Rare Books, Manuscripts and Digital Projects Librarian

I found the position named  Rare Books, Manuscripts and Digital Projects Librarian listed on INALJ. This position requires the candidate has experience or knowledge of rare books and manuscripts. The related job duties include: manage and preserve the rare book and manuscripts collections, take care of the fragile materials and create metadata for new Special Collections. The candidate also need to know how to create instructional materials, such as finding aids and web guides, and have the experience of managing digital projects. I like the way that Colgate  University Libraries used to present this job. The percentage of each duty makes it very clear that what kind of work this position need to focus on.

They do not give detailed technologies that a candidate need to have for applying for this position. Instead, they list “excellent computer and technical skills” as one of the qualifications. But from the job description, we can easily find many technical skills that mentioned in Tzoc and Millard’s article may be required by this job. For example, skill of digital collection management, digital preservation, knowledge of metadata/cataloging standards and web design.

Should LIS programs address this gap in experience and skills? How? If you wish, talk about how the UW program has expanded (or not expanded) your technological skill set.

I would like LIS program has more courses related to the skills listed in Tzoc and Millard’s article. I have taken the Information architecture, database design and digital curation in our SLIS program. I think they are all very useful to me. Also, what is great is that they teach how the technology used in the library settings. The classes offered in other programs will not have that. And I remember that we could take about 3 courses that are not in SLIS program. I have taken Java in computer science this semester. If possible, this is also a good class to be offered in SLIS.

Moreover, I agree with Tzoc and Millard that to do volunteer’s job is helpful for the library science students. Sometimes the experience of volunteering can give you more opportunities in job hunting.

Here is the job description and qualifications for this job:

Job description

The individual in this position manages rare books, manuscripts, and other non-University Archives materials in the Special Collections and University Archives, including their development, organization, description, accessibility, digitization, preservation, promotion and assessment.  S/he engages in educational planning and instruction, reinforcing the significance of primary source materials as curricular resources, and explores the use of technology to advance teaching, learning and research with special collections materials.  S/he manages the Libraries’ major digital projects involving Special Collections materials (student newspaper, yearbooks, alumni magazine, course catalogs, etc.) including digital outsourcing, quality control, preservation, and storage and creates and describes resources digitized locally.

1. Manage Rare Books and Manuscripts  (20%)

2. Rare Books and Manuscripts Educational Planning and Instruction (25%)

3. Manage Digital Projects (40%)

4. In addition to specific jobs responsibilities, all library faculty  (15%)


  • An ALA-accredited master’s degree or an equivalent master’s degree.
  • 2 years of experience working in a library, particularly at a liberal arts institution, or museum setting.
  • Knowledge of or experience with current practices related to the identification, access, control, organization, preservation, promotion and digitization of rare books and primary source materials, including metadata schemas, digital processes, digital preservation, institutional repositories, and open access initiatives.
  • Knowledge of the history of the book.
  • Experience providing high quality public service, providing information literacy instruction, and building strong patron relationships.
  • Digital project management and vendor experience.
  • Strong written and oral communication skills and the ability to communicate clearly in presentations.
  • Excellent computer and technical skills.
  • Ability to set priorities, manage work, and meet deadlines independently and collaboratively.
  • Flexibility in adapting to changing departmental and organizational priorities and evolving technologies.
  • Demonstrated awareness of new modes of scholarship and instruction employing materials typically held in special collections and archives.
  • Supervisory experience with students or interns.
  • Ability to work a schedule which includes some evening, weekend, and holiday hours.
  • Ability to lift and shelve boxes weighing up to 40 pounds.

Finally, I like INALJ very much. 🙂


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