Position Information

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Executive Director


The Metropolitan Library Service Agency (MELSA) is a Minnesota regional public library system that promotes cooperation among its eight-member library systems in the Twin Cities metro area. With funding from the State of Minnesota through Regional Library Basic System Support, Regional Library Telecommunications Aid, and the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund, MELSA promotes cooperation among its members by providing libraries and the public with access to great resources, programs, and other important library services.
MELSA supports its member libraries and their users with life-enriching services, resources, and programs. These include Literacy and Student Success, Workforce Readiness, Resources and Content, Arts and Cultural Programs, Access, and Library Operations.
MELSA is a nonprofit government agency operating under a Joint Powers Agreement between Anoka County, Carver County, Dakota County, Hennepin County, Ramsey County, Scott County, Washington County, and the City of Saint Paul. MELSA is governed by an eight-member Board of Trustees and an eight-member Advisory Board. The most recent Executive Director has left the organization after five years of service. MELSA has six FTEs.


MELSA connects its members to:

  • Share resources and ideas
  • Foster literacy
  • Promote public library use
  • Prepare for the future


MELSA leads, dreams, and delivers . . . to make great public libraries better.

POSITION OVERVIEW: Executive Director

The Executive Director leads the regional library system with strong, supportive leadership, serving as a trusted steward of public funds.The Executive Director will drive innovation, act as a thought leader, establish a shared vision, and advocate for libraries’ collective impact across sectors. As a visible leader, the Executive Director will amplify the library community’s voice, ensuring maximum public investment for the benefit of residents in the seven-county metro area.
The Executive Director will be responsible for and must have strong skills and knowledge in the following areas:

Management Responsibilities

The team reporting directly to the Executive Director includes the Youth and Service Manager, Communication Manager, Project Manager, Business Manager, and Office Manager.

Key Responsibilities

Strategic Direction: 
  • Create and articulate an innovative vision for the role of public libraries and effectively communicate this vision in a persuasive manner that attracts funding resources, builds coalitions, and promotes public libraries as essential partners in achieving local and statewide goals.
  • Establish and communicate the overall mission, goals, and objectives for MELSA. Plan, administer, and oversee the development of a clear strategic plan and execute an annual operating plan and related strategies to achieve the goals outlined in the plan.
  • Stay on top of (or ahead of) current issues, trends, and environmental factors affecting the library field (including demography, economy, government/politics, society, and technology) to ensure MELSA and its member systems evolve while continuing to meet the needs of their diverse communities.
Government Relations and Community Engagement: 
  • Develop and foster strong relationships and build local and statewide coalitions with the member library systems, the Council of Regional Public Library System Administrators, Minnesota Library Association, the statewide library community, governmental offices including the Minnesota State Legislature, Minnesota Department of Education, Office of the Governor, County Commissioners, and national Congressional offices.
  • Build strategic alliances across statewide library systems, agencies, and associations to work collaboratively on issues that advance MELSA's mission and purpose.
  • Advocate for and amplify the power and role of libraries through visible leadership across public and private sectors to ensure that cross-sector initiatives keep public libraries front-of-mind and leverage member systems' potential for collective impact.
Fiscal Responsibility: 
  • Oversee the operational health of the organization by creating the annual budget, monitoring expenditures, establishing controls, and reporting regularly, clearly, and transparently to the Governing Board.
  • Develop appropriate annual and long-term financial objectives; consistently achieve these objectives through operational budget management, effective advocacy, and oversight of organizational assets that is in accordance with standard nonprofit best practices.
  • Develop a thorough understanding of the legal and statutory requirements necessary to lead contract negotiation processes that result in favorable partnerships, purchasing rates, and program and service opportunities for member library systems and MELSA.
  • Ensure that organizational investments in programs and services reflect the goals and values of the organization in accordance with the strategic plan.
Organizational Leadership: 
  • Provide leadership and set a standard of excellence for all MELSA's programs, services, and activities.
  • Foster an inclusive environment that attracts and retains diverse, high-quality staff.
  • Build an organizational culture that embraces and reflects equity in mindset, policies, and daily practice.
  • Lead MELSA staff in the development and implementation of the organization's goals, policies, and programmatic activities. Establish and monitor the necessary accountabilities for the staff with the objective of fulfilling the mission and vision of MELSA on behalf of its member systems.
  • Provide ongoing and structured annual performance management reviews for each employee that outline expectations, acknowledge achievements, and support areas for growth. When necessary, create performance improvement plans for underperforming employees and monitor progression toward clearly stated goals and expectations.
  • Lead staff planning and organizational design initiatives as necessary.
  • Lead change management strategies and initiatives within the organization.
  • Collaborate with partners to understand change impacts and ensure successful implementation.
Board Engagement: 
  • Prepare for and facilitate effective meetings with the Governing and Advisory Boards.
  • Engage the Governing and Advisory Boards in shaping the vision for MELSA, actively soliciting their input on key priority issues in a timely, effective manner, and formulating recommendations for consideration by the Board and/or its respective committees based on that input and other considerations.
  • Inform, discuss, and guide the Boards on regional, statewide, and national issues of concern and opportunities that require policy decisions, evaluation, and direction to improve the effectiveness and impact of MELSA.

Desired Experience, Skills, & Attributes

The successful candidate will:
  • Possess a high degree of compassion, empathy, and integrity.
  • Demonstrate aptitude for building and cultivating solid relationships with key stakeholders, including those with differing viewpoints or priorities.  
  • Communicate effectively, possessing exceptional public speaking and written communication skills with various stakeholders, library directors, commissioners, and legislators.
  • Be approachable and a good listener.
  • Be an authentic leader who serves as a role model for moral and fair behavior, with a transparent approach to earning the esteem and confidence of employees, Board of Trustees, library directors, and public officials.
  • Demonstrate cultural competence with a focus on diversity and inclusion related to persons of other racial, cultural, religious, gender, and sexual orientation backgrounds.
  • Be a leader who is flexible and comfortable with initiating change.
  • Have the ability to collaboratively set a vision and provide leadership to execute on the vision.
  • Possess an inspirational leadership style grounded in belief in libraries.

Education & Experience
The successful candidate will have:

  • A master’s degree (preferred but not required) in library science from a library education program accredited by the American Library Association.
  • Five years’ experience working for a library, with at least two years of public library administration experience preferred.
  • Two years' supervisory experience, preferably in a library setting.
  • Experience in strategic planning for library services preferred.
  • Experience working with regional public library systems in Minnesota and/or experience working across political jurisdictions with a variety of stakeholders at different levels.
  • Experience working with Governing and/or Advisory Library Boards preferred.
  • Experience in governmental relations (advocacy)preferred.
  • Experience in a remote work environment preferred.

St. Paul Minnesota (onsite required)

Deadline to Apply
July 5, 2024

Must submit cover letter with resume.
Position: Executive Director
Organization: MELSA
Location: St. Paul,  MN 
United States
Salary: $106,438- $150,000
Posting Start Date: 6/19/2024
Date Posted: 6/18/2024
Status: This listing expires on: 8/17/2024
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Organization Information

St. Paul,  MN 55104
United States
(612) 203-4662
Cheryl Jensen