Head, Department of Distinctive Collections – MIT Libraries

Cambridge, MA
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Salary: $106,495 - $175,760.
Created: October 12, 2021


Head, Department of Distinctive Collections – MIT Libraries
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Libraries (https://libraries.mit.edu) seeks a dynamic and thoughtful leader for the position of Head, Department of Distinctive Collections (DDC). The DDC Head will work across the Libraries to share MIT’s distinctive collections with the world. Success in the role will be characterized by the building of a strong, collaborative team; by the use of collections and technology to implement strategies of equity, diversity, and openness; and by realizing DDC’s potential to be a partner and a platform that catalyzes discoveries in, and new approaches to, research and community. The full position description is available at https://www.eddapartners.com/active-search.

Executing MIT’s motto of mens et manus (“mind and hand”), the incoming Head will bring innovation, creative experimentation, nuanced management, and systems thinking to guide the work of an experienced and evolving team. The successful candidate will employ an engineering mindset to lead staff and services in transforming the use of MIT’s archival and unique collections; collections that reflect the ethos of MIT as an institution that values human beings and their work process in the act of furthering science and innovation. Emerging from these last months of disruption, this focus on people as the center of change is vital.  The work of the Libraries is taking place in the context of broader reflection and action at MIT, including the first Institute-wide strategic action plan for diversity, equity, and inclusion (https://deiactionplan.mit.edu) and a wide variety of initiatives that further open and equitable scholarship (https://open-access.mit.edu/). 
At MIT, DDC (https://libraries.mit.edu/distinctive-collections/) coordinates overall collection management and service strategy for the Libraries’ combined rare and unique collections.  As part of the Collections Directorate, DDC benefits from and informs the Libraries’ comprehensive collections strategies, including the commitment to advancing equity, diversity and inclusion in the collections, and to vigorously promoting an open scholarship agenda and sharing MIT research with the world.  The incoming Head will put into practice the goals outlined in the Libraries’ New Urgency vision (https://libraries.mit.edu/about/vision/new-urgency/) within DDC: accelerating the “transformation of our library into a platform for the creation, discovery, use, dissemination, and preservation of knowledge that is fully open and equitably accessible”.

To guide the DDC in accomplishing these goals, the incoming head will lead and manage a team of sixteen staff, including the Collection Strategist, the Processing Team, the Institute Archivist, the heads of the Wunsch Conservation Lab, the Aga Khan Documentation Center, and Public Services for Distinctive Collections, as well as librarians, archivists, and support staff (represented by AFSCME Council 93) working in these areas. The DDC Head oversees all department activities, including reference, instruction, outreach and exhibits, collection development and management, records management, digital initiatives and digital archives, MIT theses policies, and donor relations. Outside of the Libraries, the DDC Head is a key point of contact with MIT’s other cultural heritage repositories and works to connect MIT’s collections across campus. The DDC Head will have the opportunity to play a role nationally and internationally in collaborative strategy discussions and partnerships around discovery, access, and teaching with distinctive collections.
The ideal candidate for the Department of Distinctive Collections Head will be an experienced leader (with at least 7 years of progressively responsible experience and 5+ years of managerial experience) with interest in creating a collaborative, team-focused environment; someone who has experience advancing equity, diversity and inclusion and sees responsible stewardship of shared cultural heritage and broad discovery of unique and rare materials as equity and social justice imperatives; an individual with an understanding of and love for technology, and who brings together an appreciation of tinkering and process with a drive to complete projects in a timely manner.  An MLS or other advanced degree in a related field, or equivalent combination of education and experience is required. Knowledge and/or experience in fields such as archives/special collections, digital archives and records management theory and practice including issues related to intellectual property, content management, access, and preservation is also expected.  Project management experience and/or training, familiarity with facilities management, experience writing grants, and work with prospective and existing donors are desired.
The next Head will have excellent interpersonal skills, including the ability to influence and collaborate effectively within and across organizational boundaries, to work successfully with a diverse population, and to build and sustain healthy, long-term, multi-project relationships with a wide variety of stakeholders. The ability to be flexible, tolerate ambiguity, set priorities effectively, and resolve competing demands in an atmosphere of fast-paced change will serve the next DDC Head well. Experience in all phases of change management, including people-centered implementation, assessment, and iteration is sought.
The position is pay Grade 11 with the following range: $106,495 - $141,140 - $175,760. Actual salary will depend on qualifications and experience.
MIT Libraries is an environment that welcomes any body, any mind – including all genders – and particularly encourages applications from underrepresented minorities, women, disabled applicants, and veterans. EDDA partners is committed to working openly with all and to recognizing our nation’s histories of prejudicial exclusion. The Institute promotes the principle that every person brings unique qualities and talents to the community and that every individual should be treated in a respectful manner. All members of the MIT community are expected to conduct themselves with professionalism, personal integrity, and respect for the rights, differences and dignity of others. (https://policies.mit.edu/policies-procedures/90-relations-and-responsibilities-within-mit-community)
Expressions of interest and nominations should be directed to Kristine O’Brien, PhD at EDDA partners via email kobrien@eddapartners.com. A CV and a letter of interest that includes a description of the candidate’s particular interest in this role at MIT and highlights work related to social justice, equity, and access are requested.

Please read the full position description – https://www.eddapartners.com/active-search.


Published: Tuesday, October 12, 2021 23:15 UTC

Last updated: Tuesday, October 12, 2021 23:15 UTC