Head, Rare Books & Special Collections Bookmark and Share

University of British Columbia Library,
Vancouver, British Columbia

Salary: Not Specified
Status: Full-time
Posted: 07/15/14

Head, Rare Books & Special Collections

Head, Rare Books & Special Collections (full time, ongoing, 5 year renewable administrative term)

UBC Library

The University of British Columbia Library is one of the largest academic libraries in Canada, ranked 14th among the Association of Research Libraries.  UBC Library has 14 branches and divisions, two campuses (Vancouver and Kelowna), one off-site hospital library, and the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre - a multi-purpose teaching and learning facility.

~~The Rare Books and Special Collections (RBSC) Division holds and manages the majority of the Library’s rare books, maps and manuscripts with a special emphasis on material related to British Columbia.  The archival collections at RBSC include the world-renowned Chung Collection, the archives of artist and author Douglas Coupland and the Langmann Family Collection of B.C. Photographs, containing over 18,000 images of B.C. and the Pacific Northwest. More information about Rare Books and Special Collections can be found under http://rbsc.library.ubc.ca/.

The UBC Library Strategic Plan 2010-2015 can be viewed at www.library.ubc.ca/strategicplan/.


Reporting to the Associate University Librarian (AUL) Collection Development and Management Programs, the Head of Rare Books and Special Collections (RBSC) will guide the unit through its continuing evolution into a dynamic and innovative resource serving diverse and changing scholarly needs and interests. The Head will articulate a vision and strategic direction that promotes the visibility, accessibility and impact of the University’s primary rare and unique research materials, facilitates collaboration with relevant initiatives and programs, participates in the development of fundraising strategies and donor stewardship and integrates RBSC’s rare and unique holdings into teaching, research and learning activities at UBC and beyond.

The Head advises the AUL, Collection Development and Management Programs and the University Librarian on the identification and acquisition of rare books and special collections, and works closely with the Director of Library Development in external advancement efforts.  The Head participates in developing and implementing policies and procedures that enhance growth of and access to special collections, working collaboratively with other Library units. Within the context of a changing special collections environment, the Head will be knowledgeable in the emerging areas of digital scholarship and its intersection with Special Collections holdings, and will foster advancement in these new areas of scholarship.



  • An ALA-accredited MLIS or equivalent degree with a strong academic background, preferably at the graduate level in humanities in a relevant subject area or an equivalent combination of education and experience.
  • Demonstrated experience over at least five years in acquiring and managing rare books and/or special collections in an academic or research environment is required and, preferably, experience with archival material.
  • A working knowledge of a second language (e.g. Chinese, Japanese, Latin, French.
  • Demonstrated success in identifying, cultivating and stewarding donor relationships.
  • Familiarity with current scholarship and research methods involving the use of rare books and manuscripts, as well as extensive knowledge of the antiquarian book trade, rare books, manuscripts and archives.
  • Working knowledge and demonstrated ability in addressing the processing, curatorial and conservation issues associated with special collections and archives.
  • Experience in cultivating successful donor relationships and expertise in gift-in-kind donations.
  • An understanding of technologies role in enhancing information discovery and access, including the growing importance of collecting, preserving and providing access to born-digital primary source materials.
  • Proven management and supervisory experience with success in leading, guiding and fostering a dynamic and respectful workplace.
  • Excellent organizational, planning and project management skills, including sound judgment and ability to implement organizational change.
  • Successful experience developing and managing outreach and exhibition programs.
  • Proven record of effective collaboration with students, faculty, donors and researchers.
  • Record of achievement in fundraising, writing and obtaining grants, gifts and awards.

Terms of Appointment and Salary:

This position will be filled as a full time ongoing position with a five year administrative term as Head, Rare Books & Special Collections (renewable). If eligible and qualified, the successful applicant may be appointed with a confirmed appointment.

Salary will be commensurate with experience and academic/professional qualifications.

UBC hires on the basis of merit and is committed to employment equity. The University especially welcomes applications from visible minority groups, women, Aboriginal persons, persons with disabilities, persons of minority sexual orientations and gender identities, and others with the skills and knowledge to engage productively with diverse communities. We encourage all qualified applicants to apply. However, Canadian citizens and permanent residents of Canada will be given priority.

Applications will include: a letter of application, including a statement of citizenship/immigration status, indicating the candidate’s education and training; work experience in the areas listed above; evidence of teaching effectiveness, such as evaluations; and a detailed and current curriculum vitae.

To view the complete job description and to submit an application, please visit the UBC Careers page at http://facultycareers.ubc.ca/18821 by midnight on September 5, 2014.

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