Director, Rare Book & Manuscript Library

Job Information


Director, Rare Book and Manuscript Library


Columbia University Libraries/Information Services invites nominations and applications for the position of Director of the Rare Book & Manuscript Library (RBML), one of the world's leading special collections.

The Director guides collection development, oversees technical and user services, and provides dynamic leadership in shaping services and outreach to scholars at Columbia University and beyond. In collaboration with preservation, digital program, and instructional technology units, the Director expands preservation of and access to the RBML's unique collections in support of research, teaching, and learning. The Director manages an annual materials budget of approximately $1.9 million and a team of 26 curators, archivists, and other staff. Reporting to the Associate University Librarian for Collections & Services, the Director serves on both Management Committee and the Distinctive Collections Group and represents the organization at regional, national, and international forums. In addition, the Director leads an extensive public outreach program of exhibitions, lectures, panels, and symposia. The Director seeks and directs various grant-funded projects and leads fundraising activities for the RBML.

The Rare Book & Manuscript Library is Columbia University's largest repository for primary source collections. The range of collections in the RBML span more than 4,000 years and comprise rare printed works, cylinder seals, cuneiform tablets, papyri, and Coptic ostraca; medieval and renaissance manuscripts; as well as art, photography, and realia. Some 500,000 printed books and 14 miles of manuscripts, personal papers, organizational archives and records form the core of RBML holdings. The history of publishing, comics, graphic arts, human rights, the performing arts, and the Bakhmeteff Archive of Russian émigré materials are strengths of the RBML. The RBML is also home to the University Archives and the archival arm of the Columbia Center for Oral History. In addition, the RBML hosts several faculty and graduate student researchers each year through both the Library Research Awards and Primary Sources Internship programs. For more information about RBML collections and services, see 

New York, NY
Starts On
Jan. 22, 2014, 2:28 p.m.

Job Requirements


The successful candidate will have:

-a strong understanding of humanities scholarship, including the role of primary source materials in humanities research, teaching, and learning;

-an accredited MLS and/or an advanced degree, preferably a PhD, in a relevant subject area or an equivalent combination of education and experience;

-a commitment to and experience in building and preserving primary source collections;

-successful experience developing and managing outreach and exhibition programs;

-demonstrated experience working effectively with faculty and students;

-an enthusiasm for and experience in fundraising, grant writing, and cultivating friends and donors;

-the proven ability to manage in a complex organization, including budget, staff supervision, and planning experience;

-an understanding of technology's role in enhancing information discovery and access, including the growing importance of collecting, preserving, and providing access to born-digital primary source materials; and

-excellent interpersonal and communication skills.