Position Announcement: Director, Special Collections & University Archives, Vanderbilt University

By IS Lab May 25, 2022

This post was originally published on this site.

Vanderbilt University and the Vanderbilt Libraries are in an exciting time of transformation. With new leadership at the Chancellor, Provost and University Librarian levels, the libraries are re-envisioning the future of library services at Vanderbilt. Through radical collaboration we seek to deepen student and faculty engagement with the libraries, equip students for life-long information proficiency, increase faculty research impact, create more opportunities for interdisciplinary experimentation, and optimize access to collections and resources, including marginalized and hidden histories and cultures.

The Director, Special Collections and University Archives is part of the Vanderbilt Libraries’ Special Collections and University Archives at Vanderbilt University provides leadership, vision, and strategic direction for Special Collections and University Archives within the context of the strategic plans and goals of the University Libraries as well as Vanderbilt University.  The Director works closely with other library departments to further reference and instruction, collection development and access, digital collections, cataloging and metadata, digital preservation, outreach strategies, and events.

As Vanderbilt University’s Special Collections and University Archives aligns ever more closely with the university’s instructional and research needs, the library is re-evaluating the way it collects, preserves, and makes accessible its collections. The new director will work closely with library staff, faculty and university administration to develop ways to elevate and assess our resources and services.

Duties and Responsibilities

  • Provides leadership, vision, and management of Special Collections and University Archives;
  • Mentors library staff to assure they are on track and developing skills to enrich their work;
  • Leads emergency planning for the collections;
  • Works closely with the University Archivist to oversee management of the archival offsite facility for the storage of the manuscript collections, rare books, photographs, painting, audio-visual materials, and university history; develops long-term storage plan for all print and other analog collections in conjunction with library and university stakeholders;
  • Nurtures a culture of assessment in all Special Collections and University Archives activities;
  • In conjunction with curators and archivists, develops and monitors outreach plan for teaching with primary sources;
  • Prioritizes and tracks processing and digitization of the collections with a goal of increasing access to materials online;
  • With core collections and preservation services, leads the effort to create a collections strategy for our digital infrastructure;
  • Leads effort to communicate the library’s accomplishments;
  • Stewards existing donors; Identifies potential donors based on the instructional and research needs of the university;
  • Pursues external grant funding opportunities, working with the libraries’ business office to develop grant proposals;
  • Manages the operating budget, including endowment-funded initiatives, to support programming, collection development and stewardship, and operations of the library;
  • Stays abreast of current innovations in teaching, processing, and digitization of distinctive collections;
  • Publishes regularly in the GLAM (Galleries, Libraries, Archives and Museums) community;
  • Collaborates with other library departments and staff that support the complete life cycle for digital collections;
  • Whenever possible, promotes open access to collections.

Applicants who apply by June 17th, will receive first consideration.

RBMS News Blog note on salary: This institution does not publicly list salaries in its job postings 


We encourage applications by a diverse group of candidates.  The successful person in this position will understand how to maximize opportunities to use distinctive collections and technology to implement strategies of equity, diversity, and inclusion and will creatively build partnerships within the university that catalyze discoveries in research and instruction.

  • Masters’ Degree in a related field is required;
  • ALA-accredited MLS/MLIS degree is required; a concentration in archival administration is preferred;
  • Ph.D. in a related field is preferred.
  • A minimum of five years of professional experience leading special collections/archival services/operations and demonstrated evidence of progressively increasing scope of supervisory and management responsibility in an academic or research library or similar institution is required;
  • Demonstrated project management skills is required;
  • Demonstrated success in fundraising, including grants and individual and corporate awards is required;
  • Excellent oral, written, planning, and interpersonal skills is required;
  • Knowledge and understanding of key issues and trends in special collections and archives in large academic research libraries, particularly among GLAM (Galleries, Libraries, Archives and Museums) organizations is required;
  • Supervisory experience or successful experience managing a team is required;
  • Knowledge of archival standards and best practices is required;
  • Capacity to thrive in the changing environment of a major research institution is required;
  • Commitment to conducting research and service at a level to participate in the libraries’ Rank and Promotion system is required;
  • Knowledge of the rare book trade is preferred;
  • A strong record of collaboration with other units within a library system is preferred;
  • Demonstrated knowledge of archival information management systems, particularly ArchivesSpace and Aeon is preferred.

To Apply:


Commitment to Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

At Vanderbilt University, we are intentional about and assume accountability for fostering advancement and respect for equity, diversity, and inclusion for all students, faculty, and staff. Our commitment to diversity makes us who we are. We have created a community that celebrates differences and lets individuality thrive. As part of this commitment, we actively value diversity in our workplace and learning environments as we seek to take advantage of the rich backgrounds and abilities of everyone. The diverse voices of Vanderbilt represent an invaluable resource for the University in its efforts to fulfill its mission and strive to be an example of excellence in higher education.

Vanderbilt University is an equal opportunity, affirmative action employer. Women, minorities, people with disabilities and protected veterans are encouraged to apply.

Please note, all candidates selected for an offer of employment are subject to pre-employment background checks, which may include but are not limited to, based on the role for which they have been selected: criminal history, education verification, social media review, motor vehicle records, credit history, and professional license verification.

About Us

Vanderbilt is a community of talented and diverse staff & faculty!

At Vanderbilt University , our work – regardless of title or role – is in service to an important and noble mission in which every member of our community serves in advancing knowledge and transforming lives on a daily basis. Located in Nashville, Tennessee, on a 330+ acre campus and arboretum dating back to 1873, Vanderbilt is proud to have been named as one of “America’s Best Large Employers” as well as a top employer in Tennessee and the Nashville metropolitan area by Forbes for several years running. We welcome those who are interested in learning and growing professionally with an employer that strives to create, foster and sustain opportunities as an employer of choice through:

  • Working and growing together as a community of communities… we are One Vanderbilt.
  • Providing a work environment where every staff and faculty member can be their authentic and best self, while providing the resources and opportunities to learn and grow.
  • Encouraging development, collaboration, and partnership both internally and externally while fostering the value that every member of the Vanderbilt community can lead and grow regardless of title or position.

We understand you have a choice when choosing where to work and pursue a career. We understand you are unique and have a story. We want to hear it. We encourage you to apply today so that you might become a part of our story.


Vanderbilt University has made the health and safety of our students, faculty and staff and our surrounding communities a top priority. As part of that commitment, the University requires all employees to (1) participate in routine on-campus COVID-19 testing or (2) show proof of full vaccination against COVID-19.