The University of Minnesota Libraries invites applications for an innovative and proactive Assistant Curator for the James Ford Bell Library.
The James Ford Bell Library, a unit of the Archives and Special Collections Department, documents the history and impact of trade and cultural change around the world prior to ca. 1800 CE. Its premier collection of rare books, maps, manuscripts, archival collections, government documents, and more are used widely in teaching and learning across the U of M campus, other area colleges and universities, K-12, and globally via several online access points. The collection, its heaviest concentration in the 17th and 18th centuries, boasts more than twenty languages. As a founding member of the Consortium for the Study of the Premodern World (an Andrew W. Mellon-funded initiative), the Bell Library is integrated into graduate education initiatives that promote multi-disciplinarity and innovative approaches. Visiting scholars from around the world visit the Bell Library each year, many supported by four different fellowship opportunities. An ambitious physical and digital exhibitions program also brings collection materials to a broad audience, as does its signature James Ford Bell Lecture and its co-sponsorship of other lectures and workshops throughout the year. In addition to University Libraries’ support, the Bell Library is supported by a friends group, the Associates of the James Ford Bell Library, which underwrites programming and acquisition initiatives. The John Parker Fund, a Bell Library endowment, supports publications and programming, while additional support comes from grants and other fundraising efforts, both internal and external to the University.
Housed in the newly created Maxine Houghton Wallin Special Collections Research Center in the Elmer L. Andersen Library on the U of MN west bank campus, the Bell Library provides a comfortable, modern, and congenial working environment. The Assistant Curator works as part of a team committed to integrating the James Ford Bell Library’s collections and programs into a broader institutional and community environment. The Assistant Curator engages with diverse user populations, and supports and facilitates outreach, teaching, and research, directly and remotely. The Assistant Curator maintains an awareness of changes in scholarly uses of information technology, and uses technology to manage collections and provide enhanced access to materials. The Assistant Curator provides stewardship of the collections, identifying preservation and conservation needs and applying best practices and standards. The Assistant Curator also plans and implements programs and projects, coordinates student staff, and ensures timely completion of deliverables. The Assistant Curator works with the Curator to manage donor relationships within the context the Libraries’ and University’s strategic goals, strengthening stakeholders’ commitment to the mission and programs.
The position reports to the Curator of the James Ford Bell Library.
Collaborates with faculty to facilitate instructional goals and develop curricular resources in an active and robust teaching environment. Applies relevant and effective pedagogical methodologies and best practices to develop course materials and instructional sessions that foster student learning. Creates a repertoire of instructional strategies and assessment techniques to establish a positive, organized learning environment.
Develops and offers customized reference and research consultation services and policies and procedures for a diverse population of researchers, students, faculty, and communities.
Instructs users in search strategies for locating relevant materials for primary resource research.
Understands trends in scholarship and research topics in a variety of pre-modern fields/subject areas and uses knowledge of pertinent disciplinary and interdisciplinary research methodologies to collaborate with faculty and students to facilitate research and instructional goals,
Actively engages with and supports diverse user populations in working with special collections.
Contributes to building and managing specialized library collections, including selection and preparation of materials for digitization. Prepares and administers grant proposals, and materials loans.
Leads projects to develop, implement, and enhance library services and/or programs. Manages project budgets and staff.
Works cooperatively with institutional advancement units in fundraising initiatives, including Friends of the Libraries. Identifies potential donor groups.
Oversees daily operation of Bell Library in curator’s absence.
Promotes collections to diverse audiences through a variety of outreach and advocacy methods to the institution’s community and beyond. In consultation with curator, initiates and develops relationships with internal and external partners for short, medium, and long term program development.
Plans, implements and engages with traditional and virtual programming that interprets and integrates collections into exhibitions, conferences, guest lectures, and public speaking, as well as online exhibitions, blogs, social media. Contributes to library social media and website.
Identifies and recommends exhibit themes and programming that support the collections, and library goals and objectives. Collaborates with faculty, staff or communities to design, develop, prepare and install exhibits. Collaborates with communications staff on exhibit marketing and programming.
Supervises student employees, volunteers, and interns.
This is a full-time, 12-month, annual renewable, academic professional position. We offer a competitive salary commensurate with experience. Excellent benefits and substantial moving allowance.
Masters' degree from an American Library Association accredited library school and/or an advanced subject degree with relevant experience.
Strong verbal and written communication skills.
Experience related to special collections, rare books, manuscripts, and/or archives.
Demonstrated creativity, initiative, self-direction, and innovative thinking.
Facility with technology and demonstrated interest in learning new skills applicable to special collections.
Ability to work effectively both independently and in cooperation with colleagues in a service-oriented, collaborative environment.
Strong interpersonal skills including valuing diversity, negotiation, tact, and sensitivity.
Project management experience.
Advanced degree in History, Art History, or related fields.
Demonstrated familiarity with educational standards and best practices to facilitate instructional methods in special collections.
Experience teaching interpretation skills and appropriate scholarly and research use of printed books, manuscripts and archives, and other materials.
Reading knowledge of Latin, and German, French and/or Spanish, plus Dutch and/or Russian.
Demonstrated knowledge of pertinent disciplinary and interdisciplinary research methodologies.
Familiarity with the history of the book and the book arts, including book construction, editions and variants, binding history, illustration techniques, typefaces, paper, parchment, calligraphy, and scribal practices.
Familiarity and/or experience with public history and other outward-facing public educational programs: museum studies, exhibitions, other cultural heritage initiatives.
Demonstrated successful experience with event planning and administration.
Keen interest in problem-solving and analytical solutions.
Internal Number: 332650
About University of Minnesota, Twin Cities
The University of Minnesota, founded in the belief that all people are enriched by understanding, is dedicated to the advancement of learning and the search for truth; to the sharing of this knowledge through education for a diverse community; and to the application of this knowledge to benefit the people of the state, the nation, and the world.