Curator of Rare Books

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Created: August 1, 2016


As its steward, provide daily care and long term leadership for the rare book collection, which encompasses a significant teaching collection of rare books, literary manuscripts, artists’ books, and graphic art. As part of dynamic team of Special Collections staff, formulate and implement policies and programs for the acquisition, processing, preservation and use of rare books; coordinate and execute outreach initiatives, social media, and events; participate in multiple teaching activities; engage actively in the planning for the new Neilson Library, especially future Special Collections spaces, as well as the library transition during construction.
Duties and Responsibilities:
Management: In collaboration with Special Collections staff, direct the public and technical services functions of the rare book collection, including development and implementation of strategic planning, best practice preservation and access policies and procedures. Supervise, train, and promote development of rare books staff, including planning long term staffing models within the scope of larger Special Collections staffing. Generate budget and annual reports, especially related to material acquisitions and grant funded staff, but also other activities. Provide and/or improve discoverability of rare books holdings through description or other means. With other staff, ensure collection maintenance and security during existing, swing, and future Special Collections spaces.

Teaching: Collaborate closely with academic departments, individual faculty, and other teaching librarians / archivists; instruct students about the creation and dissemination of knowledge as represented by the rare book collection. Develop print and digital instructional materials and exhibits as part of a wider Special Collections instruction program. Tailor instruction to support the goals of departmental information and archival literacy programs. Participate actively in the Books Studies Concentration, serving on the advisory board and potentially in leadership. Possess the capacity to teach dedicated courses related to rare books and the history of the material text across the curriculum of the College.

Collection Development: Develop and maintain rare book collection, cultivating prospective donors among alumnae, book artists, fine print community, encouraging gifts and selecting purchases. Collaborate with faculty and staff to build collections that reflect current and developing curricular and research needs in assigned subject areas. Specifically, develop the collection to better align with the broad range of diverse voices, interests, and intellectual traditions present at Smith College. Manage the rare books acquisition budget and manage income from endowed funds. Participate in collection development policy review at regular intervals.

Reference/Outreach: In coordination with other Special Collections staff, manage and provide on-site and distance reference services and facilitate access to the rare book collection to students, faculty, and other visitors. Develop pertinent and enticing content for Libraries’ website and Special Collections social media. Participate in the Special Collections exhibition program and organize openings, readings, and other events to publicize holdings.

Participate in the work of the Libraries through service on Special Collections, library-wide, and Five College committees. Partner with other stakeholders and organizations around the college in the teaching, learning, and research mission. Engage in other professional activities, especially in the vibrant New England book and book arts communities, and keep current with existing and emerging rare book and archival professional practices including methodologies, theories, and technologies.

Other: Perform related duties as required.
Education/Experience: Master’s degree from an ALA-accredited program or equivalent experiences with an emphasis on rare book bibliography or special collections librarianship. Bibliographic knowledge of two languages in addition to English; knowledge of contemporary archival practice and principles; knowledge of digital content production, management, and preservation best practices. Knowledge and experience with bibliographic and archival encoding standards, semantic text markup, professional engagement with BIBFRME, and deep understanding of RDA and the DCRM suite of descriptive cataloging standards. Minimum three years of experience.

Skills: Knowledge of the history of the book; excellent interpersonal and communication skills; proficiency in lecturing and presentations; knowledge of the antiquarian and rare book trades and bibliophilic world; ability to plan and execute programs and projects with a high degree of both autonomy and collaboration; experience in supervising, planning, and managing operations; demonstrated flexibility in the face of change and a successful track record managing processes of change.

Last updated: Tuesday, February 28, 2017 23:40 UTC