ATG Job Bank: Head, Design & Discovery at the University of Michigan Library

Head, Design and Discovery at the University of Michigan Library.

Job Summary

The University of Michigan Library seeks an experienced professional to manage and lead the newly created Design & Discovery unit within the Library Information Technology Division (LIT).Design & Discovery, composed of twelve talented and experienced designers, librarians, and developers, encompasses three essential IT service areas:

  1. LIT-wide program and service management
  2. User experience (usability, accessibility, content, information architecture, design)
  3. Front-end web application development

The Head of Design & Discovery, reporting to the Associate University Librarian for LIT, provides leadership for programmatic initiatives of the unit; directs management of the unit’s project and operational portfolio; and collaborates with the IT leadership team to guide the strategic direction of the division as a whole. The work of the Design & Discovery unit is highly collaborative, with projects and initiatives involving staff from across LIT, the Library, the campus, and beyond. Unit activities include coordinating strategic initiatives; designing user-centered IT service models and cross-division work flows; providing analytics-driven guidance for public discovery, access, and content systems; promoting the adoption of technology policies and standards; and coordinating IT project and resource stewardship initiatives. The unit’s service and operational portfolio includes the library web site; in-house and vendor-based cross-platform search and discovery systems; user interface frameworks; library staff business work flow and content tools; and digital exhibits. Within its design portfolio, the unit promotes user-centered design while providing leadership and expertise in User Experience (UX) strategy, user research, assessment, content creation and management, and web accessibility. 

The successful candidate will work as part of a team of IT managers, with a combined staff of over 60 FTE, focused on realizing the dual mission of the division: enabling library services through elegant technology solutions; and uniting the preservation, access, and publishing of digital content. Collectively, the division supports the development and upkeep of fundamental services including the library website; information discovery and access applications; the library management system; learning analytics; and learning technologies. 

The University of Michigan Library is one of the world’s largest academic research libraries and serves a vibrant university community that is home to 19 schools and colleges, 100 top ten graduate programs, and annual research expenditures approaching $1.5 billion a year. To enable the university’s world­changing work and to serve the public good, the library collects, preserves, and shares the scholarly and cultural record in all existing and emerging forms, and leads the reinvention of the academic research library in the digital age.

The library is committed to recruiting and retaining a diverse workforce and encourages all employees to fully incorporate their diverse backgrounds, skills, and life experiences into their work and towards the fulfillment of the library’s mission.


  • Leadership and strategy – Contributes to strategic planning for LIT in the context of library and university goals, and translates strategic thinking into goal-oriented planning and implementation road maps for Design & Discovery priorities and areas of activity
  • Management and ­supervision – Facilitates operational excellence for the Design & Discovery unit, including resource management, staff management, mentoring and training, and general supervision
  • Design and development – Takes part in high level design and development of applications, methodologies, and services in cooperation with a spectrum of stakeholders within LIT and across the library
  • Research, teaching, and publication – Participates actively in the larger professional community by actively exploring relevant topics, and works to share knowledge through regular presentations, publications, and teaching

Required Qualifications*

  • An ALA-accredited master’s degree or advanced degree in a related field such as Interaction Design, Experience Design, Information Architecture, Knowledge Management, or IT Management and five or more years relevant experience or equivalent combination of a relevant advanced degree and experience.
  • At least three years staff management experience
  • Demonstrated understanding of the role and potential of technology for achieving excellence in the design and delivery of information resources and services
  • Demonstrated experience with user-centered service development and process improvement within the context of information discovery and digital content services
  • Record of developing team effectiveness and excellence, including skills, capacities, methods and work flow, professional development, and diversity
  • Record of increasing professional contributions or notable accomplishments at the local or national level in one or more areas of expertise related to information technology and information systems
  • Demonstrated experience participating in or managing technical projects that require complex coordination, high levels of integration, and/or diverse stakeholders and users
  • Strong analytical and troubleshooting skills
  • Excellent written and verbal communication
  • Understands and values diversity and the importance of inclusion as demonstrated through a commitment to apply and incorporate the differences, complexities, and opportunities that diversity brings to an organization.

Desired Qualifications*

  • Demonstrated ability to apply and incorporate the differences, complexities, and opportunities that diversity brings to an organization
  • 8 or more years experience relevant to job duties and one or more of the following:
    • Experience with design, implementation, or management of user-facing application development
    • Experience in any or all of the following user experience areas: usability, content, information architecture, design standards, and universal design
    • Experience with the design and management of search, discovery, indexing, and retrieval systems
    • Experience with processes and tools for managing large project portfolios
    • Experience with data analytics, data science, or data-driven improvement of services and systems

Additional Information

Benefits, rank, salary

Appointment is anticipated as a senior associate librarian or librarian. Salary and rank dependent on the candidate’s qualifications and experience. Librarian appointments carry with them increased expectations regarding professional development, professional engagement, research, and service, in keeping with the library’s process for librarian promotion and advancement.

The University of Michigan offers excellent benefits and wellness opportunities.

This position receives 24 days of vacation a year, and 15 days of sick leave a year with provisions for extended benefits, as well as opportunities for professional development and travel. TIAA-CREF and Fidelity Investments retirement options available.

Application Deadline

Job openings are posted for a minimum of seven calendar days.  This job may be removed from posting boards and filled anytime after the minimum posting period has ended.

Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis as they are received.

U-M EEO/AA Statement

The University of Michigan is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer.

How to Apply

For details about applying for this position, please see the original posting on the University of Michigan job site. (Job ID: 118695)

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