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Boston University ASSOCIATE UNIVERSITY LIBRARIAN FOR SPECIAL COLLECTIONS, Boston University Libraries in BOSTON, Massachusetts

The Boston University Libraries seek an Associate University Librarian (AUL) for Special Collections to provide administrative oversight to, coordinate operations of, and support deep researcher engagement with BU’s distinctive collections and institutional archives in both physical and digital formats. Reporting to the University Librarian, the AUL for Special Collections is a new leadership role in the BU Libraries organization charged with reimagining the goals of its special collections and digital scholarship programs and with building greater capacity for delivering access and preservation to the university’s rich holdings. A successful candidate will offer both strategic vision and established expertise to all areas of the BU Libraries special collections and digital scholarship programs while fostering relationships and opportunities during this exciting period of growth and expansion. This is a rewarding senior role for a highly motivated and experienced library leader who is excited to shape the future of special collections and digital initiatives in a large research library in the heart of Boston.

Through deep personal engagement, depth of experience, and intellectual leadership, this AUL oversees and sets the agenda for two departments: (1) the library’s principal special collections unit, the Howard Gotlieb Archival Research Center, which manages the manuscript holdings and archives of numerous significant figures, including literary and performing artists, journalists, noted alumni, and public intellectuals of the twentieth century, and (2) the library’s new digitization and digital initiatives program and facility, Digital Ventures.

Opening fall 2023, Digital Ventures is a new library digitization and digital initiatives unit set to transform the way that BU creates, preserves, and supplies online access to special collections and other unique material of cultural and research value. The AUL for Special Collections supports the work and strategic directions of Digital Ventures through its director and advocates for campus researcher engagement and the preparation of new systems for online engagement with BU’s holdings. The successful AUL candidate thus will have a passion for research engagement and digital initiatives and will actively foster nascent initiatives in the creation of and engagement with digital collections.

The AUL for Special Collections has a wide remit for the promotion, management, creation of, and researcher engagement with distinctive collections in both print and digital formats. In addition to directing all acquisitions and research support activities of the Gotlieb Center, this AUL will also develop practices that apply to special and distinctive collections held across the BU Libraries system, including to those in its African Studies Library and Music Library branches, and will work across departments to implement a cohesive strategy for access, discovery, and preservation of special collections material. This AUL will:

  • Refine and advance the library’s special collections development policies.

  • Enhance Boston University’s archives’ and special collections’ dual role as a premier research destination and as a teaching collection.

  • Provide access and instructional support through mediated and digital access to unique and rare materials held throughout the BU Libraries system.

  • Take the lead on relationship development and management with prospective and existing contributors with whom the libraries have or seek collecting agreements.

  • Expand strategies for acquisition, exhibition, preservation, and conservation of the rare books, manuscripts, and other archival materials held throughout the collections.

  • Guide and oversee the work of digitization and preparation of digital collections, collaborating with faculty, librarians, technologists, and other specialists supporting research and learning at Boston University to facilitate digital scholarship opportunities.

Required Skills

  • Master’s degree in library and information science, archives management, or a related field.

  • 5–8 years of experience in research libraries or other cultural heritage and higher education institutions.

  • Combination of relevant program experience in special collections, digital scholarship, and/or archives management.

  • A passion for research engagement and digital initiatives.

  • Readiness to engage in special collections acquisitions and development.

  • The ability to prepare and implement strategic plans.

  • The ability to manage and oversee complex projects.

  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills.For consideration, please submit a cover letter, CV, and list of professional references. Applications received by September 30, 2023 will receive priority consideration. Requests for additional information about the opportunity welcome:

Working at Boston University Libraries

Boston University Libraries is a learning organization that supports BU librarians, archivists, and information and subject specialists seeking and sharing knowledge, practices, and perspectives that advance library collections and services, and their own professional development and growth. In a collaborative, supportive, and engaging work environment, BU Libraries expert staff assist multidisciplinary research and exploration, build distinctive collections and archives of enduring research value, and empower users to thrive amid an ever-changing information environment.

Recognizing the central role the library system plays in its robust research and learning agendas, Boston University has made the BU Libraries a focal point of its BU2030 Strategic Plan, investing in core services, innovative programs, and plans for significant renovations of its central branch.

The BU Libraries are at the heart of BU’s vibrant academic experience, serving as a community connector, provider of vital research and instructional services for faculty and students, and the access point to a wealth of timely scholarly resources. In addition, the Gotlieb Center at the BU Libraries maintains over 2,000 different manuscript collections in the fields of literature, criticism, journalism, drama, music, film, civil rights, diplomacy, and national affairs in additional to its rare and special book collections and historic Boston University Archives (approx. 60,000 linear feet). Notable collections of the Gotlieb Center include the papers of Boston University’s most noted alumnus, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., as well as the papers of Isaac Asimov; Alistair Cooke; Bette Davis; Maya Deren; Robert Frost; Nikki Giovanni, David Halberstam; W. Somerset Maugham; Partisan Review Magazine; Dan Rather; Theodore Roosevelt; Ethel & Julius Rosenberg; Sonia Sanchez; Howard & Sue Bailey Thurman; and long-time faculty member Elie Wiesel, among many others.

Located in the heart of Boston, the BU Libraries are embedded in numerous vibrant regional and national library and information specialist networks. The BU Libraries are active members within the Boston Library Consortium, the Association of Research Libraries, and the Coalition for Networked Information, and library staff at BU serve as engaged thought-leaders on a wide breadth of library management and service areas across diverse communities. Through the Libraries, BU also is a member of the Association of Research Libraries (ARL), the Coalition for Networked Information (CNI), the Northeast Research Libraries Consortium (NERL), HathiTrust, the Boston Library Consortium (BLC), the Eastern Academic Scholars’ Trust (EAST), the OCLC Research Library Partnership, the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC), and the Higher Education Leadership Initiative for Open Scholarship (HELIOS).

Boston University, a member of the Association of American Universities (AAU), is one of the leading private research and teaching institutions in the world, with three primary campuses in the heart of Boston and programs around the globe. Chartered in 1869, the University is home to more than 33,000 students from more than 130 countries, 375,000 living alumni, 10,000 faculty and staff, and 17 schools and colleges.

We are an equal opportunity employer, and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, age, national origin, physical or mental disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, genetic information, military service, pregnancy or pregnancy-related condition, or because of marital, parental, or veteran status. We are a VEVRAA Federal Contractor.

Required Experience