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Head, Special Collections and Archives, Virginia Commonwealth University


Located in historic and dynamic Richmond, Virginia, convenient to the beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains, the recreation destinations of the Atlantic Ocean and the Chesapeake Bay, and the cultural resources of Washington, D.C., Virginia Commonwealth University is Virginia’s largest university and one of the nation’s leading research institutions. The VCU Libraries advances the University’s teaching, research, service, and patient care mission with one of Virginia’s most outstanding research library systems, with holdings of 2 million volumes, 50,000 serial titles, 3.2 million microforms, and nationally prominent collections in the health and biological sciences, social work, the arts, the history of medicine, and comic and book arts.

The Virginia Commonwealth University Libraries invites applications and nominations for the position of Head, Special Collections and Archives. VCU Libraries seeks a creative and forward looking leader, working at the cutting edge of archival and special collections practice, to head the Special Collections and Archives department of James Branch Cabell Library. The Head will provide vision for Special Collections and Archives, and continue the department’s successes building nationally recognized collections in comic and graphic arts, artist’s books, documentation of central Virginia minority and activist communities, Richmond history and culture, oral histories, literary manuscripts, and University Archives. The successful candidate will join a culturally and academically diverse faculty of the highest caliber.


Reporting to the Associate University Librarian for Public Services, the Head, Special Collections and Archives will provide energetic leadership and direction for department activities. He or she will oversee three skilled classified staff and one faculty librarian working in spaces newly renovated in 2007. Utilizing both traditional and state-of-the-art practices for the development, preservation, and access of special collections, he or she will partner with other experts within VCU Libraries and the community to create and spearhead a clear vision for special collections and archives at the university. The Head will be a successful builder of relationships with appropriate people throughout the university and community, and will ensure a well articulated program for acquiring and managing unique materials in all formats. The incumbent will develop and oversee a growing oral history program, continuing and expanding the highly successful Archives of the New Dominion community documentation program. He or she will foster the development and promotion of the comic arts collection, among the nation’s very largest and most comprehensive such collections, as well as other fine arts collections. The incumbent will oversee research and reference, education, and collection development activities of the department. He or she will participate in divisional and library management efforts with other department heads, coordinate work with the Head of Special Collections at the Tompkins-McCaw Health Sciences Library, and work closely with VCU Libraries Development staff to pursue donor relationships and funding opportunities. The Head, Special Collections and Archives is expected to be active professionally and to contribute to developments in the field. Faculty with the VCU Libraries are evaluated, and promoted, on the basis of job performance, scholarship, and professional development and service.


Required: Accredited graduate degree in an appropriate discipline (Librarianship, History, Archives Management, or related area). Three or more years experience in archives and special collections in a university setting. Demonstrated experience working in and fostering a diverse faculty, staff and student environment or commitment to do so as a faculty member at VCU.

Preferred: Progressively responsible roles within special collections or archives. Demonstrated understanding of digitization efforts and knowledge of digital formats and standards. Demonstrated ability to establish and cultivate donor relationships and to develop programs and outreach strategies for special collections. Curatorial skills and thorough understanding of archival practice. Knowledge of best practice for generating oral histories that complement other historical record formats and provide enduring research value. Graduate coursework in Archives or Archival Administration or equivalent experience. Strong analytic and interpersonal skills. Excellent oral and written communication skills. Ability to manage competing priorities and meet deadlines. Preference for collaboration and team work. Evidence of successful supervisory experience and an inclusive, participatory management approach. Experience and enthusiasm appropriate for pursuing the VCU strategic goal of community engagement. Evidence of mature judgment and understanding of a scholarly research environment. Experience working in a culturally diverse environment highly preferred.

Virginia Commonwealth University and the VCU Libraries

Virginia Commonwealth University is Virginia’s largest research university, enrolling over 32,000 students. Classified by Carnegie as Research University (high research activity), VCU offers 38 doctoral, 73 masters, 3 professional, and 63 baccalaureate degree programs. Twenty-seven of VCU's graduate, professional programs are ranked by U.S. News & World Report as among the best in the nation, with 21 programs ranking in the top 25 and two programs — sculpture and nurse anesthesia — ranked number one. Over 1,900 faculty comprise the University's teaching force. Research strengths at the University include health and life sciences, education, engineering, social work, behavioral sciences, public affairs, advertising and design, and the fine arts. Sponsored research funding totals over $230 million, placing VCU among the top 100 research institutions in the United States. VCU's strategic plan embraces an acceleration in the growth of VCU’s library system and includes a new Master Site Plan that envisions additions to both library facilities operated by the VCU Libraries. An off-site storage facility and major renovations to Cabell Library, creating a Learning Commons, were completed in 2010.

Libraries at Virginia Commonwealth University (including the James Branch Cabell Library on the Monroe Park Campus and the Tompkins-McCaw Library for the Health Sciences on the MCV Campus) employ 47 professionals and 82 support staff with an annual budget exceeding $15 million. The VCU Libraries also supports the arts and design library of the VCU campus in Doha, Qatar. The VCU Libraries is a Resource Library in the National Network of Libraries of Medicine and a member of the Association of Southeastern Research Libraries, SPARC, CNI, BioMed Central, and the Virtual Library of Virginia (VIVA), a statewide networking consortium for shared access to electronic and print resources. The VCU Libraries uses ALEPH 500, SFX, MetaLib, CONTENTdm, and DSpace as the foundation of its system architecture to enhance access to its collections and services.

The Monroe Park Campus of VCU is located in Richmond's Fan District, a large, residential neighborhood of townhouses, shops, and cafes. The campus is home to most of the University’s undergraduate and many of its graduate programs, including the School of the Arts, the College of Humanities and Sciences, and the Schools of Business, Education, Engineering, and Social Work. The School of Social Work also offers the Masters of Social Work at the Northern Virginia Campus in Alexandria, Virginia. In addition, VCU’s Qatar campus in the Middle East offers degree programs through the School of the Arts.


Salary commensurate with experience, not less than $65,000 annually. This is a full-time, non-tenured faculty position. Normal faculty benefits apply, including 24 vacation days annually and choice of retirement and annuity plans. For more information about benefits, see


For more information about the VCU Libraries, please visit our home page. Review of applications will begin May 2, and will continue until the position is filled. Submit cover letter, resume, and the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of three references to:

Pamela H. Fraga
Assistant to the University Librarian
VCU Libraries, Virginia Commonwealth University
901 Park Avenue
PO Box 842033
Richmond, VA 23284-2033
804-828-0151 (fax)

Virginia Commonwealth University is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action employer. Women, minorities, and persons with disabilities are encouraged to apply.

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