Director – Mertz Library, New York Botanical Garden

Established in 1891, The New York Botanical Garden (NYBG) is distinguished by the beauty of its landscape, collections, and gardens, and the scope and excellence of its programs in horticulture, education, and science.  

The 250-acre Garden—the largest in any city in the United States—is a National Historic Landmark. NYBG encompasses 50 specialty gardens and collections comprising more than one million plants, the Nolen Greenhouses for Living Collections, and the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory, the nation’s preeminent Victorian-style glasshouse. Highlights include the award-winning Peggy Rockefeller Rose Garden, considered among the world’s most sustainable rose gardens; the Native Plant Garden, celebrating the diversity of northeastern North American plants; and 30,000 distinguished trees, many more than 200 years old. More than one million visitors annually enjoy the grounds, view innovative exhibitions, and participate in educational programs that are larger and more diverse than those of any other garden in the world.  

NYBG is driven by a mission to conduct basic and applied research on the plants of the world with the goal of protecting and preserving them. Currently a growing staff of 17 Ph.D. scientists are engaged in hundreds of collaborations at field sites around the world, including in North America, South America, the Caribbean, southeast Asia, and the south Pacific. NYBG is one of the few freestanding botanical gardens in the world where plant and fungal research is conducted, thanks to the resources of the International Plant Science Center, the William and Lynda Steere Herbarium, and the LuEsther T. Mertz Library. The second largest in the world, the Steere Herbarium houses 7.8 million plant specimens, representing all groups of plants and fungi from around the world, with strength in the flora of the Americas. The LuEsther T. Mertz Library is the largest botanical and horticultural library in the Western Hemisphere, with more than 11 million archival items spanning 10 centuries.  

The LuEsther T. Mertz Library was founded in 1899 and has evolved to be one of the largest, most comprehensive botanical libraries in the world and contains ten centuries of knowledge about all aspects of plants and related topics. The Library’s collections comprise more than one million print and non-print items, including 550,000 volumes of books and journals, more than 32,000 pieces of art and illustration, plus 6,953 linear feet of archival materials representing more than 75 percent of the world’s literature on systematic botany and approximately 83 percent of the world’s published floras. The Library builds its collections through active purchasing, exchanges with other libraries and gifts.  

Reporting directly to the Head of Science, the Director will oversee the activities of the LuEsther T. Mertz Library and provide strategic vision and leadership for the team and collections. The Director will be a champion of libraries and must be able to lead the Library on a global stage as well as within NYBG. The new Director will envision a future for the library as a major site of support for and expression of the NYBG’s mission and core values. They will be active participants in garden-wide discussions of creating and enhancing teaching and learning that are relevant to 21st-century challenges and opportunities. They will raise the visibility of and advocate for the library and the institution. The Library is a key player in the execution of the NYBG’s strategic goals, including the advancement of the NYBG’s commitment to inclusion, diversity, equity and accessibility.  

The successful candidate must have a record of demonstrated leadership in a library setting, with increasing responsibilities, which include effective supervision of professional librarians and commitment to realizing the values of the NYBG in a library context. A MLS or MLIS from an accredited program or equivalent experience in a library setting is preferred but not required. An advanced degree or experience working in a museum or special collection would also be advantageous. An ability to inspire, set goals, and innovate; to engage and unite stakeholders; to listen carefully and communicate persuasively; to build strong relationships and collaborate effectively; to understand and support the needs of all disciplines and inter-disciplines; to demonstrate familiarity and comfort with individual and institutional fundraising; and to operate library administrative and budgetary functions with a high level of skill are all desired qualities.  

WittKieffer is assisting The New York Botanical Garden in this search. For fullest consideration, candidate materials should be received by February 13, 2023. All applications, nominations and inquiries are invited. Applications should include, as separate documents, a CV or resume and a letter of interest.  

Application materials should be submitted using WittKieffer’s  

Nominations and inquiries can be directed to: Jessica Herrington, Cathryn Davis and Melissa Fincher at  

Compensation Range: $155,000 to $200,000  

The New York Botanical Garden is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer. The Garden does not discriminate in its employment practices due to an applicant’s race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, national origin and veteran or disability status. Underrepresented communities, Black, Indigenous, persons of color, women, veterans, and individuals with disabilities are encouraged to apply.

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