Curator, Rare Books and Manuscripts

Are you interested in working at the most innovative university in the country?

Ranked #1 for innovation three years in a row by U.S. News and World Report, Arizona State University has become the foundational model for a new paradigm for public higher education – committed to access, excellence and impact – and is now actively engaged in building a new library for the 21st century.

Serving as a critical gateway to ASU’s growing research and knowledge enterprise, ASU Library works to collaborate, educate and innovate across disciplines, communities and technologies, while leveraging key research and learning opportunities that are unique to ASU.

Reporting to the Head of Distinctive Collections, the Curator for Rare Books and Manuscripts is charged with the continued development of, promotion, and instruction for the collections of rare books, printed materials, and archives. The collection strengths range from the oldest item in the collection, a Sumerian clay tablet from ca. 2100 BCE to contemporary artists’ books.

Currently housing ca. 34,000 rare and unique books and manuscripts, the collection includes an additional 1,080 linear feet of personal and organizational manuscript collections for and by authors, cultural historians, film, and theatre personalities.

The incumbent will work with archivists and staff within the Distinctive Collections unit as well as librarians, curators, and other Library personnel, our constituents across ASU’s four campuses, and the larger community. The incumbent should be prepared to engage in interdisciplinary instruction and research services; promote scholarly engagement with the University’s collection of Rare Books and Manuscripts; actively participate in the solicitation and organization of materials for Distinctive Collections; as well as providing reference services, and participation in service to the University. We seek a flexible, collegial, and energetic Curator, with demonstrated skills and serious interest in developing and managing collections, as well as augmenting our existing programs to advance our rapidly developing Distinctive Collections. Further, the incumbent, working with the Head, will assist in establishing priorities and policies for providing access to collections via ASU Library’s online discovery and access platforms.

The incumbent is one who maintains a high-level working knowledge of national and international theory and practice pertaining to rare book librarianship; therefore, we welcome advanced academic background in the humanities.

A center of energy, imagination and innovation, ASU Library is home to eight library facilities across four ASU campus locations – providing students and faculty access to millions of information resources, world-class collections, outstanding study spaces, advanced data centers, and a suite of makerspaces and creative services. More information about the library can be found at

Required Qualifications

  • MLS/MLIS from an ALA-accredited institution or advanced degree in a relevant field
  • Demonstrated knowledge of collection development policy with three or more years of   experience working in an academic or research institution or archives
  • Experience supervising students, interns, and staff
  • Reading knowledge of one or more languages other than English
  • Experience in selecting and managing rare books, special collections, or archival materials

Preferred Qualifications

  • Experience in teaching collection development or management
  • Experience writing successful grants
  • Experience facilitating project teams and/or working groups
  • Proficiency using spreadsheets and data analysis tools to make decisions and/or communicate results to a variety of stakeholders
  • Excellent interpersonal and communication skills

Salary and Rank: This is a continuing appointment track Academic Professional position; Assistant/Associate and salary dependent upon experience.

Application Procedures: Application packet consists of a cover letter, comprehensive vita or resume, and names, addresses, phone numbers, and email addresses of 3 recent professional references. The application should be sent as a single (one) complete electronic file to Lillie Johnson. Questions about the position and search should be directed to Sharon C. Smith, Head of Distinctive Collections.

Application Deadline: Application deadline is July 24, 2019; applications will be reviewed weekly thereafter until the search is closed.

Other Information: Hiring is contingent upon eligibility to work in the United States. A background check is required for employment. For more information regarding ASU, visit our website: For the Tempe and/or Phoenix area, please visit

Arizona State University is a VEVRAA Federal Contractor and Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action employer. Women and minorities are welcomed and encouraged to apply.

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