American Philosophical Society Librarian

American Philosophical Society

Job Type: Museums and Libraries

Application Deadline: December 16, 2014

The American Philosophical Society announces a nationwide search for outstanding candidates for the position of Librarian and Director of the APS Library, with duties that include the stewardship of the collections, development of Library policy, supervision of a staff of 20, collection development, management of a budget of $2 M, and fund-raising.

The APS, founded in 1743 is America’s oldest learned society and a major center for research and scholarship.  Its Library, situated in two buildings adjacent to Independence National Historical Park in Philadelphia, includes some 300,000 books and bound periodicals, eleven million manuscripts, hundreds of thousands of images, and thousands of hours of sound recordings.  Current collection policy centers on American history before 1860; history of science; anthropology; linguistics, and materials documenting Native American languages and cultures.

The successful candidate will have had significant experience in the management of a research library.  Applications from women and minority candidates are strongly encouraged.  The APS is an equal opportunity employer.

Further particulars, including instructions for applying, are available at the American Philosophical Society website,


Significant prior experience in special collections libraries, including collection development for books and manuscripts; administration of personnel and grant-funded projects; technological expertise as it applies to libraries; experience in consensus-building, negotiation; and an intimate understanding of the academy and the scholarly process.

JOB SUMMARY:                           

The Librarian is the Director for the APS Library, with duties that include the stewardship of the collections, supervision of Library staff, collection development, supervision of the budget, and fund-raising.

Essential Duties

Collection Management.  The Librarian has curatorial custody of all Library materials, including but not limited to books and printed items, broadsides, manuscripts, archival material, works of art on paper, photographs, graphic images on paper, maps, audio recordings, digital objects, and digitized archives. The Librarian shall see that Library materials are made available for scholarly use, and that all reasonable conservation methods are employed to insure the longest possible useful life of the collections.

Budget and Financial.  The Librarian, with the Executive Officer and Chief Financial Officer, is instrumental in preparing and managing the annual budget for the Library.  The Librarian specifically manages several restricted funds and approves all major purchases and capital expenses for Library operations.

Administrative Duties.  The Librarian hires (and may dismiss), supervises, and evaluates all Library staff.  The Librarian approves all policy decisions in the Library.  Among other administrative duties, the Librarian prepares the annual Report of the Librarian; is Chair of the Selection Committee for Library Resident Research Fellowships; sets institutional priorities through strategic planning; maximizes the productivity of staff through judicious management of resources including technology; and approves all Library publications. The Librarian maintains all Library spaces, including Library Hall and Benjamin Franklin Hall above the first floor.  The Librarian is a member of the senior management team of the Society.

Technology.  In an information milieu that is changing rapidly and is increasingly dominated by the use of technology for purposes including access, preservation, outreach, and administration, the Librarian insures that the Library stays abreast of current developments and adopts those technologies most appropriate for the Society’s Library.

Representing the Library and the Society.  The Librarian represents the Library and the Society both internally and externally.   External representation will include public speaking, presentations to professional organizations such a library consortia, archival groups, scholarly societies and such groups as the Librarian may find appropriate.  Internally, the Librarian is expected to represent the Library at the Society’s semi-annual meetings, at meetings of the Committee on Library, on occasion at Council, and elsewhere.  The Librarian meets regularly with the Executive Officer, Chief Financial Officer, and other members of the senior management team of the Society.

Collection Development.  The Librarian both acquires new items and collections for the Library, and guides collection development in the Library, routinely insuring that Curators have properly interpreted the collection development policy in making their own selections.  The Librarian personally approves all manuscript acquisitions over 10 linear feet, and any acquisition purchased for more than $500.00.  A periodic review of the collection development policy, in consultation with outside experts and staff, is the responsibility of the Librarian.

  1.  In consultation with legal, curatorial, and conservation staff, the Librarian gives permission for any Library item to be loaned, or to leave the Library for any purpose, including exhibition.  The Librarian approves the adequacy of the proposed exhibit site, insurance required, security precautions, and duration of the loan.  High value loans are co-authorized by the Executive Officer and the Chair of the Committee on Library.

Development.  The Librarian is the chief development officer in the Library.  With the assistance of staff and in coordination with the Society’s Development Officer and Executive Officer, the Librarian writes grants, nurtures the Society’s Friends group, cultivates and calls on donors, and develops opportunities and prospects for outside funding.

Donor Relations.  The Librarian will be called upon to negotiate the acquisition of manuscript collections and other Library materials directly from donors.  The Librarian will also cultivate prospective donors, and will identify persons whose papers might present an especially relevant addition to the collections.

  1.   It is in the duty of the Librarian to make the Library better known to all of its current and potential constituencies, to publicize the holdings of the Library, and to encourage their use by qualified users.  The Librarian may serve on appropriate boards, advisory commissions, fellowship selection committees, and other groups in which participation will reflect positively upon the Library and the Society.

Posted: July 17, 2014