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Special Collections Curator

Job Title

Special Collections Curator



Primary Campus

University of Kansas Lawrence Campus

Job Description

  • Shares responsibility for collection planning, management, and development, including working with donors, dealers, other library specialists, and faculty to acquire unique and distinctive items and collections.
  • Partners with library and university colleagues to integrate original resources and perspectives from special collections into classes across the KU curriculum, including instruction on primary source literacy and the history of the book.
  • Works collaboratively with colleagues in processing and conservation to ensure the preservation and accessibility of collections.
  • Shares in providing scheduled reference assistance to students, faculty, and the public, and consults on special collections reference requests.
  • Works collaboratively with colleagues across the Libraries to promote the collections through digital initiatives, social media, community events, K-12 outreach, tours, and other means.
  • Engages in service to the Libraries, the University and to professional organizations by participating in committee work, projects, and other contributory achievements.
Req ID(Ex: 10567BR)



The University of Kansas prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, ethnicity, religion, sex, national origin, age, ancestry, disability status as a veteran, sexual orientation, marital status, parental status, gender identity, gender expression, and genetic information in the university's programs and activities. Retaliation is also prohibited by university policy. The following persons have been designated to handle inquiries regarding the nondiscrimination policies and are the Title IX coordinators for their respective campuses: Director of the Office of Civil Rights & Title IX,, Room 1082, Dole Human Development Center, 1000 Sunnyside Avenue, Lawrence, KS 66045, 785-864-6414, 711 TTY (for the Lawrence, Edwards, Parsons, Yoder, and Topeka campuses); Director, Equal Opportunity Office, Mail Stop 7004, 4330 Shawnee Mission Parkway, Fairway, KS 66205, 913-588-8011, 711 TTY (for the Wichita, Salina, and Kansas City, Kansas medical center campuses).

Contact Information to Applicants

Mike Broadwell,

Position Number


Required Qualifications

  1. ALA-accredited Master's degree at time of hire.
  2. Six (6) months experience in an academic or research library special collections setting.

Employee Class


Advertised Salary Range

Minimum salary $54,000, final determination commensurate with experience



Preferred Qualifications

  1. Working knowledge of Latin or another western European language.
  2. Additional advanced degree in a relevant subject area.

Position Overview

The University of Kansas Libraries seeks a curious, creative, and collaborative curator to share in the management, development, and promotion of the university's rare books and manuscript holdings in the Kenneth Spencer Research Library. The special collections curator will share in collection development (by purchase and donation); instruction for KU classes, K-12 students, community groups, and other types of outreach; reference service; and collaborative initiatives to enhance the discovery of and access to Spencer’s collections, including digitization. The special collections curator will report to the director of the Spencer Research Library and will work closely with another special collections curator and colleagues across Spencer and the larger KU library system.

Applicants should be interested in building diverse collections and advancing diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging by engaging in instruction and outreach that includes audiences and materials that have been traditionally underserved by special collections libraries and archives. We are committed to supporting the curator with relevant professional development and training.

We are particularly eager to hear from candidates who have demonstrated knowledge of early printing and the history of the book, successful examples of working with rare book dealers and/or donors to acquire material in a special collections environment, and demonstrated experience conducting outreach and instruction with special collections materials.

KU’s special collections consist of manuscripts and rare books, including about 250,000 volumes printed since the mid-15th century and about 500,000 manuscripts dating from antiquity to the present. Collection strengths include early printed continental books, the 18th-century in Britain and France, ornithology, maps and travel, Irish history and literature, Latin America, post-WII poetry, and science fiction.

The University of Kansas Libraries support a safe and inclusive environment for all members of our communities at KU. We are committed to building a diverse and pluralistic workforce and strongly encourage applications from diverse candidates. This position will demonstrate a commitment to advancing diversity efforts in the libraries and contributes to an inclusive environment.

This is a full-time, 12-month, tenure-track faculty position. Rank considerations are based on professional performance, research, and service experience sufficient to qualify for appointment at the rank of Assistant Librarian or Associate Librarian.

See the Libraries Criteria for Academic Ranks document:

Additional information about the Libraries promotion and tenure procedures can be found at the following website:



Application Review Begins


Anticipated Start Date


Additional Candidate Instruction

A complete online application includes:
  1. Cover letter addressing how you meet the required and preferred qualifications.
  2. Resume.
  3. Contact information for three professional references (including at least one previous or current supervisor).
  4. Completion of the online application.
In addition to the materials above, learning about each applicant's contribution and engagement in areas of diversity is an important part of KU's mission. As a result, applicants will be presented the following question at the time of application. The response must be within 4,000 characters or less:
  • Describe your experiences working with people from diverse backgrounds, and explain how those experiences reflect your commitments to diversity, equity, and inclusion.
Application review begins Monday, January 23, 2023 and continues until a pool of qualified candidates has been identified.

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