Applications due August 21, 2014.

Reporting to the Board of Directors, the Executive Director of the Redwood Library & Athenæum is responsible for the leadership and management of the entire organization. Responsibilities include: ensuring implementation of the Board’s strategic focus, fundraising, administrative staff supervision, strategic planning, financial management, overseeing outreach programs, forming partnerships with other organizations, oversight of marketing activities (including print and digital), and community and donor relations.

The Redwood, founded in 1747 in Newport, RI (then a prosperous colonial city of unique cultural and religious diversity) is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) open membership, circulating library and athenaeum that still pursues its original purpose: “having nothing in view but the good of Mankind.” Today, the Redwood is home to collections of books, paintings, sculpture, decorative arts and furniture of the colonial period, and a book collection of 200,000+ volumes. The Redwood currently has a professional staff of 12 full-time and 11 part-time employees – including full-time directors for Institutional Advancement and Finance & Administration. It is governed by a volunteer Board of 24 Trustees and has a growing membership of approximately 1,850 individuals. This year, the Redwood will operate with a budget of $1.6 million.

To sustain its high level of academic competence and to continue expansion of its respected outreach programming, the Redwood has recently begun to plan a major capital campaign with help from the Boston-based, cultural advisory firm, TDC. This summer, a fundraising consultant will help the Redwood with the feasibility phase of this campaign.

The ideal candidate for the Executive Director position must be prepared to assume a leadership role in this multi-year, fundraising effortbeing undertakento sustain America’s oldest, continuously operating lending library along with its various historic collections.The position requires a proven leader with exceptional communication and inter-personal skills, excellent fundraising skills, strong management capabilities, and a passion for the Redwood and its mission. Candidates must have past success in working with and engaging a board of directors and demonstrated success in fundraising and attracting major gifts.

This position offers a unique career opportunity for an energetic, self-starter, relationship-builder who has a passion for managing people, historic preservation and community involvement.


The Executive Director position requires an individual with strong leadership and management skills who can assume the following responsibilities with enthusiasm, confidence, a strong belief in collaboration, and a spirit for innovation:

Fundraising Leadership – Lead the Redwood’s fundraising strategy to attract financial donors from the Newport area and to develop additional support nationally.
Strategy – Ensure that the Redwood has a long-range strategy for attaining its mission and that timely and consistent progress toward its established goals is made.
Board Liaison – Be the organization’s primary liaison with its Board of Directors and report directly to the Board’s President. Keep the Board fully informed, in a timely fashion, of any developments affecting the organization or its property.
Operational Leadership- Lead and oversee all operations of the institution to:
maintain and grow its collection of 200,000+ volumes,
curate, protect and showcase its various historic collections, and
develop programs that both educate and entertain library users and the public.
Staff Management – Direct administrative staff in the recruitment, employment, and release of all personnel, both paid staff and volunteers. This involves working with the Director of Finance & Administration to ensure that job descriptions are current, regular performance evaluations are held, and that effective human resource policies are in place and respected. The Executive Director will create and maintain an employment culture that attracts, retains and motivates a diverse staff. The Executive Director will report regularly to the Board on personnel matters.
Community Outreach – Be the Redwood’s “ambassador” to the Newport community and beyond by actively participating in efforts to join with other cultural not-for-profits in efficiently serving both their separate and combined constituents.
Research Outreach – Lead and oversee all efforts to reach out to academics and others who use the Redwood’s special collections and historic documents in their research, academic and educational pursuits.
Fiduciary Controls – See that official records and documents are maintained, and ensure compliance with all regulations and legal covenants. Work with staff, the Board’s Finance Committee and Board to prepare an annual budget and ensure that the organization operates within that budget and has adequate funds to carry out its work.

