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Director of Bridwell Libary

Southern Methodist University (SMU), a nationally ranked private university located near the heart of Dallas, seeks a visionary leader, adept at both strategy and operations, to serve as its next J.S. Bridwell Foundation Endowed Librarian. The position also serves as the Director of Bridwell Library, is a member of the Perkins School of Theology Senior Administrator Group and is a voting member of the faculty. 

A nationally ranked private university with seven degree-granting schools, SMU is a distinguished center for teaching and research located near the heart of Dallas. SMU's 11,600 students benefit from small classes, research opportunities, leadership development, international study and innovative programs. The University is strengthened by its partnership with the Dallas region, a global center of commerce and culture. SMU students, faculty and alumni are changing the world throug​h their chosen fields, civic engagement and service to society. SMU’s progress in the last 20 years includes a near tripling of applications, an increase of more than 165 points in the student SAT average scores, an increase in underrepresented student population enrollment to 25 percent, and a more than doubling of the University endowment, currently valued at $1.5 billion.  

About Perkins

Perkins School of Theology is one of the 13 seminaries of The United Methodist Church and one of only five university-related United Methodist theological schools, located in the heart of Dallas, Texas, with an extension program in Houston/Galveston. The faculty and staff of Perkins are committed to their mission of preparing women and men for faithful leadership in Christian ministry. Students study with a faculty, diverse both culturally and in theological perspective, in the school's graduate degree and certificate studies programs. Practical internships integrate classroom learning with hands-on ministry, and the world-renowned Bridwell Library offers students and scholars theological resources for pastors and scholars unrivaled in the United States. Faculty and practicing clergy also work together to offer continuing education for clergy and laity, as well as other programs such as the United Methodist Church's Course of Study school for local pastors. 

About Bridwell

The J.S. Bridwell Library is the library for Perkins School of Theology. It includes a full range of theological, biblical, and historical materials relating to the development of Christianity. In addition to the material available in the basic lending collection of the library, which is strong in Methodist materials, Bridwell Library contains a number of special collections that are especially valuable for the study of topics related specifically to the background, rise, development, and present status of Methodism.

With total holdings exceeding 370,000 volumes, Bridwell Library's Special Collections contain over 50,000 printed books dating from the fifteenth to the twentieth century. Most of the printed works in these holdings, often in first and early editions, are in the fields of theology, church history, scripture, liturgy, and philosophy. Many of these editions are distinguished by fine illustration and typography, notable provenances, and historically significant bindings. Holdings also include manuscript correspondence by John Wesley and other important figures in early Methodism, archival collections of American Methodism and private presses, and a small group of Medieval and Renaissance manuscripts.
Bridwell Library is among the best theological libraries in the nation and is one of the many academic resources available at Perkins. Bridwell, along with our renowned faculty, is at the core of Perkins’ reputation of academic excellence as a leader in theological education.

About the Position

The J. S. Bridwell Foundation Endowed Librarian is responsible for providing vision, strategic direction and operational leadership for the Bridwell Library, promoting the development of its collections, and overseeing the delivery of effective and positive public service and user education.

The Librarian is also responsible for furthering the effectiveness of the Bridwell Library of Perkins School of Theology as a theological teaching and research library and a rare books, manuscripts and archives repository of preeminence. This position will also provide direction for integration of relevant technologies into the services and operations of the library. 

The successful candidate will foster a collaborative environment and build partnerships with faculty and academic leadership to support the strategic plan for the 21st century future of the libraries at SMU. 

Essential Functions

  • Manage the overall development and conservation of the library’s print and digital materials in both the general and special collections
  • Participate in collection development of specific subject or language areas
  • Select and supervise library staff
  • Develop, implement, and interpret library policies and procedures
  • Prepare and manage the library budget
  • Engage in long-range planning for library collections, staffing, and facilities
  • Manage the library’s public outreach program including lectures, publications and exhibitions
  • Oversee the library building and its use
  • Prepare periodic reports for supervisor(s), accrediting bodies, and donors.

Education and Experience

Master of Library Science degree or equivalent from an American Library Association accredited institution is required. 

Graduate degree in theology, religious studies or a related area is strongly preferred. Competence in at least one of the major languages of the theological disciplines is desirable. 

A minimum of five years of progressive leadership experience in an academic or theological library is required. Some supervisory experience over a professional staff is also required. 

Experience in planning and management of a library operating budget is essential. 

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities

The ideal candidate must possess strong interpersonal skills, with the ability to communicate broadly across the University and demonstrated ability to cultivate and sustain collegial relationships. The ability to communicate effectively verbally and in writing is required. A strong customer service orientation is essential.

The successful candidate must be an insightful, articulate, and persuasive leader with the ability to provide effective oversight of a professional staff and budget. The ability to provide focus and motivation to a professional staff is essential.

The next Director will be called on to think collaboratively, strategically and creatively while participating in senior-level decision making. 

The successful candidate will show commitment to professional growth within the field. Active participation in appropriate library associations is essential.

The next Director will demonstrate knowledge of library-related information technology necessary to support evolving services and resources and digital scholarship.


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SMU will not discriminate in any program or activity on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, disability, genetic information, veteran status, sexual orientation, or gender identity and expression. The Executive Director for Access and Equity/Title IX Coordinator is designated to handle inquiries regarding nondiscrimination policies and may be reached at the Perkins Administration Building, Room 204, 6425 Boaz Lane, Dallas, TX 75205, 214-768-3601,