Program Director for the Edge Initiative

Posted October 1, 2014
This is a full time position located in Washington, D.C.

Urban Libraries Council

Director, National Benchmarking Initiative

About the Urban Libraries Council

For more than 30 years, the Urban Libraries Council (ULC) has worked to strengthen public libraries as an essential part of community life. Serving more than 90 million people in the United States and Canada, ULC’s 130 library members prove each day how essential libraries are to the health and vitality of their communities. ULC serves as a forum to initiate conversations among innovative library and community leaders; a research center to explore new models and tools for enhancing the library’s community impact, a clearinghouse for sharing library innovations and best practices; and a collective voice for the 21st century public library. Visit for more information about ULC.

Opportunities for the Director, National Benchmarking

ULC is seeking a senior professional to lead a national initiative to help libraries and local governments work together to achieve community goals. Known as the Edge Initiative, the benchmarks, online assessment, training program and toolkit and reporting resources were developed by a coalition of national library and local government organizations.  Since January 2014, with funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, over 2,000 library systems, (25% of all public libraries in the United States), participate in the Edge Initiative.   Visit for more information on the benchmarking tools and resources.

The Director, National Benchmarking Initiative, will have the opportunity to:

  • Lead a national program to raise the awareness of public technology, public libraries, and issues critical to local communities.
  • Strengthen collaboration between library and local government leaders and build national partnerships to broaden impact and awareness of Edge.
  • Expand the value of the national benchmarks and resources at the local, state, and national levels.  Over time, this may include creating an accreditation model, consulting services, national publication(s) and/or conferences as well as consideration of expanding the initiative to reach additional countries.

Major Responsibilities

Examples of the Benchmarking Director’s major responsibilities include:

  • Develop, refine, and implement annual goals for ongoing strategic direction and growth of the Edge program.
  • Identify and manage development of the business and program infrastructure to support the recent growth, excellent customer service, develop the value of the national data collected and ensure successful engagement by users across the tools and resources.
  • Support a national communications and marketing plan to broaden Edge’s use and impact.
  • Work closely with state libraries to support their use of the Edge resources as a public library engagement tool and a resource for statewide planning and advocacy.
  • Convene and facilitate meetings with the members of the Edge coalition to ensure their sustained involvement.
  • Represent ULC at national, state, and local conferences related to assessment and benchmarking, public technology services, state and national library conferences and specific Edge program activities.
  • Manage existing financial resources from the Gates Foundation and identify and establish new, long-term revenue streams.
  • Oversee day-to-day program operations including monitoring work by participating libraries, reviewing and updating benchmarks, and developing new tools and resources based on program data and user feedback.
  • Supervise a Senior Program Manager and a Project Manager dedicated to the Edge Initiative and manage activity teams and consultants to ensure the goals and outcomes are achieved and deadlines met.

Desired Profile of the Director, National Benchmarking Initiative

The ideal candidate will be an experienced program director who is creative, flexible, collaborative, able to manage multiple priorities and meet deadlines, and excited about taking a newly established program to the next level. Specific qualifications include:

  • Minimum of 5 years of experience in program development, project management, group facilitation including at least 3 years managing a national program with complex partnerships, preferably at a national association or non-profit organization.
  • Bachelor’s degree in business, public administration, non-profit management, or related field; Master’s preferred.
  • Experience working with and building successful coalitions around shared interests.
  • Experience managing grant-funded programs and supervising staff in a collaborative environment. 
  • Entrepreneurial mindset and proven ability to identify and develop new revenue streams and funding sources to sustain program operations.
  • Knowledge of local government, public libraries, and community challenges highly desired.

About the Position

This position is located in Washington, DC, reports to the ULC Strategic Initiatives and Program Development Executive, and supervises a staff of two with the potential for additional staff depending on funding/program expansion.  The salary is competitive in the Washington, DC, market and commensurate with experience.  ULC offers a comprehensive benefits package including health, dental, disability, and life insurance, and an employer-funded retirement plan.


Please send cover letter, resume, and salary requirements to: