JOB: Literacy Program Specialist, San Jose Public Library, San Jose

About the Department

San José Public Library (SJPL) is the largest public library system between San Francisco and Los Angeles. A proud recipient of the IMLS National Medal for Museum and Library Service and the Gale/Library Journal Library of the Year Award, the library is an acknowledged leader in providing innovative services to meet changing customer needs. The San José Public Library enriches lives by fostering lifelong learning and by ensuring that every member of the community has access to a vast array of ideas and information.  With 23 branches, plus the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library, we offer tremendous opportunities for learning, discovery and pure enjoyment.

Positions & Duties

The Library is seeking Literacy Program Specialists to join our team and change the lives of those we serve!  The ideal candidate for these positions will understand, support, practice and promote the San José Way of library innovation and the Mission, Vision, & Values statements of the City of San José and the San José Public Library; demonstrate leadership and a commitment to active customer service; have knowledge of current literacy technology and trends; have experience working with a diverse community and staff; and enjoy working in a fast-paced, innovative team environment.  Literacy Program Specialists are responsible for coordinating programs and services provided by the library.

Literacy Program Specialists are community connectors. They identify community needs, collaborate with partner organizations, and guide library customers to information and helpful resources. Specialists are responsible for performing a variety of professional duties including: implementing grants; planning/implementing or finding partners for library programs; conducting community outreach; evaluating the effectiveness of programs, computer software, and online learning tools; formulating a strong partnership with the Library’s Adult and Family Literacy department, Partners in Reading; and having knowledge of current literacy trends. These positions may include evenings and weekend shifts.

We are currently recruiting two literacy program specialists with strong communication skills for our San José Learns (SJ Learns) and San José Promise (SJ Promise) programs.

SJ Learns was established in 2015 and over the two years of this program, 16 schools in San José were able to provide enhanced after-school services to support more than 1,100 K-3rd grade students who were at-risk of not learning at grade level. You will support SJ Learns 2.0 which will include a competitive grant process, implementation of best practices, associated program evaluation and reporting to ensure quality services and align these efforts with the literacy goals of the Schools/City Collaborative.

The Literacy Program Specialist for SJ Learns will be responsible for:

  • Connecting grant-funded programs with efforts to support the Schools/City Collaborative
  • Supporting the development of a city-wide learning collaborative between City, School District, and partner organizations; and
  • Ensuring that all related programs are assessed for quality standards and student achievement.

SJ Promise is aimed at eliminating financial barriers to college, and supporting college and career readiness for San José public school students from low-income families. You will be responsible for coordinating community partnerships with programs such as Work2Future, SJ Works and implementing an online learning platform that supports college and career readiness programs.

The Literacy Program Specialist for SJ Promise will be responsible for:

  • Coordinating with local college readiness programs through the Schools/City Collaborative, Santa Clara County Office of Education, and other partners
  • Partnering with high school graduation and higher education admissions programs
  • Implementing an online learning platform that supports both SJ Promise and SJ Learns
  • Supporting the development of career readiness content on the online platform that compliments and advances current programs supported by partner City Departments

This recruitment may be used to fill multiple positions in this, or other divisions or departments. If you are interested in employment in this classification, you should apply to ensure you are considered for additional opportunities that may utilize the applicants from this recruitment.

This is a temporary position with the Library Department and is approved through June 30, 2018.  However, funding has been secured through June 2019.  Any extension of this position is subject to approval.


The ideal candidate will possess the following competencies, as demonstrated in past and current employment history.  Desirable competencies for this position include:

Job Expertise – Demonstrates knowledge of and experience with applicable professional/technical principles and practices; including literacy materials, techniques, methodologies and/or principles and practices of adult literacy programs; tutoring techniques and assessment; handling sensitive and confidential information; Citywide and departmental procedures/policies and federal and state rules and regulations.

  • Experience providing educational support to K-12 students
  • One year experience interfacing with schools and school districts, afterschool and out of school time education providers, college and entry programs especially focused on high school participants.

Communication Skills – Effectively conveys information and expresses thoughts and facts clearly, orally and in writing; demonstrates effective use of listening skills and displays openness to other people’s ideas and thoughts.

Computer Skills – Experienced with common business computer applications including but not limited to: MS Outlook, MS Word, MS PowerPoint, MS Access, and MS Excel.

Team Work and Interpersonal Skills – Develops effective relationships with co-workers and supervisors by helping others accomplish tasks and using collaboration and conflict resolution

Collaboration – Develops networks and builds alliances; engages in cross-functional activities.

Customer Service – Demonstrates the ability to anticipate customers’ needs and deliver services effectively and efficiently using professional demeanor.

Initiative – Exhibits resourceful behaviors toward meeting job objectives; anticipates problems, is proactive, and avoids difficulties by planning ahead; displays willingness to assume extra responsibility and challenges; pursues continuing education opportunities that promotes job performance.

Multi-tasking – Can handle multiple projects and responsibilities simultaneously; has handled a wide variety of assignments in past and/or current position(s).

Reliability– Completes quality work assignments in a timely and efficient manner; fulfills responsibilities and maintains confidentiality as appropriate.

Analytical Thinking – Approaches a problem or situation by using a logical, systematic, sequential approach.


Minimum Qualifications

  1. Education: Bachelor’s Degree in Literacy, Education, Social or Human Services, or related field.
  2.  Experience:  One (1) year experience working in a literacy program

Employment Eligibility:  Federal law requires all employees to provide verification of their eligibility to work in this country. Please be informed that the City of San Jose will NOT sponsor, represent, or sign any documents related to visa applications/transfers for H1-B or any other type of visa which requires an employer application.

Full job description and application instructions available online.