Assistant Director, Access Services - Rhode Island School of Design

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Job Summary

Rhode Island School of Design is looking for an Assistant Director for Access Services to join its Fleet Library. The Fleet Library is a place for inquiry and inspiration, occupying the first and second floors of 15 Westminster Street. With over 100,000 books and periodicals, institutional archives, special collections, artists' books, material samples and picture collection, the Library provides the RISD community with access to a wide range of digital resources, along with professional expertise to help navigate both online and physical resources for classroom instruction, individual research support, and creative work. As an employer, RISD offers a supportive, collegial and inclusive work environment and a competitive benefits package.

The Assistant Director, Access Services, oversees the day-to-day operational activities in RISD’s Fleet Library, Main Floor (“Main Library”). This position is responsible for the collective and coordinated work of the Circulation, Research/Instruction, and Technical Services units, and ensuring that core functions operate smoothly, including but not limited to circulation, course reserves, interlibrary loans, patron accounts, financial transactions, reference, instruction, collections development, stacks maintenance, electronic resource management, communications and, outreach.  Based on feedback and input from the Dean of Libraries and other library staff, and with a home base in Circulation, assesses short- and long-term needs across the Main Library, the incumbent applies institutional priorities to collections and program development, establishes operational goals, develops and monitors operating and capital budgets, writes and revises policies, and envisions, promotes, and creates the best possible Main Library experience for the RISD community and other library users.

Essential Functions

Circulation and access services 

  • Directly supervises the Circulation staff, including scheduling, defining and delegating tasks, hiring, training, evaluation, goal setting and mentoring.
  • Using input and feedback from Circulation staff and the RISD community and with an understanding of RISD’s goals and academic learning needs, determines library hours, reviews and revises policies, and resolves circulation issues.
  • Oversees the interlibrary loan (ILL) and billing processes.  Ensures members of the Circulation staff tasked with these functions on a day-to-day basis complete them as required, including promotion and “bump-up” communications regarding ILL and billing with individual patrons as needed.  
  • Maintains and updates current patron records for all RISD faculty, staff, students and outside library users.  Identifies and implements ongoing improvements to patron records management system and processes based on feedback, experiences and best practices.
  • Responsible for scheduling staff and for ensuring library is opened and closed as advertised/promoted and in accordance with standard operating procedures.  May provide back-up coverage at the Circulation desk, as needed, to ensure adequate coverage during open hours.
  • Serves as point of contact and information for Fleet Library’s reciprocal and consortial relationships, including but not limited to: The Providence Athenaeum partnership, the Brown/RISD reciprocal library access and borrowing agreements, and membership in the Consortium of Rhode Island Academic and Research Libraries (CRIARL).

General planning, supervision, and policies

  • Responsible for coordinating and tracking work across the three operational areas of the Main Library: Circulation, Research/Instruction, and Technical Services, and for ensuring it’s accurate and timely completion.
  • Regularly assesses and refines day-to-day activities, plans for and implements longer term projects to meet library and institutional goals, and makes recommendations and informed decisions about supporting technologies, based on feedback from and alignment to the Dean of Libraries vision and strategic goals.
  • Provides input to and makes recommendations regarding strategic planning efforts, based on operational experiences and knowledge of best practices in the area of general library operations, to include research and outreach to patrons for user experience data.
  • Stays abreast of trends in access services, reference, collections development/management, and technical services and evaluates and implements as appropriate for RISD.
  • Develops, reviews and revises policies and procedures related to Main Library operations based on learned experiences, input from staff, and approval from the Dean of Libraries. Communicates policy changes to the RISD community and beyond.
  • Educates and trains supervisors and student employees regarding compliance with institutional policies and procedures, audits and ensures performance standard for the same.
  • Ensures continuous training and support for Main Library staff to provide exceptional customer service. 
  • Sets agenda for and chairs regular CRITS (Circulation, Research & Instruction, and Technical Services) meetings.

