the DPLA's work.

    Success Outcomes & Key Responsibilities

    Success Outcome #1:

    In partnership with the Board and key stakeholders, develop a clear vision and path forward for DPLA following the 2015-17 Strategic Plan cycle, resulting in the implementation of a new Strategic Plan.

    Key Responsibilities:

  • In the first 90 days, build relationships with Board leaders and key partners of DPLA, listening to their perspectives and ideas regarding the organization's future
  • Learn the history and journey of DPLA up to today, reviewing the organization's progress related to the 2015-17 Strategic Plan
  • Clarify the mission of DPLA, identifying the communities the organization serves and the desired outcomes for the short/medium/long term
  • Success Outcome #2:

    Build a sustainable future for DPLA, balancing the execution of the organization's mission with stable revenue streams allowing the organization to flourish over the long term.

    Key Responsibilities:

  • Review all existing programming, evaluating the benefits, costs, and alignment of each to the Strategic Plan
  • Make programmatic changes as needed, ensuring that all activities have a clear connection with DPLA's long term goals and are financially sustainable
  • Determine the appropriate funding model for the long term, balancing philanthropic support and grant revenue with earned income streams based on the sale or licensing of products and services produced by DPLA
  • Serve as the primary fundraiser for the organization, expanding partnerships with existing funding partners and bringing in new institutional and individual donors
  • Success Outcome #3:

    Establish strong partnerships with existing and new stakeholders, at both the individual and organizational levels, leading to broader public awareness, engagement, and support of DPLA.

    Key Responsibilities

  • In the first 90 days, begin building relationships with existing stakeholders, including but not limited to: foundations, institutional partners, content and service hubs, and donors
  • Continue working with stakeholders to expand the reach and impact of DPLA's work, particularly in the area of providing equitable access to disparate communities and focusing on the needs of underrepresented groups
  • Build closer relationships and partnerships with key institutions and technology partners
  • Develop strategies to expand public awareness around DPLA, leveraging stakeholders and the media to broaden recognition
  • Serve as the voice of DPLA, including public forums, media events, etc.
  • Success Outcome #4:

    Lead a team of passionate, mission-driven staff to collectively accomplish the goals established in the Strategic Plan.

    Key Responsibilities:

  • Mentor and develop the staff of DPLA, helping every team member succeed while also aligning with the values of the organization
  • Intentionally develop the organizational culture, promoting and personally demonstrating behaviors aligned with DPLA's values
  • Promote diversity and inclusion in the workplace, hiring talented and mission-aligned individuals from all backgrounds
  • Ensure the technology platforms in use by DPLA are effective and scalable for future needs