The Executive Director should:

Have a Master’s Degree in library science, museum studies or public administration or similar advanced, academic degree and a minimum of 7–10 years of high-level managerial experience in a not-for-profit cultural organization, library, museum, or academic institution.
Be able to provide specific examples of having formulated and implemented strategic plans that have taken an organization to the next stage of its growth. This will include experience and proven success in fundraising.
Be intuitively collaborative with a track record of excellence in:
building and managing effective, high-performing teams,
creating and fostering a working environment based on employees’ respect for one another,
reaching consensus among various constituents, and
setting and achieving strategic and operational objectives.
Possess a solid level of financial literacy and good business judgment that includes having experience in establishing and managing budgets.
Have experience Board-level experience.
Be a persuasive and passionate communicator with strong written and verbal communication skills. The ideal candidate must demonstrate excellent interpersonal skills and be relaxed in a position of being this organization’s spokesperson and effective in articulating the Redwood’s mission. The Executive Director must comfortably interact with small groups, as well as successfully deliver formal presentations to large audiences, both local and national.
Have a profound commitment to the changing role of libraries and museums in contemporary society, and be willing to experiment with various models for serving the public in new and creative ways.
Exhibit a level of cultural and social sophistication that will facilitate interaction with existing Redwood members/audiences, Board members, invited speakers/scholars, existing and potential donors, and the public.
Demonstrate organizational and management skills that allow for him/her to easily balance various roles within a small organization that is committed to operating with fiscal responsibility while recognizing its full potential for service to users.
Demonstrate a successful track record:
as a leader in a library or other nonprofit institution that has successfully gained recognition by academics, scholars and the public for its various collections and their accessibility, and
for being a demonstrable part of an effort to expand a not-for-profit organization’s outreach to new constituents both for use of the facility and for its funding for the future.

Salary will be competitive and commensurate with experience.


Fall 2014


Please e-mail a cover letter, current résumé, salary history and contact information for three individuals who would recommend you to The Redwood Library & Athenæum Board of Directors’ Search Committee at “” Please include “RLA Search” in the e-mail subject line. Your cover letter should offer examples of the experience you have had in leading a team of professionals that has attained measurable goals in the areas of responsibility outlined in this job description. Résumés must be received by August 31, 2014.


In 1747, Quaker merchant Abraham Redwood and 45 fellow Newporters founded the Company of the Redwood Library as a community library. In one of the most significant philanthropic acts of the 18th century, Abraham Redwood donated funds to purchase 1,338 books in London that would be “suitable for a publick library” that he envisioned for the English colony. The building, designed by Peter Harrison in 1749 to house those books, is this country’s first public example of the Palladian architectural style in the United States and a treasured National Historic Landmark. Today, the Redwood is home to research collections of books, paintings, sculpture, decorative arts and furniture of the colonial period. In addition to rotating exhibits of the Redwood’s collections, lectures, concerts, theatrical performances, seminars and gala events take are held regularly to bring this historic institution to life for its members, scholars and the public.

The Redwood was modernized 10 years ago to the highest standards of temperature and humidity control, two years ago doubled its book capacity so that all collections could be retrieved from storage for cataloguing and access, and a year ago completely replaced and modernized its technology platform. The Redwood has meticulously maintained its original 1750’s collection and its venerable collection of early books, manuscripts, furniture, and colonial portraiture. It serves the public as a membership library open to all. The Redwood values its established ties with the John Carter Brown Library at Brown University and other non–profits in the Newport community.


Located between Boston, MA and New York, NY, Newport is within a 45-minute drive from Rhode Island’s capital, Providence. The City has a year-round population of 25,000, but its seasonal popularity as a yachting capital and beach resort, along with its architecturally significant buildings of the 18th and 19th centuries, swell the community during the summer months to about 60,000. Additionally, more than 3.5 million tourists visit the City annually. Its geographic position on the Atlantic Ocean and Narragansett Bay, along with a long-standing reputation for supporting the arts, makes Newport a popular venue for cultural activities focused on classical, folk and jazz music, dance, film, and art. The diversity of its residents reflects its roots as a tolerant sanctuary for those of all religions and ethnic backgrounds during colonial times. Newport is home to a U.S. Naval Station (the 3rd largest employer in Rhode Island) and its graduate-level Naval War College, Salve Regina University and a community hospital employing almost 900. Both Roger Williams University (in Bristol) and the University of Rhode Island (in Kingston) are 20 minutes away.

Job Requirements
See Job Description above

Contact Person: Mary Lou Daly Phone: (401) 845-3259
Email Address: Fax: (401) 845-6965