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Curator of Rare Books and Manuscripts/Head of Special Collections, Haverford College, Haverford PA

The Haverford College Libraries seeks a motivated, dynamic, accomplished, and strategic leader for the position of Curator of Rare Books and Manuscripts/Head of Special Collections.  Reporting to the Librarian of the College, and working closely with the Associate Librarian, the department head will oversee the management of, and participate in the important work of, the College’s Special Collections.  The Curator of Rare Books and Manuscripts/Head of Special Collections leads the Libraries’ efforts to build, maintain, and actively promote its Special Collections in advancement of curricular and co-curricular objectives.  The position also supervises, in consultation with the Associate Librarian, the Libraries’ preservation program. The individual in this position will oversee the management of the library’s archival and records program.  He or she will plan, provide, and assess services and policies that make a positive impact both on student learning and public understanding.  Curricular and co-curricular goals, as well as the College’s mission more broadly, will inform the work of the department head.

The Curator of Rare Books and Manuscripts/Head of Special Collections develops, maintains, and supervises the collections that are unique to Haverford College.  These collections include our internationally regarded Quaker Collections, Manuscript and Rare Book Collections, General Photography Collection, Archival Collections, College Archives, and Memorabilia.  The individual in this position works with the Curator of Fine Art Photography and the members of the Hurford Center for the Arts and Humanities, as well as with other campus constituencies to provide appropriate storage and collection controls for the College’s art and artifact collections.  The individual in this position participates in collection development, instruction, reference, and outreach activities.

In the capacity of Curator of Rare Books and Manuscripts, this professional brings extensive specialization in and knowledge of rare books, manuscripts, and ephemera.  That specialization will include an in-depth understanding of the history of these and other technologies, broad and strategic collection development, and the engagement of scholars with these materials.  The individual in this position will be knowledgeable in the emerging areas of digital scholarship and its intersection with Special Collections holdings, and will foster advancement in these new areas of scholarship. Forward looking and aware of the range of professional standards, as well as emerging scholarly trends, the individual in this position will play a strategic role in advancing the Libraries in meeting the educational mission of the College.

The department head is responsible for articulating a fresh focus for the collections, cultivating new collections and donor relationships, expanding the teaching and research use of the collections, expanding engagement with the academic and general communities, and overseeing print and digital preservation operations.  The department head advises the Associate Librarian and the Librarian of the College on the acceptance of special gift collections, and works closely with the Librarian in external advancement efforts.  The department head participates in developing and implementing policies and procedures that enhance growth of and access to special collections, working collaboratively to do so with the leaders of the library’s research services, digital scholarship and services, acquisitions, and metadata services.

The Curator of Rare Books and Manuscripts/Head of Special Collections will, with a participatory and inclusive style, lead a current staff of 4.5 FTE, student employees, interns, and volunteers, and do so effectively.  This professional will collaborate with staff on all levels of the organization to support the provision of library services.  A highly productive environment, one characterized by teamwork, respect, collegiality, and integrity, is the goal. 

The Position and the College:

Located on a wooded suburban campus less than ten miles from the center of Philadelphia, Haverford College is a highly selective liberal arts institution of approximately 1,175 students and 120 faculty. The Quaker foundation and traditions of the college encourage a respect for the individual and an openness of exchange that make it attractive to intellectually ambitious and socially conscious students. The library staff of 25 offers a supportive environment for self-motivated, team-oriented, creative, committed librarians seeking intellectual and professional growth through involvement in the work of faculty and students. Local Haverford library and information technology resources are substantially augmented by consortial relations with Bryn Mawr and Swarthmore Colleges.

This position affords an excellent opportunity to pursue a career at an outstanding college and in a collaborative, consortially-oriented work environment. The college seeks candidates who take an expansive approach to the work of libraries, to the possibilities afforded by information technologies for achieving the college’s goals for student and faculty work, and to the integration of their work with that of other units within the libraries and among the Tri-College libraries. The salary is competitive and comes with generous benefits.


An ALA-accredited master’s degree in Library and Information Science, or a Master of Archival Studies, or an advanced degree in a closely related field.  Holders of a master’s degree other than the aforementioned must have completed advanced coursework in archival management.

Must have significant experience working with rare books, special collections, and/or archives in a college or university setting.  Five years of experience as a supervisor of staff in an archival or special collections setting, including strong experience in leading a special collections or archival program, is required.

To Apply:

Please send a cover letter and résumé to Terry Snyder, Magill Library, Haverford College, 370 Lancaster Avenue, Haverford, Pennsylvania 19041-1392 or by email at [email protected]. Review of applications will begin on August 16, and will continue until the position is filled.  Please direct all questions to Terry Snyder ([email protected]). Please visit the library’s website at