The Congregational Library and Archives, a special library of books, manuscripts, and electronic resources in Boston, Massachusetts, is seeking a new Executive Director. The Library (CL&A) preserves materials relating to and advancing the study and deeper understanding of the Congregational story, a crucial religious influence on America’s intellectual, civic, and cultural traditions.
The CL&A is poised to enter an exciting new phase of its development as a resource in American and global history. We believe that with the right visionary and entrepreneurial Executive Director, the CL&A can become the catalyst for profoundly important scholarship and discourse. For example, can the CL&A help lead the conversation about how to vitalize our Congregational denominations? Can it show how our history can play a meaningful role in reigniting civic discourse in our country? Working with the Board, the new Executive Director will lead the CL&A into its future.
CL&A is a vigorous 166-year-old organization dedicated to the idea that “history matters” for people in the present. The Puritans who migrated to New England in the early seventeenth century created a unique church polity rooted in spirited debate and principled self-governance, the so-called Congregational Way. Congregational churches and leaders have had a profound impact on America’s social, political, and religious life. Eager to preserve their heritage, leading Congregational clergy in New England formed the Congregational Library Association in Boston in 1853. Their initial contribution of 53 books has grown to a unique collection of over 225,000 manuscripts and printed materials covering Congregational history and a broad array of related topics, including colonial-era records documenting the settlers’ efforts to establish a civil and religious society. Although CL&A's origins and holdings are religious, it is an institution related to but not confined to the Church. Its focus and approach are broadly historical, not exclusively denominational.
CL&A’s rare book section is rich in works of English and early American Puritanism. Complete collections from historically significant churches are indispensable for researchers, libraries, historical societies, and genealogists. Missionaries’ memoirs and reports reveal cultural transferences and transformations in all their global complexity. CL&A has a collection of some 15,000 sermons from the 1600s to the twentieth century that illuminate trends across time in all aspects of American life. As the designated archives of the Congregational Christian churches, the Library holds major institutional records and some 1,500 periodicals regarding social reform, human rights, and education. CL&A also holds rare newspapers from the Christian Connection, a denomination that merged with the Congregational churches in 1931. Travel grants, fellowships, and office space are provided to independent scholars, and the Library promotes innovative scholarship with its signal publication, the Bulletin of the Congregational Library, and its e-newsletter History Matters.
CL&A offers educational programs, including exhibits, author talks, book discussion groups, and meet-andgreets for a broad range of audiences. It provides wide and free access to the collection through the New England’s Hidden Histories initiative, excellent patron services, and the global reach of modern technology.
CL&A moved to the Congregational House at 14 Beacon Street when the building was dedicated in 1898. In 2017, it sold its interest in the building and entered into an ultra-long-term lease. Proceeds from the sale have created a position of financial strength that will allow CL&A to pursue its aspirations. A graceful Victorian Reading Room remains a quiet haven for researchers, while the newly renovated facility accommodates state-of-the-art library equipment and archival processing and storage. By capitalizing on technological innovations, the organization has been advancing scholarship and sharing its rich repositories in fresh ways. CL&A has an expansive vision for the future, and it invites its next leader to approach forthcoming opportunities with enthusiasm and creativity.
CL&A has a dedicated staff of six full-time and four part-time employees and an annual operating budget of $1.3 million, comprising grants, memberships, philanthropy, and earned income. It is governed by a 14-member Board of Directors. Long-time Executive Director Peggy Bendroth will be retiring this fall. To learn more about this position, please visit the CL&A homepage and Facebook Page, and The Beacon Street Diary blog.
Organizational identity and vision
- With the Board, create a vision of the future for CL&A
- With the Board, create and drive the strategic plan
- Build support for the mission among important constituent groups and attract new ones
- Promote and represent the history of American Congregationalism in a way that will stimulate both broad interest and serious academic study.
Fundraising and development
- With the assistance of the Board, prioritize fundraising
- Develop and implement strategies for donor relationship building and solicitation
- Cultivate new and existing donors, sharing a new and dynamic vision of CL&A’s mission and future
- Oversee grant solicitation as well as the research and writing of grant applications.
Executive leadership and management
- Oversee the Library Director and all Library operations
- Oversee the hiring, goal setting, directing, review, and termination for all CL&A personnel
- Work with Board leaders to recruit new Board members
- Make all final decisions on Library collection development.
Program development and implementation
- Increase the use of the library
- Oversee the strategic vision for the website’s organization and content
- Oversee editorial development of the Bulletin and other regularly published materials
- Plan and support Library events and host visiting groups
- With the Library Director, oversee the Project Director’s work on New England’s Hidden Histories and attract new research endeavors
- Direct the creation of promotional materials.
- Work with the Board’s Finance Committee on financial planning and to set investment goals and policies
- Monitor external investment managers, auditors, risk management professionals, and other contractors
- Develop and implement the annual budget and monitor ongoing expenses and income.
- Demonstrated passion for the mission of CL&A
- Advanced degree and experience in a highly relevant field, e.g., library and information science; museum studies; American history; church history; the humanities; and/or nonprofit management
- History of building and maintaining a cohesive team and providing strategic direction
- Inspiring leadership and strategic thinking
- Record of building partnerships
- Ability to persuade, negotiate, achieve consensus, and build collegial relationships with stakeholders
- Significant experience with board development, fundraising, and marketing/branding
- Well-developed written, verbal, and presentation skills
- Financial savvy and solid general management skills
- A proven interest in working with faith communities.
To apply in confidence:
Please send resume and cover letter to Susan Egmont, Egmont Associates, at firstname.lastname@example.org.