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Director of Public Services for Archives and Special Collections, Harvard College Library, Cambridge, MA


Although the position will remain posted until filled, applicants are strongly encouraged to apply by end of day on June 9, 2023.

Harvard Library seeks applications and nominations for a collaborative, user-centered, and transformational leader for the newly created position of Director of Public Services for Archives and Special Collections (DPSASC).  The Director will play a critical role in implementing a strategic reorganization by leading and managing a new department that brings together public services staff currently working in the Harvard University Archives and Houghton Library.  Along with staff, colleagues, and stakeholders, the DPSASC will create an integrated approach to supporting a diverse array of research and teaching activities centered in the collections of these units.  The DPSASC will also foster communities of practice to facilitate activities supporting research and teaching using archives and special collections holdings for repositories in the Archives, Arts and Special Collections (AASC) portfolio (Eda K. Loeb Music Library, Fine Arts Library, Harvard Film Archive, Harvard University Archives, and Houghton Library) and will participate and lead, where appropriate, efforts to create a more coherent and cohesive approach to public services for archives and special collections across repositories at Harvard. 

The Director reports to the Associate University Librarian for Archives and Special Collections and plays a significant leadership role in the overall administration of AASC archives and libraries. 


  • Leads and manages the Public Services for Archives and Special Collections Department by developing and articulating strategic vision and direction, overseeing day-to-day operations and special projects, establishing priorities, and coordinating work within the department and with other units in the Archives, Arts, and Special Collections portfolio and Harvard Library.
  • Leads the creation of an integrated approach to public services for archives and special collections holdings of the Harvard University Archives and Houghton Library and other AASC repositories by harmonizing and unifying the policies, procedures, and programs dedicated to these activities.  Refines organizational structure iteratively to optimize the work of the department. 
  • Hires, trains, and manages a team of more than fifteen archivists, librarians, and archives/library assistants, as well as project staff, interns, and students dedicated to public services functions currently in three units: a Teaching and Learning Unit, which will be established under the new Director; Harvard University Archives Public Services; and Houghton Library Public Services.  Coordinates public services work (e.g., reference, research services, teaching) performed by staff in other departments.
  • Oversees reading room operations of the Harvard University Archives and Houghton Library, including onsite and remote reference, duplication, circulation, and stacks maintenance, assuring that patrons receive knowledgeable, conscientious, and efficient service.
  • Fosters communities of practice among colleagues in the AASC portfolio and within the Harvard Library system to promote innovation, sharing of expertise and resources, and common problem solving to strengthen research and teaching with special collections and archives.
  • Under the direction of the University Archivist and in collaboration with other colleagues, upholds University records policies for access and use of Harvard’s institutional records, including those found in faculty personal archives, student-related content, and other Harvard historical materials.    
  • Coordinates and develops access and use policies for special collections and manuscripts holdings within the AASC portfolio, balancing the needs of the researcher with other institutional and local access and use policies and procedures.
  • Develops the vision for and leads the creation of a new teaching and learning unit that builds close collaborations with faculty and features the holdings of Harvard University Archives and Houghton Library, in support of the teaching mission of Harvard University.
  • Develops comprehensive knowledge of reference, reading room, and teaching operations of Harvard University Archives and Houghton Library; participates in the direct delivery of services as necessary. 
  • In collaboration with library administration and other colleagues, ensures collection security and preservation by upholding existing policies, and by developing and implementing new policies and procedures that govern collection access. 
  • Compiles and analyzes data and statistics that contribute to our understanding of trends in research and teaching use of the collection to inform improvements to our services and programs.
  • In collaboration with members of the AASC leadership team, Public Services staff, and other colleagues, explores, proposes, and coordinates the implementation of new technologies that facilitate discovery, access, and use of AASC’s archives and special collections holdings.
  • Serves as a member of the AASC Leadership Group and works with other senior managers on long-range planning, annual goal setting, policy and procedure development, personnel and budget decisions, facilities planning, and daily administration.
  • Participates actively in the archives and special collections library profession.

Basic Qualifications:

  • B.A., M.L.S. from an ALA-accredited academic program required. 
  • Eight years of professional experience with increasing responsibility in archives and/or special collections.
  • Minimum four years supervisory experience.

Additional Qualifications and Skills:

  • Demonstrated experience with supervising employees and supporting their efforts in order to build and foster a diverse, productive, and engaging workplace and professional community. 
  • Commitment to supporting efforts to foster diversity, inclusion, belonging, and antiracism in library, university, and professional contexts. 
  • Demonstrated experience with providing reference and teaching with collections within a special collections setting. 
  • Demonstrated experience with change management and building a positive work culture for staff and colleagues.
  • Demonstrated ability to work effectively with faculty, students, external researchers, and library colleagues. 
  • Demonstrated understanding of the scholarly use of library collections and servicesand of current developments in archives and special collections librarianship. 
  • Demonstrated experience implementing innovative approaches to provide access to collections and to facilitate their use in research and teaching.
  • Evidence of a strong service orientation.
  • Knowledge of intellectual property issues related to archives, libraries, and special collections.
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills and interpersonal skills to work effectively with culturally diverse library users and colleagues.
  • Demonstrated experience working with confidential and/or sensitive information with a high degree of discretion and maturity. 
  • High level of comfort with ambiguity and capacity to thrive in a changing working environment. 
  • Experience using and implementing and training staff on new technologies and systems.
  • Preference for experience in an academic or research library. 
  • Advanced degree in History, English, Art History, or other subject areas relevant to AASC libraries and archives preferred. 
  • Record of engagement with professional groups and activities and/or contributions to professional or scholarly literature.


We invite you to visit Harvard’s Total Rewards website to learn more about our outstanding benefits package, which may include:

  • Paid Time Off: 3-4 weeks of accrued vacation time per year (3 weeks for support staff and 4 weeks for administrative/professional staff), 12 accrued sick days per year, 12.5 holidays plus a Winter Recess in December/January, 3 personal days per year (prorated based on date of hire), and up to 12 weeks of paid leave for new parents who are primary care givers.
  • Health and Welfare: Comprehensive medical, dental, and vision benefits, disability and life insurance programs, along with voluntary benefits. Most coverage begins as of your start date.
  • Work/Life and Wellness: Child and elder/adult care resources including on campus childcare centers, Employee Assistance Program, and wellness programs related to stress management, nutrition, meditation, and more.
  • Retirement: University-funded retirement plan with contributions from 5% to 15% of eligible compensation, based on age and earnings with full vesting after 3 years of service.
  • Tuition Assistance Program: Competitive program including $40 per class at the Harvard Extension School and reduced tuition through other participating Harvard graduate schools.
  • Tuition Reimbursement: Program that provides 75% to 90% reimbursement up to $5,250 per calendar year for eligible courses taken at other accredited institutions.
  • Professional Development: Programs and classes at little or no cost, including through the Harvard Center for Workplace Development and LinkedIn Learning.
  • Commuting and Transportation: Various commuter options handled through the Parking Office, including discounted parking, half-priced public transportation passes and pre-tax transit passes, biking benefits, and more.
  • Harvard Facilities Access, Discounts and Perks: Access to Harvard athletic and fitness facilities, libraries, campus events, credit union, and more, as well as discounts to various types of services (legal, financial, etc.) and cultural and leisure activities throughout metro-Boston.

To Apply: