Free Library of Philadelphia

Community Organizer, Free Library of Philadelphia

Posted on May 7, 2018

The mission of the Free Library of Philadelphia is to advance literacy, guide learning, and inspire curiosity. Its vision is to build an enlightened community devoted to lifelong learning. The Free Library of Philadelphia Foundation develops resources to expand, enhance, and support the services, collections, building programs, and other activities of the Free Library of Philadelphia.

Libraries are no longer buildings only filled with books. They are community learning centers that aim to address community needs. We are not waiting for patrons to come into the building. We are taking our work out into the community to meet people where they are and learn more about how we can better serve the neighborhood.

Library Friends groups are independent community groups that support and steward individual neighborhood libraries as well as the Free Library system as a whole. The Friends groups are a vital component of the library system and insuring that we are a community centered institution.  They serve as the bridge between the library and the community by: informing library staff of community issues and needs and facilitating opportunities for the library to partner with the community in addressing those needs; promoting the library and its educational, informational, and cultural resources; developing and implementing community programming; raising funds to augment the library’s budget; educating local and State policymakers on issues facing the library and the community; and much more.

The City of Philadelphia is undergoing a massive investment in its public spaces. Rebuilding Community Infrastructure (Rebuild) is the program that will invest hundreds of millions of dollars to revitalize deteriorating parks, rec centers, and libraries. A big part of the impact of this program will be the community capacity building work that will take place in addition to the capital improvements. This new investment provides a unique opportunity to increase the amount of support for Friends groups and community members who are interested in stewarding neighborhood libraries and public spaces.

This is a 23 month grant funded Foundation position with the possibility to transition into other roles if funding allows.

RESPONSIBILITIES: The primary responsibilities of the Community Organizer will consist of, but are not limited to, the following duties:

-Developing and supporting library Friends groups across the City
-Preparing library Friends groups to participate in the Rebuild community engagement process
-Building long-term relationships between the library and neighborhood organizations, stakeholders, and community members
-Providing targeted outreach to non-library users to understand how the library can better serve the needs of that neighborhood
-Training and supporting staff in their community engagement work
-Working with library staff to create and implement a neighborhood specific community engagement plan
-Supporting library staff and administrators in their work to create a regional coalition of organizations and individuals working to improve their communities
-Supporting City-Wide library advocacy


-A minimum of one year of community organizing experience.

Additional experience preferred
-Experience facilitating community meetings and creating outreach and engagement plans
-A demonstrated commitment to and experience with community empowerment, capacity building, and leadership development
-Ability to work frequent evening and weekend hours
-Ability to travel throughout the City. Possessing a valid driver’s license preferred
-Ability to work collaboratively with staff and community partners to build upon existing community relationships
-Ability to meet people where they are at and support their personal and professional development
-Ability to work with diverse populations and acknowledge the variety of experiences that individuals have with institutions such as the library
-A good faith commitment to working within assigned neighborhoods for the full 23 months
-A bachelor’s degree in a relevant field or additional community organizing experience

Additional Desired Qualifications
-Fluency in a language other than English a plus
-Understanding of the history and economic condition of Philadelphia neighborhoods as well as the underlying political and social influences  This position has a Full Benefit Package including Health, dental, life, and disability insurances; flex benefits and retirement plan; generous leave time allowance.

Interviews will be held on a rolling basis with the position starting as soon as the applicant is available Pennsylvania State Child Abuse Clearance, FBI Fingerprint Clearance, and a Pennsylvania Criminal Background Clearance are required to be obtained before employment begins.

To apply: Please e-mail cover letter and resume with “Community Organizer” in the subject line to:

The Free Library of Philadelphia Foundation is an Equal Employment Opportunity Employer. Minorities and LGBTQ individuals are encouraged to apply.

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