The Oak Park Public Library (OPPL) is looking to hire a director of equity and racism — a move that is critical to the institution’s goal of becoming an “anti-racist organization,” according to the job posting.
David Seleb, the library’s executive director, said the position was posted in late June and comes a few months after the library adopted an anti-racism strategic plan.
“It was a clear objective within that plan that we would work this year to find and hire a director of equity and anti-racism,” Seleb said. “The board was very much aware and supportive of that objective.”
Seleb added that the equity and anti-racism director will be part of the library’s leadership team, working under his direction and in collaboration with the library’s seven other directors. The position comes with a starting salary ranging from $82,000 to $96,000. He said the position will be funded through the library’s general fund.
“We wanted someone who would join the library’s leadership team at a director level,” Seleb said. “We knew we needed someone at that level of the organization with that level of authority to make sure everyone understands that this is a top priority for the organization.”
According to the posting, the director position will be responsible for mentoring, coaching and advising library administrators and staff members “in matters related to equity, anti-racism, and restorative practices” and building “external partnerships and networks for knowledge of and access to the latest research, practices, and resources in the equity, anti-racism, and restorative justice community.”
The director will also be responsible for supporting and creating “accountability around the effective implementation and operations of equity, anti-racism, and restorative practices through oversight of the anti-racism strategic plan,” among other duties.
Candidates will be required to have at least seven years of paid or unpaid “progressive experience … in equity and anti-racism-related programs or initiatives” and “clear evidence of leadership and management skills.”
They’ll also need experience and “practical application in implementing restorative practices” and experience in “developing and managing equitable budgeting,” among other qualifications.
Seleb said the library has been working with Reesheda Graham Washington’s RGW Consulting firm on various components of its equity and anti-racism work.
In early July, Seleb said the library would be taking applications for the next two to three weeks and aims to hire someone well before the end of the calendar year.
“I think we’ve already accomplished a great deal on our anti-racism journey with the help of our consultants and board of trustees,” Seleb said. “Now it’s time to make sure that not only our organization internally understands how important and essential a priority this is, but that the Oak Park community understand that as well.”