Head, Woodward Library & Biomedical Branch Library | UBC Library | Vancouver Campus | Full-time, term General Librarian

Head, Woodward Library & Biomedical Branch Library
UBC Library, Vancouver Campus
Full-time, term General Librarian position
Anticipated Start Date: March 1, 2021


The University of British Columbia Library is one of the largest academic libraries in Canada and consistently ranks among the top university research libraries in North America. UBC Library has 14 branches and divisions, two campuses (Vancouver and Kelowna), one off-site hospital library, and the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre – a multi-purpose teaching and learning facility.

The Library’s collection of over 7M items includes 1.4M ebooks, 229,020 electronic journals, 850,000 maps, audio, DVD/video and graphic materials, and 1,703 bibliographic and fulltext databases.

More than 300 knowledgeable employees – librarians, management and professional staff, support staff and student staff – provide users with the excellent resources and services that they need to further their research, teaching and learning. The UBC Library Strategic Framework can be viewed at https://about.library.ubc.ca/about-us/strategic-framework/. To learn more about working with UBC Library and to explore our aspirational values visit UBC Library – Work with us.


The Woodward Library provides reference, information and circulation services and collections, to support research, teaching and learning in the sciences. Woodward Library serves 7 faculties: Applied Science, Dentistry, Forestry, Land & Food Systems, Medicine, Pharmaceutical Sciences, Science; over 50 departments. Woodward has collections in atmospheric sciences, biology, botany, chemical and biological engineering, chemistry, civil engineering, dentistry, electrical engineering, environmental engineering, forestry, geology, geophysics, land and food systems, materials science, medicine, mechanical engineering, mining engineering, nursing, nutrition, oceanography, palaeontology, pharmaceutical sciences, physics, pulp and paper, transportation, wood sciences, zoology, and related fields, and houses the largest biomedical collection in western Canada. The Library’s involvement in the Distributed Medical Program is also overseen by the Head. The Head, Woodward Library, is responsible for providing strategic leadership to people, services and operations including the development of collections, new user spaces, and services to position the Woodward Library as a vital resource for UBC, now and into the future. The scope of this position includes the organization, administration and operation of library staff and budgets across several areas including reference, research, circulation services and collection development. The Head will plan, implement and manage existing and new services focused on meeting evolving user needs. The nature and scope of responsibilities are carried out within the context of a changing environment and in collaboration with colleagues and staff as appropriate as the Library organization and operational model evolves. The Head is responsible for building operations and the development and oversight of the Woodward Library building. The Head is also responsible for the strategic leadership of the Biomedical Branch Library located at Vancouver General Hospital.


A graduate degree from an ALA accredited program in Library or Information Science is required. Strong leadership and management skills and exceptional administrative ability developed and demonstrated by progressively responsible work experiences are required. Demonstrated leadership in collaboration and building relationships with colleagues both internal and external to the operational unit are required. Effective interpersonal and communication skills, including the demonstrated ability to win the trust and confidence of staff and colleagues and a track record of success in the motivation and mentoring of staff in a team based environment are required. Supervisory experience is essential. An academic background or significant experience working in the sciences is highly desirable. Additionally, awareness of emerging areas in scholarly communications, relevant professional experience, familiarity with faculty-library liaison, virtual services, systematic reviews, collection development and library instruction as well as commitment to responsive and innovative information services are highly desirable. The ideal candidate will have a strong sense of the future directions of libraries and be able to articulate this in meaningful ways to staff, colleagues, students and faculty. Dedicated to cultivating an inclusive environment that recognizes barriers faced by people, and encourages and incorporates contributions from diverse groups and individuals. Creates a supportive and open environment where everyone is able to listen, contribute and engage with colleagues and ideas and provide and receive timely, constructive feedback. Creates an environment that embraces curiosity, ideas, creativity and innovation and provides opportunities and flexibility to explore new initiatives.


The Head, Woodward and BMB, works under the general direction of and reports to the Associate University Librarian, Research & Scholarship. The Head supervises a team of subject liaison librarians and directly and indirectly supervises the work of support staff and students in Information and Circulation Services, and ILL/Document Delivery. The BMB librarian reports directly to this position and collaborates on UBC hospital library issues. BMB library staff report directly to their branch librarian. The Head consults with their AUL and Library Human Resources on matters affecting staff. Similar liaison occurs with the Library’s Collections Services and Central Technical Services staff on matters of ordering and processing collections. The development and maintenance of strong working relationships with the AUL Collections, AUL Teaching, Learning & Engagement, and AUL Digital Programs and Services is important. The Head will be responsible for the organization and operation of services within the parameters of the Library’s operational needs as determined by their AUL. This position collaborates extensively with the heads, librarians and staff from other units within the Library as well as other stakeholders at UBC including the 7 Faculties. The nature and scope of the responsibilities for this position are expected to change as the Library organization evolves.

Dedicated to cultivating an inclusive environment that recognizes barriers faced by people, and encourages and incorporates contributions from diverse groups and individuals.

Contributes to the Library’s sense of community and achievement of common goals through cooperation across units/groups and encouragement of equitable and balanced involvement in decision making.

Promotes and fosters a supportive environment built on appreciation, recognition, learning and professional growth.

Works to build a team environment built on positive working relationships, provides guidance and resources to teams while trusting them to excel.

