Job: Rare Books Librarian, Florida State University, Tallahassee

31 Oct 2017 8:08 AM | Krystal Thomas (Administrator)


The Florida State University Libraries seek a knowledgeable, collaborative, and user-focused individual for the position Rare Books Librarian. This position will provide leadership and guidance to University Libraries and the campus community related to the development, analysis, and use of our rare book collections.

The Rare Books Librarian is responsible for managing the FSU Libraries’ rare book collections and leading the related outreach and instruction program. In addition the Rare Books Librarian serves as a lead member of the Special Collections Research Center reference staff.

The curatorial responsibilities of the Rare Books Librarian include collection analysis and development; selection; and bibliographical interpretation and advanced bibliographic description sufficient to support cataloging of complex and rare collections, in partnership with the Associate Dean for Special Collections and Archives and the Rare Book Cataloger.

The Rare Books Librarian reinforces the significance of primary source materials as curricular resources through educational planning and instruction and explores the use of technology to advance teaching, learning and research with materials from the rare book collections.

The Special Collections Research Center is a unit within the Special Collections and Archives Division. The Center is the home for the rare book and manuscript collections and serves as the primary research center and reading room for rare books, manuscripts, and Heritage Protocol and University Archives. The Special Collections Division includes the Special Collections Research Center, Heritage Protocol and University Archives, the Claude Pepper Library, the Digital Library Center, and Cataloging and Description.

The rare book collections are comprised of roughly 90,000 volumes and early manuscripts. Key areas include the John McKay Shaw Childhood in Poetry Collection, the Napoleon and the French Revolution Collection, the Carothers Memorial Bibles and Rare Book Collection, and the Gontarski Grove Press Collection. Students and faculty associated with FSU’s History of Text Technology Program, as well from the Art History, English, and other humanities and arts departments are core users of our rare book collections.


  • Engage with faculty and specialists in the Libraries and across campus to align collection development and access of rare materials with FSU’s academic mission
  • Collaborate with the Associate Dean for Special Collections and Archives, library liaisons, faculty, and other stakeholders to determine collecting priorities and new areas of collection development
  • Assess rare book donations to identify additions to the collection
  • Coordinate rare book cataloging workflows with Head of Cataloging and Description and Collections Manager
  • Collaborate with Collections Manager on stacks maintenance, inventory projects, and conservation assessment
  • Collaborate with the Digital Archivist, the Digital Library Center, and other relevant partners in planning, creating, and managing digital collections from rare book collections
  • Assist the Associate Dean for Special Collections and Archives, University Libraries’ Development Officer, and the Dean to establish and cultivate relationships with donors
  • Work with Associate Dean for Special Collections and Archives and other colleagues to develop grant proposals and pursue external funding opportunities.
  • Provide reference and consultation services to in-house and distance users.
  • Develop an expansive and creative instructional program, engaging new audiences from all educational levels, and increasing support for the integration of Special Collections into undergraduate and graduate curricula.
  • Prepare and deliver orientation and instruction sessions, workshops, and tours as needed; interact with faculty and departments to address their instruction needs.
  • Collaborate with others in the Division and across the Libraries to develop, implement, and assess the Special Collections instruction program.
  • Serve as a member of the Special Collections Research Center reference staff.
  • Proactively build partnerships across the University and in the community.
  • Actively promote use of all the Division’s collections among university faculty and students, historic site and museum personnel, and members of the scholarly community and general public who could benefit from the Division’s services.
  • Participate in division-wide meetings and planning.
  • Supervise student assistants.
  • Serve on FSU Libraries and University Committees.
  • Contribute to state, regional, and national committees.
  • Participate in research, publication, and other professional and scholarly activities.
  • Work evening and weekend hours, as needed.


  • MLS degree from a program accredited by the American Library Association or an equivalent graduate library science/information studies degree
  • Minimum of 2 years experience in an established special collection, rare book collection, or manuscript repository.
  • Strong public service orientation and commitment to user-centered service.
  • Experience in reference services and instruction.
  • Demonstrated ability to use technology effectively for collection management and access (e.g., rare book cataloging standards, digital text or imaging projects, web page creation/maintenance, metadata creation).
  • Knowledge of current practice and emerging trends in rare book and manuscript librarianship and instruction.
  • Ability to plan, coordinate, and implement effective programs, complex projects, and services.
  • Flexibility and the capacity to thrive in a rapidly changing environment.
  • Ability to take initiative, work independently and collegially, think creatively and solve problems.
  • Ability to communicate effectively in writing and speaking.
  • Ability to work successfully with diverse users at a variety of educational levels.
  • Excellent interpersonal skills; experience working collaboratively with varied groups within a complex organization and team environment.
  • Record of successful performance of duties in prior job(s).


  • Reading knowledge of one or more of the following: French, Latin, Spanish, or German.
  • Experience teaching and designing curriculum or coursework, particularly at the undergraduate level.
  • Experience with or demonstrated knowledge of planning, delivering, and assessing primary source literacy instruction; the history of the book, bibliography, book arts, and archival processing; digital collections, social media tools, and digital humanities concepts, tools, and techniques; conservation or preservation of paper or other media.
For more information or to apply, please see the FSU Careers Website.

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