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American Library Association
United States, Illinois, Chicago
225 North Michigan Avenue (Show on map)
April 22, 2024

The American Library Association (ALA) is seeking a full-time Deputy Director for the Office of Intellectual Freedom (OIF), a highly visible and valued office within the association that educates librarians and the general public about the nature and importance of intellectual freedom in libraries.

The successful candidate will assist the Director in the ongoing creation, design, development, implementation, and direction of a complete intellectual freedom program for ALA. The person in this position serves as the primary content area specialist for legal and policy issues related to intellectual freedom and privacy in libraries, and will be responsible for investigating, researching, analyzing, and reporting on those issues and will be responsible for proposing actions in support of ALA's intellectual freedom program and information policy initiatives that are consistent with the association's mission and values.

Key responsibilities include the following:

  • Identify, analyze, and interpret case law, legislation, regulations, and other legal and policy resources relevant to intellectual freedom and privacy, with a focus on major intellectual freedom and privacy issues in libraries.

    • Draft memoranda, policy briefs, statements of policy, and explanatory documents for member leaders and staff.
    • Recommend proposed actions, policies, and guidelines to ALA member leaders, groups, and staff.
    • Represent ALA/OIF at external meetings, workshops, and other events addressing First Amendment, privacy, and intellectual freedom issues.
    • Support Freedom to Read Foundation's litigation and policy initiatives.

  • Provide legal information and assistance to librarians and others seeking help in addressing censorship of library resources, user privacy concerns, or other intellectual freedom

  • Plan, develop, and administer law-related educational programming concerning the application of intellectual freedom and privacy principles in libraries and schools. This will be an initiative done in cooperation with ALA's continuing education unit and other ALA units, including grant-making organizations and the Freedom to Read Foundation.

  • Communicate with the public and the press about the work of the office.

  • Support Director's supervision and management of the office staff and its initiatives, including preparation and administration of office budget.

  • Support the work of ALA member groups and member leaders tasked with addressing intellectual freedom and privacy issues in libraries and institutions, including ALA policies and guidelines.

  • There is a minimum of 15% travel required.

This is a regular full-time position based in our Chicago office. Most ALA staff are currently working on a hybrid schedule. Please note that although we have a generous telecommuting policy for our employees, we do not have any truly remote positions in states outside of our workplace sites.

The Deputy Director, Office for Intellectual Freedom position is based in Chicago, Illinois.

ALA currently requires that employees be fully vaccinated as defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Proof of vaccination will be required on or before start date.

All offers of employment are contingent upon satisfactory completion of a background check and proof of your eligibility to work in the United States.

Starting salary range negotiable from the low-90s, based on relevant experience. ALA has an excellent benefit package that includes flexible work schedules, medical, dental, generous paid vacation and a retirement annuity.


Apply online including a current resume and cover letter outlining the strategic value that you will bring to ALA, drawing upon your successes in the area of intellectual freedom and your salary expectations for the role.


Send the required information to:

American Library Association

Human Resources Department

Ref: depdirOIF

Email: lswader@ala.org

The American Library Association is an equal opportunity employer: Minority/Female/Disability/Veteran

Required Education and Experience

  • JD. degree, combined J.D./MLIS degree, or comparable advanced degree in law, public policy, or public administration.

  • Demonstrated understanding of First Amendment and other related Constitutional issues applicable to the work of information professionals, including content censorship, access to library services as well as a basic understanding of types of libraries, library services and operations.

  • Demonstrated ability to work with coalitions. Demonstrated ability to teach workshops and develop instructional materials.

  • Demonstrated knowledge and understanding of intellectual freedom, privacy and professional ethics as practiced by information professionals.

  • Demonstrated oral and written communication skills and interpersonal communication skills reflecting compassion and understanding of library workers facing complex professional situations.

Desired Experience:

  • 3-5 years of relevant legal experience or comparable experience in law and policy analysis.

  • Admitted to the practice of law in a U.S. jurisdiction or comparably credentialed; if licensed to practice law, eligible for licensure in Illinois.

  • Continuing education in constitutional law, privacy, library science, professional ethics, and related topics.

  • Excellent writing and research skills with demonstrated ability to analyze complex legal issues and stay current on legal and political developments in order to demonstrate how these developments might affect libraries, library service, library workers, and the association.

Core Competencies/Skills:

  • Ability to think strategically about the evolving needs of the library community related to intellectual freedom and privacy topics.

  • Ability to work collaboratively within a complex organization

  • Ability to collaborate effectively with members and staff with diverse perspectives (strong interpersonal skills)

  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills with the ability to influence at various levels

  • Strong organizational skills

Equal Opportunity Employer/Protected Veterans/Individuals with Disabilities
The contractor will not discharge or in any other manner discriminate against employees or applicants because they have inquired about, discussed, or disclosed their own pay or the pay of another employee or applicant. However, employees who have access to the compensation information of other employees or applicants as a part of their essential job functions cannot disclose the pay of other employees or applicants to individuals who do not otherwise have access to compensation information, unless the disclosure is (a) in response to a formal complaint or charge, (b) in furtherance of an investigation, proceeding, hearing, or action, including an investigation conducted by the employer, or (c) consistent with the contractor's legal duty to furnish information. 41 CFR 60-1.35(c)