Budget and financial management

  • Manages operating budget and allocations for Main Library areas as assigned by Dean.  Actively engages with the Dean of Libraries, Administrative Coordinator, and Senior Acquisitions Assistant to review needs, purchases, and requests and to ensure resources match programmatic, service, and collections goals and are spent accordingly.
  • Proactively collaborates with the dean, RISD Academic Affairs staff, and others on budget planning; monitors and approves operational expenditures; and contributes to development of strategic budget projections for immediate and future technology and capital investments.

Collections management and development

  • Leads Main Library team, setting goals for acquisitions related to institutional priorities centered on diversity, just societies, sustainability, and new ways of making and knowing.
  • Ensures Senior Assistant for Acquisitions and librarians have information and support needed for distributed acquisitions work.
  • With input from the librarians, manages and facilitates search and hiring processes for graduate assistants to help with collections development.
  • Oversees ongoing collections management activities, including stack maintenance, deselection, and disposal of discarded books in accordance with established policy and procedures.
  • Facilitates collections analysis efforts and uses results to inform annual collections development goals. Interprets relevant data from the library’s GreenGlass data and collaborates with other library staff on the applications of the findings.
  • Manages annual review and revision of Collections Management and Development Policy.

Communications and outreach

  • Responsible for drafting all communications to RISD students, faculty, and staff regarding general library policies, hours, collections and services
  • Coordinate and guide the work of the library liaisons to ensure regular, ongoing communication and relationship-building with department heads and faculty about research and instructional services and resources relevant to different major areas.
  • Contributes library operations content and outreach strategies to library communication platforms, including newsletter, website, and social media sites.  Ensures recent acquisitions are highlighted in library communications. 
  • Analyzes and resolves complex and non-routine inquiries from patrons and staff regarding Main Library operations.
  • Communicates with new faculty and staff about their library account and borrowing privileges.
  • Directs other library orientation activities.

Reporting and data analysis

  • Analyzes annually collected data related to Main Library operations and reporting (e.g., for ACRL and IPEDS) to make recommendations for operational improvements. 
  • Contributes narrative information on Main Library achievements and milestones to Fleet Library’s annual report and uses the annual findings to suggest planning directions and refinements to Main Library operations.


  • Bachelor's degree required
  • At least four (4) years’ experience in library operations, circulation, access services, technical services, reference/research, or other related experience.
  • Demonstrated staff and student employee supervision and evaluation experience or other leadership experience.
  • Project visioning and implementation; budget management; customer service; and outreach and communications skills.
  • Demonstrated commitment to public service and accessibility.
  • Experience with library management systems (Sierra preferred) or other complex collections management databases.
  • Strong analytical skills, creative and innovative problem-solving; evidence of effective leadership, including ability to promote teamwork and maintain productive and supportive working relationships.
  • Demonstrated commitment to serving the needs and interests of a diverse, creative population of students, faculty, and staff.

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Master’s degree
  • Knowledge of the research and instructional needs of art and design school faculty and students preferred.
  • Knowledge and understanding of key issues and trends in the art and design school sector and an understanding of the impact of digital technologies in libraries and higher education preferred.



Work Schedule

35 hours/week; 12 months/year

Employment Status

Full-Time; Exempt



Documents Needed to Apply

Resume (required)

Cover Letter (required)

Incomplete applications will not be considered. Please upload all required documents.

The successful candidate will be required to meet our pre-employment background screening requirements.

For certain positions, RISD is currently supporting remote work arrangements due to the pandemic. When work resumes in person, employees are expected to perform work on campus.

RISD recognizes diversity and inclusivity as fundamental to its learning community and integral to an art and design education. We welcome candidates whose experience has prepared them to contribute to our commitment to diversity and excellence. RISD is an Equal Opportunity Employer. Employment decisions are made without regard to race, color, religion, sex, age, national origin, disability, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, genetics, or any other protected characteristic as established by law.

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