Special Collections Librarian


The University of Kentucky Libraries Special Collections Research Center seeks a Special Collections Librarian (SCL) to manage its rare books, printed materials, and the King Library Press. The position is a full-time, 12-month, tenure-track position.

The SCL serves as a liaison to faculty and students conducting research in a variety of fields (including, among others, western and non-western languages and literatures, medieval and early modern studies, history, history of book and printing, history of science) and provides specialized reference and library instruction. The SCL also contributes to general and specific reference in Special Collections.

The Special Collections Librarian manages the development of the rare books and other printed materials through ongoing analysis of its existing strengths and weaknesses, provides collection preservation, cataloging, outreach, education services, and specialized reference. The SCL expands the collection in ways appropriate to current collection development policies and identifies new collection development opportunities that align with new University strategic directions and faculty research trends. The SCL reports to the Director of Research and Education, and in consultation with all SCRC Directors has general curatorial responsibility for the rare books collection.
The curatorial responsibilities of the Special Collections Librarian include collection analysis and development, selection, bibliographical interpretation and advanced bibliographic description required in cataloging complex and rare collections. The SCL is responsible for the maintenance and augmentation of the Americana Collection, the W. Hugh Peal collection of British and American literature, printing history and rare book arts, the Alfred Cortot and Lou Emma Wilson Mexicana collections, as well as participating in collaborative curation of the Kentuckiana print collections. The SCL will manage several budgets, including endowments, and be expected to allocate resources accordingly.
The Special Collections Librarian will also have administrative and supervisory responsibility for the King Library Press, which is devoted to the tradition of fine printing, producing books and broadsides, hosting annual workshops and seminars, and broader outreach to the local arts community.
The Special Collections Librarian functions continually as an ambassador of UK Libraries in dealing with UK faculty and students, the antiquarian book trade, private collectors, other librarians at UK and in the broader professional community, and the donor community.
The SCL manages and curates books, postcards, broadsides, sheet music, etc. that are used in exhibition spaces of UK Libraries. The SCL will be required to teach active learning classes utilizing aforementioned materials, conduct tours, and collaborate on exhibits. The SCL will work collaboratively on collection management, including planning for materials housing and storage decisions.
Working in a highly collegial environment, the incumbent is expected to contribute to the libraries-wide planning process through participation in division-wide meetings, ad hoc task forces, and other committees as appropriate.
UK librarians are expected to participate in library-wide planning and governance, to work effectively in a shared decision-making environment and to be active professionally. Professional contributions beyond the primary responsibilities are required for advancement in the Librarian series. The successful candidate will show promise or evidence of such contributions.

The University of Kentucky is a public, land grant university of approximately 32,000 students, 3,500 faculty, and 15,000 staff dedicated to improving people's lives through excellence in education, research and creative work, service, and health care. With over 200 academic programs across sixteen colleges and professional schools, the University plays a critical leadership role by promotion diversity, inclusion, economic development, and human well-being.

Located in the beautiful bluegrass region of central Kentucky, the University of Kentucky Libraries includes the main William T. Young Library, Medical Center Library, Special Collections Research Center, Agricultural Information Center, Fine Arts Library, Design Library, Education Library, Transportation Library, Lexmark Library, and Science & Engineering Library. Combined library holdings total more than four million volumes. The system has a faculty of 60 and a support and professional staff of 108. UK Libraries currently uses the Ex Libris Alma and Primo systems. UK Libraries memberships include the Association of Research Libraries, LYRASIS, ASERL, and the Center for Research Libraries. UK is a regional depository for government publications.

To apply, interested applicants must attach two documents:
• Curriculum vitae
• Cover letter

Please include contact information for three references when prompted in the application. This information may be utilized to solicit recommendation letters from your references within the employment system.

The application deadline is August 7, 2017.

Job Title
Special Collections Librarian

Requisition Number

Working Title

Department Name

Work Location
Lexington, KY

Type of Position

Position Time Status

Required Education

MLS from an ALA-accredited institution, or an equivalent degree

Required Related Experience

Three or more years of experience with rare books, archival materials, or other special collections; demonstrated knowledge of literature and cultural history.

Required License/ Registration/Certification


Does this position have supervisory responsibilities?

Preferred Education/Experience

• An advanced degree in a subject field pertaining to the SCRC rare books collection.
• Experience in an academic Special Collections library
• Familiarity with languages (at least one of the following: Spanish, French, German, Italian, Greek, Latin, Chinese, Japanese, Arabic, Hebrew, etc.)
• Experience in grant writing and fundraising.
• Experience cataloging.
• Experience with exhibition work.
• Experience in the antiquarian book trade.
• Demonstrated success in donor relations and significant cultivation of private collectors.
• Solid experience in serving as a reference librarian in either a general research or rare book library.

Deadline to Apply

Open Untill Filled

University Community of Inclusion

The University of Kentucky is committed to a diverse and inclusive workforce by ensuring all our students, faculty, and staff work in an environment of openness and acceptance. We strive to foster a community where people of all backgrounds, identities, and perspectives can feel secure and welcome. We also value the well-being of each of our employees and are dedicated to creating a healthy place to work, learn and live. In the interest of maintaining a safe and healthy environment for our students, employees, patients and visitors the University of Kentucky is a Tobacco & Drug Free campus.

As an Equal Opportunity Employer, we strongly encourage veterans, individuals with disabilities, women, and all minorities to consider our employment opportunities.

Any candidate offered a position may be required to pass pre-employment screenings as mandated by University of Kentucky Human Resources. These screenings may include a national background check and/or drug screen.

Posting Specific Questions

Required fields are indicated with an asterisk (*).

  1. * Where did you first see this position advertised other than on UK's online employment system?
    • InsideHigherEd.com
    • HigherEdJobs.com
    • Diverseeducation.com (Diverse Issues in Higher Education)
    • Academic Keys
    • Latinosinhighered.com
    • Indeed.com
    • A Colleague, Friend and/or Family Member
    • None of the Above

Applicant Documents

Required Documents
  1. Curriculum Vita
  2. Cover Letter
Optional Documents