Visiting Librarian or Archivist

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Job Description

The Harvard Library is seeking a Visiting Librarian or Archivist to participate in Harvard’s Administrative Fellowship Program which seeks to attract talented professionals, and in particular, members of historically underrepresented groups, to promote leadership opportunities and careers in higher education.

In its twenty-sixth year of operation, the Administrative Fellowship Program offers the opportunity to work in an academic environment for twelve months complemented by a career development program.  Fellows receive salary and benefits for full time work assignments from September 2016 through August 2017.  Fellows also participate in seminars, lectures and case studies designed to enhance leadership and administrative skills, self-assessment and career development.


Houghton Library is pleased to offer an Administrative Fellowship designed to immerse a rising leader in the library and archives profession in a wide variety of activities related to the management of a world class repository of rare books, manuscripts, archives, and other rare and unique library materials.  Over the course of the year, the fellow will be exposed to and make contributions to the major functions of the library including cataloging, archival arrangement and description, acquisitions and collection development, reference and reader services, outreach and instruction, and other areas as opportunities present themselves. She or he will also have the opportunity to meet and work with librarians and archivists in other libraries that comprise the Arts and Special Collections of the Harvard College Library (Eda K. Loeb Music Library, Fine Arts Library, Harvard Film Archive, and Houghton Library).  In addition to this work, the Fellow will complete a signature project. Guided by the Fellow’s own skills and interests, the project will be selected from a variety of options, which will allow the Fellow to develop specific expertise and to make a lasting contribution to the library.  The fellow will work with and receive mentoring from senior leadership of the library at the director, department-head, curatorial, and other levels.  Opportunity to collaborate with colleagues at other libraries and archives at Harvard and to contribute to Harvard Library initiatives will also be core to the Fellow’s experience.

The Visiting Librarian or Archivist will engage with one of the following major projects, chosen to match the particular skills and interests of the incumbent:

  • Work with directors of the four libraries that comprise the Arts and Special Collections of the Harvard College Library (Houghton Library, Fine Arts Library, Music Library, and Harvard Film Archive) to build administrative and cultural connections within this newly created unit.  The fellow would spend time meeting and working with staff from each library in pursuit of a common and in depth understanding of our strengths and concerns and to identify opportunities for collaboration among and within the larger unit.  The fellow would also be responsible for developing and managing a program that might include open houses, presentations, reports, and other activities designed to familiarize staff members from each library with one another and to establish bonds that will help libraries and staff work together more closely into the future. 
  • Develop Houghton’s capacity and infrastructure to acquire, process, and make available born digital and audiovisual holdings.  Activities will include conducting a survey of both hidden and ‘in plain sight’ unprocessed and at-risk born digital and audiovisual materials across all curatorial departments to enable high-level prioritization for data capture and processing.   Resulting documentation will characterize the size and nature of our under- and undescribed digital and A/V holdings, supporting concrete decision-making about investment in their preservation and accessibility.
  • Work with Houghton staff to engage a variety of data sources related to patrons’ use of the Library’s collections and refine the methods through which metrics and analytics are distributed. Specifically collaborate to complete a project concerned with citations of Houghton and peer library’s materials in the scholarly literature.
  • Work with Houghton Technical Services staff, curators, and others to develop and implement a programmatic approach to the cataloging and preservation of ephemera across all of Houghton’s collection areas. 
  • Complete an archival processing project for a major new acquisition, such as the Jamaica Kincaid Papers or the Randy Weston Papers (in collaboration with the Music Library).  Gain experience working with born digital archives and audiovisual archives.

Applicants must have:

  • Master’s degree in Library Science, Archival Studies, or related field.
  • Three years’ experience working in a special collections library or archive.
  • Interest in and/or experience with working with archives, manuscripts, rare books, and other rare and unique library holdings.
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills.
  • Understanding of and appreciation for the ways new technologies are transforming libraries and archives and willingness to pursue innovative approaches to challenges and opportunities.
  • Ability to work independently and to collaborate and work effectively with a broad set of colleagues and library users.

Please note:  The application deadline for the Visiting Librarian or Archivist has been extended to April 15, 2016.

How to Apply

Please note:  The application deadline for the Visiting Librarian or Archivist has been extended to April 15, 2016. 

For application materials, please call/write: 

Administrative Fellowship Program

Office of the Assistant to the President for Institutional Diversity & Equity

The Smith Campus Center, Room 935

1350 Massachusetts Avenue

Cambridge, MA 02138

(617) 495-8919; email:

or download AFP Application 2015-2016.

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