Head of Special Collections Public Services

Libraries Job Description

Job Summary

Manage and operate an excellent, inclusive, scholarly, and effective public services program at Smith College Special Collections. Reporting to the Director of Special Collections, the Head of Special Collections Public Services will lead a team of professionals, paraprofessionals and students. The incumbent will be a leader who incorporates the expertise of their team in setting priorities and implementing work, coaches the team toward excellence, and is responsible for making sure that the mission of the public services program is delivered and continually reviewed. Core areas of responsibilities include overseeing long term public program development, communications, public events and other programming, and exhibitions.

Take appropriate actions to support a diverse workforce and participate in the College's efforts to create a respectful, inclusive, and welcoming work environment.

Essential Functions

Public Services Program (70%)

Provide a vision for a welcoming-to-all and effective research support program
Supervise and coach public services staff including the research services archivist, reading room supervisor, exhibition coordinator (term), social media intern, and term staff as applicable in the future
Responsible for developing, testing, submitting for review, and implementing procedures related to public services including digitization, reading room services, exhibitions, and events, in keeping with established policies and professional best practices
Provide training for and support to staff and students who participate in public services work. Maintain training manuals and similar aids to guide that work
Develop and maintain workflows and processes for effective research services, including reference and user-generated digitization practices
Implement AEON, or similar public services management tool, and oversee and maintain its use and provide training for staff and students
In consultation with the User Experience Team, carry out user experience testing for Special Collections public services, including in person and online access to collections
Establish measures and metrics for the use and efficacy of the public services program and incorporate into unit decision making
Working with the Public Services Committee, provide ongoing assessment of Special Collections access practices and policies to ensure the lowest possible barrier to universal, equitable access to the materials
Serve in the reading room, providing direct research service on a regular basis
Respond to reference inquiries and support the reference archivist
Responsible for coordinating logistical support for the teaching program

Communications and Events (15%)

Be a point of connection with our communities and varied stakeholders
Develop a long term public events and outreach program that includes managing events requests, resource allocations, and assessment
Coordinate (organize, plan, oversee) special collections events with the appropriate faculty, staff, or students. Includes, but is not limited to exhibitions, community events, panels, workshops, speakers, presentations, and seminars. This includes events for and about donors (actual and potential)
Working with the Smith College Libraries Communications Specialist: (1) communicate policies and practices effectively, in and out of the Libraries; (2) oversee the Special Collections website and implement updates; (3) generate internal and external communications about Special Collections services, especially newly-available materials, research services, and events; (4) oversee and generate content for social media
Provide regular reporting on collection use, research trends, and researcher needs related to the collections and subject strengths therein
Collaborate with the stewards to develop tools and services to help with research, including research guides, workshops

Exhibitions (15%)

Lead the Smith College Libraries’ Exhibitions Team
Participate in exhibition planning and coordinate scheduling and procedures
Oversee the installation of exhibitions (as necessary, in partnership with others)
Coordinate with library staff and faculty on student exhibitions, help students as necessary

Other Functions

All employees are expected to participate in the College's efforts to create a respectful, inclusive, and welcoming work environment.

Minimum Qualifications (knowledge, skills, education, experience, certifications, licenses)

Master’s degree from an ALA-accredited library school or equivalent degree, with formal training in the theory and practice of special collections administration required; other educational backgrounds will be considered in combination with significant additional training and/or experience that specifically addresses the knowledge and skills required for the position
Strong cultural competencies and a demonstrated commitment to anti-oppressive professional practices
Five years of public services experience in a special collections environment
Evidence of a strong service orientation and demonstrated ability to work effectively with a widely diverse faculty, students, library colleagues, and the general public in various modes: providing tours, staging events, creating outreach materials and tools
Knowledge of current and most effective research techniques for primary source materials
Knowledge of current library and special collections management and discovery systems
Superior communication skills including interpersonal, problem solving, and organizational, internal and external to an organization
Experience creating and mounting exhibitions

Experience working with individuals from diverse backgrounds.


Strong technology skills and enthusiasm for adopting new technologies and systems that expand access to the collections and facilitate their use in research and teaching
Ability to maintain and develop knowledge of best practices in special collections, especially as related to public services: intellectual property and privacy, archival and bibliographical description, implementing the access terms specified in collection agreements, research practices and trends, researcher privacy and rights
Ability to work collegially and effectively in a fast paced team environment
Preferred knowledge of at least one language other than English

Please attach BOTH a current resume and a cover letter in order for your application to be considered for this position . You may combine your resume and cover letter into a single file or attach multiple files to your application, but BE SURE you have provided all attachments BEFORE SUBMITTING your application. You will NOT be able to attach additional files after you have hit the Submit button.

Review of applications will begin

July 6, 2021

Compensation Grade:

Grade G

Position Type:


About Smith College

Located in Northampton, MA, Smith College is one of the largest women’s colleges in the country and is dedicated to excellence in teaching and research across the liberal arts. A faculty of outstanding scholars interact with students in small classes, as advisors, and through student-faculty research projects. The College is a member of the Five College Consortium with Amherst, Hampshire and Mt. Holyoke Colleges, and the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Students cross-enroll and faculty cross-teach across the Five Colleges.

Smith College is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity employer and does not discriminate on the basis of race, gender, age, color, religion, national origin, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression or veteran status in the recruitment and employment of faculty and staff, and the operation of any of its programs and activities, as specified by all applicable laws and regulations. Women, minorities, veterans and individuals with disabilities are encouraged to apply.

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