Systems Librarian

Montreal, Quebec, Canada
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Created: August 16, 2017


Systems Librarian
Digital Initiatives
Assistant or Associate Librarian depending upon experience (tenure-track)
Duration: Initial three-year appointment with possibility for renewal
Salary: Commensurate with experience

Posting number: 17-AL9885-01

McGill University Library & Archives seeks a collaborative, user-centred, tech-savvy and highly motivated individual for the position of Systems Librarian. This member of the McGill Library & Archives Digital Initiatives department will contribute to building capacity in our department for the management and support of the current integrated library system (Ex Libris Aleph), oversee a tentatively planned migration from Aleph to a new, yet to be selected library services platform and paired discovery layer, and manage and support these systems and their integrations with other data sources into the future.


Within sight of one of Frederick Olmsted’s great urban parks, Mount Royal, McGill University is consistently cited as one of the world's top universities and has been ranked first among Canada's medical-doctoral universities by Maclean's magazine for ten consecutive years. Established in 1821, and one of only two Canadian members of the Association of American Universities, (AAU), McGill University is located in Montreal, one of North America’s great urban centres. The University has been named one of the city’s Top Employers for the seventh consecutive year.

McGill Library & Archives has the largest collection in Quebec and is one of Canada’s largest academic libraries with over five million monograph titles and 100,000 e-journals and databases. The Library is a member of the Canadian Association of Research Libraries (CARL), the Association of Research Libraries (ARL), the Bureau de coopération interuniversitaire (BCI, formerly CRÉPUQ), and the Center for Research Libraries (CRL), and is the first Canadian member of the HathiTrust Digital Library.

The Library is committed to the delivery of innovative information products, services and programs of the highest quality focused on client needs in support of the University's strategic mission and directions. The Library proactively supports the teaching, learning and research needs of faculty and students to ensure that the university’s strategic mission of excellence as a research intensive, student-centred university is satisfied. Collection building is based upon the premise of preference for electronic versions.


Information about the University and the McGill Library is at the University’s web site ( and As a tenured stream appointee, the successful candidate is expected to devote himself or herself to the full range of academic duties as defined in the Regulations Relating to the Employment of Librarian Staff (


Primary Purpose of Position

Manages and supports the technology platforms for library management systems, including the current integrated library system, planned future library services platform, discovery layer, and integrations between these systems and others.


Duties and responsibilities include, but are not limited to:

  • Manages overall system configuration for library management system components—the integrated library system, library services platform, and discovery layer—ensuring they meet staff and patron needs.
  • Tests forthcoming system upgrades and enhancements in development or sandbox environments, and coordinates testing with other library staff. Ensures new features, interface changes, and other system upgrades are communicated effectively and in a timely manner to library staff and users. Maintains close contact with system vendors on upgrade and enhancement plans.
  • Analyzes, documents, and resolves system issues such as service outages and bugs. Coordinates with library staff and campus IT to resolve problems. Works with system vendors to track and resolve issues that cannot be addressed in-house. Provides regular reports to staff and users concerning reported, pending and resolved issues.
  • Represents McGill interests in vendors’ processes for determining system development priorities. Proactively liaises and communicates with McGill library and campus technology staff about long-term development plans for library management systems.
  • Oversees integration of library management system components with campus enterprise systems for patron data and financial data, and with other systems such as 3rd party software tools and self-checks. Coordinates programming and other technical work between the vendor, the Application Development team, and McGill campus IT.
  • Oversees data extract tasks for library management system components. Performs complex extracts on request, trains others in data extraction procedures, and troubleshoots data extraction issues. Writes basic scripts utilizing data from vendor-provided APIs to optimize data flow between systems and transform data according to project requirements. Works with the Application Development team to implement software using data from vendor-provided APIs in more complex cases.
  • Manages reporting activities for library management system components. Using deep familiarity with data structures used by these systems, designs, runs, and automates complex reports on request, trains others on the use of reporting modules, and troubleshoots reporting issues. Tracks reporting needs, scheduled reports, and custom report usage.
  • Prepares complete and accurate documentation to support library management system components and workflows in area or responsibility. Assesses training requirements for systems and assists in the creation and delivery of relevant training to library staff.
  • Serves as McGill technical project manager for tentatively planned migration from current integrated library system to cloud-based next-generation library services platform and paired discovery layer. Exact migration schedule and plans not yet determined.
  • Coordinates library management systems work at McGill with staff of the Bureau de coopération interuniversitaire (BCI) and its member institutions, in French.
  • Maintains a user-focused, helpful, and collaborative style of interaction in the performance of all job duties and in communication with all levels and types of staff and partners.
  • Maintains an active and up-to-date awareness of initiatives and offerings in area of expertise, and applies this knowledge to local work.
  • Manages selected Library technology and systems projects, in areas such as data migration and new systems implementation.
  • May occasionally be required to work non-standard hours to manage system upgrades and/or resolve system issues.

Reporting relationship

The Systems Librarian reports to the Associate Dean, Digital Initiatives.



1. ALA-accredited master’s degree in library or information science or equivalent.

2. At least two years hands-on experience with one or more of the integrated library system or library services platform products in common use in academic libraries.

3. Experience with library management system components, including integrated library systems, library services platforms, and discovery layers.

4. Knowledge of metadata standards and protocols used in modern library management systems and on the horizon, including MARC, BIBFRAME, holdings data, KBART, Dublin Core, Linked Data, RDF, and OAI-PMH.

5. Knowledge of relational databases (Oracle, MySQL, PostgreSQL or similar) and SQL fundamentals.

6. Experience with Unix or Linux.

7. Experience with at least one programming or scripting language.

8. Experience with HTML and CSS.

9. Familiarity with XML/XSLT.

10. Experience manipulating large data sets.

11. Outstanding problem-solving skills.

12. Demonstrated project management experience and skills.

13. Excellent command of both English and French, including writing, speaking, reading, and oral comprehension.


14. Familiarity with Cron jobs.

15. Experience with one or more FTP/sFTP and SSH software clients.

16. Familiarity with authentication credential systems such as Shibboleth, Active Directory, and/or LDAP.


Applications should address the above selection criteria, be accompanied by a letter of interest, curriculum vitae, and the names and addresses of three referees and should be submitted by September 14, 2017, as one (1) .pdf document. Please indicate the number of the posting (17-AL9885-01) on the letter of interest and on the subject line of the email.

Isabelle Roberge
Office of the Trenholme Dean of Libraries
McGill University
3459 McTavish Street
Montreal, Qc H3A 1Y1
Fax: (514) 398-3561

McGill University is committed to diversity and equity in employment. It welcomes applications from: women, Aboriginal persons, persons with disabilities, ethnic minorities, persons of minority sexual orientation or gender identity, visible minorities, and others who may contribute to diversification. All qualified applicants are encouraged to apply; however, in accordance with Canadian immigration requirements, Canadians and permanent residents will be given priority.

How to apply


Isabelle Roberge
Office of the Trenholme Dean of Libraries
McGill University
3459 McTavish Street
Montreal, Qc H3A 1Y1
Fax: (514) 398-3561

Library Services Platform systems librarian discovery layer


Published: Wednesday, August 16, 2017 23:34 UTC

Last updated: Wednesday, August 16, 2017 23:34 UTC