Jobs for Medievalists

The Washington University Libraries seeks dynamic and creative candidates with strong leadership skills for the position of Director of Special Collections.

RESPONSIBILITIES: The Director of Special Collections has primary responsibility for providing leadership and oversight of the University Libraries’ unique and distinctive collections, working with faculty, staff, students and external researchers to facilitate use of collections in research, teaching and scholarship.  Primary duties include:


Provide leadership for all activities within the Department of Special Collections, including acquiring, organizing, describing, preserving, digitizing, and making accessible collections of rare books, manuscripts, archives, film and video, prints and other works of art on paper, digital assets, and other rare and special materials. Lead a dynamic organization comprising curatorial specialists, professional librarians and archivists, support staff, and student workers, aligning roles and responsibilities across multiple units and campuses. Manage budgeting and staffing considerations for collections, equipment, space, preservation, digitization needs, and consider issues relevant to copyright and licensing.


Design and implement comprehensive collection development policies and procedures for all Special Collections units, including the Visual Media Research Lab, Rare Books and Manuscripts, University Archives, and Preservation.  System-wide responsibility for the management and care of special collections contained within departmental libraries, including Art & Architecture, East Asian, and Music.  Works with faculty and subject librarians to identify opportunities for expansion of Special Collections collecting strengths based on faculty teaching and research needs.


Work closely with faculty, staff, students and donors as library liaison to all academic initiatives involving Special Collections, including the Illustrated Book program, the Humanities Digital Workshop, Center for Empirical Research and the Law, and other interdisciplinary campus efforts.  Consult with faculty concerning the use of collections in teaching and research; promote collaborations on campus and with external researchers. Work collaboratively with subject librarians and staff on all levels of the organization to expand the teaching and research use of the collections in order to broaden engagement with scholarly communities and enhance the growth of and access to the Libraries’ Special Collections.


Lead fundraising efforts and donor relations for all units of Special Collections, in collaboration with the University Librarian, related campus partners, and library units. Actively participate in grant development, writing, and administration for programs from private foundations and federal agencies.


Actively promotes WUSTL Libraries’ Special Collections to the campus, scholarly, public, and external communities by overseeing the creation of exhibits, publications and events. Participate and take leadership positions within regional, national and international partnerships and consortia. Research and implement assessment programs for departmental activities to measure impacts and outcomes of programs and services.

FOR MORE INFORMATION on the Department of Special Collections, including collections strengths, collection development plans, and digital exhibitions, visit:


Required: MLS from an ALA accredited school, or Master’s degree in the humanities; Five years of supervisory or leadership experience in an academic or research library or archives with collections of international interest; Demonstrated ability to lead innovative projects and programs and to work creatively and collaboratively in a changing environment as well as active engagement in fundraising, working with donors, and gift management in addition to pursuing  and obtaining grant funding from a variety of sources, including federal agencies and private foundations.

Preferred: Experience in the following areas: designing or redesigning space for Special Collection staff, storage, use, and exhibition; acquisition of rare books, manuscripts, film, art, and illustration, and knowledge of the antiquarian book trade; supervising librarians and related support staff; managing a budget, including gift funds; implementing emerging technologies in a special collections environment and familiarity with current scholarship and research methods employed in the field of unique special collections and digital scholarship.

GENERAL INFORMATION:  Washington University, located at the western edge of the city of St. Louis, is a medium-sized, independent, research university founded in 1853, and is internationally known for excellence in teaching and research and for the quality of its faculty and student body.  The University libraries play an essential role in providing the support for these areas to the Washington University community.  For more information, please visit the Washington University/Libraries’ web sites at and


APPLICATION INFORMATION:  Applications must be submitted online at  Reference job # 28354.  For full consideration, attach a letter of application, resume, and the names of three references (including e-mail & phone number).  Review of applications will begin immediately and continue until the position is filled.

Employment eligibility verification required upon hire.  Washington University is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer.

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