Creates a supportive and open environment where everyone is able to listen, contribute and engage with colleagues and ideas and provide and receive timely, constructive feedback.

Creates an environment that embraces curiosity, ideas, creativity and innovation and provides opportunities and flexibility to explore new initiatives.


In consultation with the Associate University Librarian, Research & Scholarship, provides leadership for the operations of Woodward Library and BMB Library, so that they contribute successfully to UBC Library’s vision and mission and the University’s Strategic Plan.

  1. Develops and implements goals and objectives that support the UBC Library’s strategic plan, and the University’s Strategic Plan.
  2. Provides leadership directly and indirectly for the librarians, M&P and CUPE staff in all areas of Woodward and BMB Library operations, services and collections.
  3. Assesses needs of library users and opportunities for new programs and services by consulting with users; keeps up with changes in curriculum and new areas of research, maintains strong relationships with key stakeholders in the 7 Faculties. Ensures consultation with the Library on new/changed courses and curriculum.
  4. Prepares and monitors budgets, allocates and is accountable for the use of resources. This includes setting unit priorities in consultation with staff and users.
  5. Works closely with the AUL, Research & Scholarship, and the Director, Library Human Resources, on personnel issues, including recruitment of new staff and staff development and training. Manages the performance review cycle for staff, including the development and review of job descriptions, annual conversation and setting of goals and objectives, and conducting annual activity conversations and performance reviews.
  6. Oversees the development of collections in the sciences ensuring that faculty and students are consulted on a regular basis. Ensures that librarians consult with interested faculty about collection development.
  7. In consultation with staff, users, Technical Services and Woodward Library staff, oversees the management of the physical collections in the Library including the development of criteria for the transfer of materials to storage and weeding.
  8. In consultation with the AUL and the Director, Library Finance & Facilities, plans new spaces to meet new and evolving user needs.
  9. Creates and maintains a supportive, positive and effective work environment for staff and users, creating an environment within Woodward Library that is collegial and based on mutual trust and respect.
  10. Participates in and supports the collaborative work of the UBC public service branches.
  11. Engages in the management of the UBC Library by participating as a member of the appropriate committees.
  12. Collaborates with other library units to ensure excellent service to users and to ensure effective use of resources.
  13. Engages with the initiatives of the Library Development Office in obtaining funding in support of the programs and services of the Woodward Library.
  14. Biomedical Branch Library:
    • Provides management to the BMB librarian, oversees the work to ensure that BMB is organized and managed to successfully fulfil the Library’s vision and mission statements.
    • Reviews budgets for Biomedical Branch Library and oversees the allocation and expenditures of the resources in collaboration with the branch librarian.
    • Works with the branch librarian and the Library’s HR unit to plan for staff development and training by determining the needs of the unit including individual work-related staff needs. Branch librarian allocates time for training and development at the unit level.
    • Works in collaboration with the librarian from BMB to develop library services and collections that support the medical and health sciences programs of UBC.
  1. As requested participates in the preparation of grant applications and administration of grants.
  2. Keeps current with changing expectations and roles of providing information to health professionals, engineers, etc. from student through to practitioner, by being cognizant of life long learning needs. Stays current with emergent publishing patterns, product developments and digital library activities in the sciences disciplines.
  3. Other duties as required.


It is expected this position will provide effective development of collections and services and strategic leadership in the Woodward Library, and Biomedical Branch Library.

Administrative efficiency and effectiveness, excellent public, interlibrary and staff communications; collegial, respectful and collaborative working relationships with staff and faculty; familiarity with the Library’s organization of services and adherence to its policies and procedures; awareness of developments in relevant areas of librarianship and the disciplines supported by the Woodward Library; the ability to handle complexity and diversity in the academic research environment; imaginative, innovative and analytical skills to provide cost-effective, timely services; strong supervisory skills.


Salary will be commensurate with experience and academic/professional qualifications.

This position will be filled as a full-time, ongoing General Librarian position with a five year renewable administrative term as Head, Woodward and BMB Library. If eligible and qualified, the successful applicant may be appointed with a confirmed appointment. Otherwise, there will be an initial three-year probationary appointment.  Normally, such an appointment is reviewed by the end of the second year of the appointment, and a recommendation is made at that time to grant or not to grant a confirmed appointment.

The UBC Faculty Collective Agreement can be viewed at https://hr.ubc.ca/working-ubc/faculty-collective-agreement.

Please note that the work associated with this position is currently being performed remotely in response to COVID-19. In the longer-term, on campus work will resume.

We welcome colleagues with the experiences and competencies that can contribute to our principles of inclusion, equity, and diversity.

Applications will include: a detailed and current curriculum vitae; and a letter of application that includes a statement of citizenship/immigration status and indicates the candidate’s education, training and work experience in the areas listed above.

Equity and diversity are essential to academic excellence. An open and diverse community fosters the inclusion of voices that have been underrepresented or discouraged. We encourage applications from members of groups that have been marginalized on any grounds enumerated under the B.C. Human Rights Code, including sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, racialization, disability, political belief, religion, marital or family status, age, and/or status as a First Nation, Metis, Inuit, or Indigenous person. All qualified candidates are encouraged to apply; however Canadians and permanent residents will be given priority.

To view the complete job description and to submit an application, please visit the UBC Careers page at https://hr.ubc.ca/careers-and-job-postings by midnight February 11, 2021.