Special Collections Librarian and Curator Neumann Jazz Collection

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Job Description

The Oberlin Conservatory Library housed in the oldest continuing Conservatory in the United States seeks a Special Collections Librarian and Curator of James R. and Susan Neumann Jazz Collection. The Conservatory Library is one of three branch libraries that along with the Mary Church Terrell Main Library constitute the Oberlin College Libraries (OCL) system. OCL is a standard bearer of excellence since its founding in 1834, receiving awards and accolades from various professional organizations. With support for active leadership in the field, the incumbent will find a collegial and highly creative environment that begins in Oberlin and extends into the Greater Cleveland Region.

Reporting to the Head of the Conservatory Library, this position serves as a member of the leadership team that also includes the Public Services Librarian and the Technical Services Librarian. The Conservatory Library’s Special Collections Librarian is responsible for overseeing the development, curation, arrangement, description, access, and promotion of the Conservatory Library’s special collections, including the James R. and Susan Neumann Jazz Collection. Among the Special Collections Librarian’s key interfaces are the Core Reference Team, Visual Resources Curator, the Digital Initiatives Librarian, the College Archivist, and the Head of Special Collections.

The Conservatory Library’s Special Collections Librarian supervises a number of support staff including a philanthropically funded Project Archivist and Curatorial Assistant along with several student assistants. The Oberlin College Libraries values diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), as it is an essential part of our College and Conservatory culture. It is important that the incumbent uses a DEI lens to successfully inform practices within and beyond the Oberlin College Libraries.

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Technical Services (35%)

  • Trains and supervises student assistants, Project Archivist, and Curatorial Assistant in the organization, access, and preservation of the Conservatory Library’s special collections

  • Oversees the creation of inventories and other types of finding aids and descriptive tools

  • Works with Conservatory Library Technical Services to coordinate the item-level cataloging of rare monographs

Public Services (35%)

  • Oversees all reference services for the Conservatory Library’s special collections, including refining and implementing the policies and procedures for accessing materials in the reading room

  • Oversees all instruction and outreach activities, ensuring that the Conservatory Library’s special collections––ranging from rare 16th century organological treatises to visual representations of 19th century American musical cultures to material artifacts of 20th century jazz––are thoroughly integrated in the curriculum

  • Develops presentations from special collections for local and national audiences

  • Develops liaison relations with the Jazz Studies Division

Digital Preservation (15%)

  • Oversees three digital audio workstations and one flatbed scanner station, including prioritizing digitization projects and training/supervising student assistants and staff in carrying out the work

  • Works with the Digital Initiatives Librarian to coordinate the digitization of rare monographs

  • Identifies and prioritizes items analog requiring external vendor expertise

Exhibit Curation and Outreach (15%)

  • In partnership with the Visual Resources Curator, conceptualizes the development and promotion of traveling exhibitions drawn from the Conservatory Library’s special collections

  • Proactively cultivates relationships and connections external to the Conservatory and College to extend the special collections’ pedagogical “footprint” to a wider audience

  • Coordinates the curation of exhibits for nine digital exhibit stations in the Kohl Building and five physical exhibit spaces across the Conservatory, ranging from a small rare book display case to an 8 × 20 feet exhibit area

  • Works with colleagues in OCL Technical Services to create digital collections and exhibits using appropriate software (e.g. Omeka, and Scalar)

Essential Job Functions

  • Builds positive relationships among users and colleagues

  • Works well in a collaborative environment

  • Balances assertiveness and diplomacy

  • Is willing to pursue additional education and skills development to complement the learning environment reflected in a progressive academic setting

  • Collaborates across departments and relevant entities internal and external to OCL

  • Demonstrates organizational skills in a broad range of situations

  • Contributes in a collegial fashion as a member of the Conservatory Library and OCL as a whole

  • Is user-focused and committed to service excellence

Marginal Job Functions

  • Works with the Head of the Conservatory Library to evaluate opportunities for receiving new special collections

  • Assists the Head of the Conservatory Library in stewarding donor relations as they relate to special collections

  • Remains informed of developments in recording and digital technology, archival studies, copyright policy, preservation, and professional ethics

  • Represents the Conservatory Library at professional conferences

  • Develops and implements grant proposals and projects associated with the Conservatory Library’s special collections

  • Contributes to the Library’s social media presence

Required Qualifications

  • ALA-accredited master’s degree in Library Science or equivalent accredited graduate archives management program

  • Musicological background or extensive musical training with emphasis on American music and jazz

  • Three-years professional library or archives experience

  • Knowledge of and experience with digital library technologies, standards, and web design;

  • Experience with Microsoft Office, Google’s G Suite of applications, image editing software (such as Adobe Photoshop), and audio editing software (such as Sony Soundforge)

  • Experience in archival processing and digital information technologies toward use in a special collections setting

  • Successful supervisory experience

  • Excellent oral, written and interpersonal communication skills

  • Ability to relate well to donors and vendors

  • Ability to work creatively and collaboratively as a team member

  • Excellent organizational and project management skills

  • Commitment to professional development demonstrated through strong interest in local or national committee work, research, and publication

  • Strong commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion

Desired Qualifications

  • Graduate degree in musicology

  • ALA-accredited master’s degree in Library Science

  • Graduate archives management program training


Within the range established for this position, salary will be commensurate with qualifications and experience and includes an excellent benefits package.

How to Apply

Applications will be accepted through 22 January 2019. Apply online:

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