The Challenge – to lead a vibrant, connected, accessible network of libraries to improve public education and the quality of life for Illinois citizens (paraphrased from RAILS Vision Statement). The Board of Directors of the newly formed Reaching Across Illinois Library System (RAILS) seeks an innovative and creative leader—capable of achieving organizational consensus amid the diverse demands and expectations of staff, member libraries, public officials and citizens. The successful candidate will be able to envision enhanced library services, inspire others to initiate innovative change that supports the cooperative spirit of Illinois libraries, lead a team of highly-talented professionals and relentlessly pursue the vision, mission and values of the System.
Reaching Across Illinois Library System (RAILS) is one of two multi-type regional library systems in Illinois. RAILS was formed in 2011, through the merger of the Alliance, DuPage, Metropolitan, North Suburban, and Prairie Area library systems. Library systems are established by state law (75 ILCS 10/), the Illinois Library System Act). Funding for Illinois Library Systems is provided through the Illinois State Library and the Secretary of State, with funds appropriated by the Illinois General Assembly. The RAILS service area covers northern and western Illinois. The system serves more than 1500 public, private, university, and school library members, representing more than 3700 library facilities in a 27,000 square mile area. Although the city of Chicago is within RAILS' boundaries, and a number of RAILS member libraries are located in Chicago, the Chicago Public Library constitutes a separate library system. RAILS provides delivery service to support Illinois’ vast interlibrary loan program, technology support for more than 800 libraries’ electronic catalogs, and Talking Book Services that serve persons with visual or physical disabilities who cannot read conventional print material. For additional details on the System, the region and its libraries see RAILS Links.