Global Program Officer, Book Publishing
Room to Read seeks to transform the lives of millions of children in developing countries by focusing on literacy and gender equality in education. Working in collaboration with local communities, partner organizations and governments, we develop literacy skills and a habit of reading among primary school children, and support girls to complete secondary school with the relevant life skills to succeed in school and beyond.
We are non-governmental, non-religious and work with many local NGOs and community based organizations to implement our programs. We currently work in Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Laos, Nepal, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Vietnam, and Zambia – countries with a desperate lack of resources to educate their children. Since our inception, Room to Read’s worldwide team has impacted over 7 million children by constructing more than 1,600 schools, establishing over 15,000 libraries, publishing 800 new children’s book titles in 11 local languages, and rewarding over 20,000 girls with long-term, holistic scholarships.
Room to Read has an annual budget of approximately US$43.7 million and our global staff numbers over 500. Our global headquarters is located in San Francisco, and we have smaller fundraising offices in Delhi, New York, Hong Kong, London, Mumbai, Sydney, and Tokyo. We have an Asia Regional Office located in New Delhi and program offices in Colombo, Dar es Salaam, Dhaka, Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Kathmandu, Lusaka, New Delhi, Pretoria, Phnom Penh, and Vientiane.
Room to Read’s Literacy Strategy:
Literacy is part of the right to a basic education and is crucial for economic, social and political participation and development. For children to acquire literacy skills to become lifelong readers and learners, one crucial input is regular access to books and other reading materials, which are scarce in many of the communities where Room to Read operates. Room to Read establishes libraries and publishes local language books to fill this gap. Since our inception, we have witnessed that children often do not have the grade-appropriate literacy skills needed to take full advantage of the School Libraries and Book Publishing resources. To achieve the long-term goal of helping all children become independent readers, Room to Read has also initiated a Reading and Writing Instruction program for instructional and material support to primary schools.
The Book Publishing program is one of four programs under Room to Read’s Literacy Pillar. Its primary focus is to ensure that children have access to high-quality, engaging books from the earliest stages of their educational experiences. This includes sourcing existing books in countries as well as promoting the development of new books where there are gaps. Activities include facilitating workshops for new authors and illustrators; procuring, publishing, and printing books; researching and promoting strategies to improve children’s engagement in reading; engaging communities in the development and selection of books; and developing strategies to increase the scale of program activities.
The other three Literacy programs at Room to Read include development of libraries, support for reading and writing instruction, and support for school infrastructure. At present, all four programs work collaboratively but separately from each other. However, we are working through a process to integrate the individual programs as a single, comprehensive literacy program.
The Global Program Officer, Book Publishing is on Room to Read’s Global Programs team. This person serves as the global strategic thought leader for Room to Read’s Book Publishing portfolio and is responsible for providing guidance and expertise to Regional and Country teams in managing our publishing work. The Program Officer will report to the Chief Program Officer, will be based in San Francisco, and will require international travel approximately 25 to 30 percent of the time.
Primary Duties & Responsibilities:
- Serve as the thought leader for our global Book Publishing team in program visioning and strategy, particularly regarding issues such as book accessibility, quality, expansion, and children’s engagement;
- Oversee current global Book Publishing projects, including early grade reader guidelines, book leveling guidelines, decodable texts, children’s book preferences, development of a digital platform to archive and share publications; alternative publishing and printing models to reduce costs and increase book access; as well as initiate and oversee new projects;
- Promote the Book Publishing team’s leadership in Literacy program convergence;
- Work with the global Research, Monitoring, and Evaluation team to develop the organizational research agenda regarding Book Publishing; and support the design and implementation of the Book Publishing elements of Room to Read’s monitoring and evaluation system;
- Work with program teams to codify best practices in Book Publishing activities so that they can be shared across existing countries of operation and rolled out in new ones;
- Stay informed about research and trends in the area of materials development and book publishing, and recommend improvements to our programs accordingly;
- Continue to promote the development of local authors, illustrators, and publishers who can support the creation of beautiful, creative, engaging, and targeted reading content for beginning readers;
- Design conferences and workshops for in-country Book Publishing Program Officers;
- Provide direct support to the Book Publishing teams in Africa, where Room to Read does not currently have a Regional Book Publishing staff member;
- Support Regional Book Publishing Managers and Country Literacy Directors in the effective management of programs and budgets to promote the successful achievement of Book Publishing goals;
- Write guidelines for standard practices, policies, and specifications to be followed in all Book Publishing projects;
- Assist with launching Book Publishing activities in new and existing countries and work with in-country teams to identify strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats to successful implementation;
- Travel regularly throughout the year to the countries in which we operate assisting with capacity building, quality assurance and collecting information to enhance program strategy, and acting as technical assistance as needed;
Book production and distribution
- Oversee the editing and production of local storybooks in English, author/illustrator/story summaries in English, program anecdotes, and best practice case studies from in-country teams;
- Promote effective production and distribution channels for Book Publishing products;
External communications and business development
- Represent Room to Read in different forums (within the organization and externally) to educate about our programs and advocate for them with a particular focus on our Book Publishing efforts;
- Network with other non-profits running similar programs to find areas of collaboration and knowledge sharing;
- Write summaries of unique program strengths and innovations for award submissions;
- Collaborate with the business development team in developing grant proposals; and
- Other tasks in relation to the Book Publishing portfolio, as necessary.
- Bachelor’s degree (in education, languages, communications, or a related field);
- Prior experience working in the book publishing industry, preferably related to children’s books;
- Experience in successful implementation of a wide range of tasks;
- Experience in developing and implementing programmatic improvements;
- Strong editorial skills, with a demonstrated eye for visual design;
- Understanding of bilingual and multi-lingual issues;
- Prior success working closely and building relationships with diverse groups of people;
- Ability and desire to travel frequently internationally;
- Effectiveness in working or volunteering in a non-profit organization that is focused on maintaining high quality work and low overhead;
- Prior experience in a fast-paced, growth-oriented global or regional organization;
- Proven track record of achieving results;
- Excellent verbal and written communication skills in English;
- Ability to juggle multiple priorities simultaneously and take initiative; and
- Legally eligible to work in the United States; no sponsorship provided.
- A master’s degree in a related field of study;
- A minimum of seven years of professional experience;
- Prior experience living and/or working internationally, particularly in a developing country.
To be successful as a member of the Room to Read team, you will also:
- Have a passion for our mission and a strong desire to impact an up-and-coming non-profit organization
- Be an innovative and creative thinker – you are not afraid to try something new and inspire others to do so
- Have a very high level of personal and professional integrity and trustworthiness
- Have a strong work ethic and require minimal direction
- Work well independently as well as part of a team
- Thrive in a fast-paced and fun environment
The salary range for this position will be determined based upon the experience of the candidate hired. Competitive benefits package includes health, dental and 401k. Additional benefits involve a unique opportunity to be part of an innovative, meaningful, fun, and rapidly growing organization that is changing the world through the lifelong gift of education.
Please send a cover letter with salary expectations and resume by email, with “Global Program Officer - Book Publishing” in the subject line (no letters, calls, faxes, or drop-ins) to firstname.lastname@example.org. Due to high applicant volume you may not receive a response from Room to Read.
Room to Read is an equal opportunity employer committed to identifying and developing
the skills and leadership of people from diverse backgrounds.