Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Librarian of the College

The Librarian of the College is the chief administrator of the Amherst College Library, which encompasses the Robert Frost Library with its Archives and Special Collections, the Harry Keefe Science Library, the Vincent Morgan Music Library, the Olds Mathematics Library, the Center for Visual Resources, and the Amherst College Library Depository. The Librarian supervises 17 FTE trustee-appointed librarians and archivists and 24 FTE library support staff and manages a budget of approximately $6 million. The Librarian reports directly to the Dean of the Faculty, Amherst College’s chief academic officer. Although not under the Librarian’s supervision, the Amherst Center for Russian Culture, the Emily Dickinson Museum (both in Amherst) and the Folger Shakespeare Library (in Washington, DC) also operate under the College’s auspices. The Librarian also has a close working relationship with the College’s Director of Information Technology and the Director of the Mead Art Museum.

Amherst is an independent liberal arts college enrolling approximately 1,650 men and women. The College offers the Bachelor of Arts (B. A.) degree in 33 fields of study, with a student-faculty ratio of 8 to 1. Teaching at Amherst occurs in classrooms and other deliberative settings (including the Library) that emphasize close interpersonal engagement as well as individual study.

The new Librarian of the College will promote the centrality of the library’s role in providing essential support for instruction, learning and research. The new Librarian will have an opportunity, the economy permitting, to envision the creation of a new library, based on conceptual planning now nearing its conclusion. Amherst is determined that the renewed library anticipate the scholarly needs of its twenty-first century users, while also providing state-of-the-art access for the College’s existing collections and the flexibility to accommodate such new media of record as may emerge over the next half-century, as well as changing modes of library-centered pedagogy and undergraduate study habits.

Because Amherst expects from its faculty an equal professional emphasis on active research and undergraduate teaching, the library must support both faculty and student research. Since its founding in 1821, the library has amassed special collections that are comparable in quality and scale to those of some universities. The Library’s Archives and Special Collections are strong in seventeenth- and eighteenth-century books, nineteenth- and twentieth-century American poetry, and twentieth-century diplomatic papers, among other distinctions.

Amherst benefits from its membership in the Five Colleges, a consortium with nearby Smith, Mount Holyoke and Hampshire Colleges and the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. The Librarian serves as the College’s representative to the Five College Librarians Council, which develops cooperative plans among the member institutions.

Amherst is notable for the devotion of its alumni to the College’s academic priorities. The Friends of the Amherst College Library, established in 1968, provides important ongoing support, including funding for visiting scholars and writers, as well as the Folger Undergraduate Fellowships. The College’s 1,000-acre campus is near the center of the town of Amherst, Massachusetts, in the Pioneer Valley, “arguably the most author-saturated, book-cherishing, literature-celebrating place in the nation,” as a New York Times reporter has recently concluded.

Qualifications: An ALA-accredited graduate degree in library or information science is required; an additional graduate degree is preferred. Candidates should be accomplished professionals with at least seven years of successful administrative experience, including significant management and supervisory responsibilities, in an academic library. Amherst expects its Librarian to provide leadership not only on campus but also in service to the profession, e.g. through active participation in professional organizations and consortia such as the Oberlin Group. The successful candidate will have the temperament and inclination for such leadership.

The ability to advance the College’s relationship with all constituencies, including faculty, alumni, and the Friends, is essential. Candidates should manifest strong communication, analytical, interpersonal and motivational skills; the ability to manage multiple projects concurrently; and a command of budgeting and personnel supervision. The successful candidate will evince the initiative, imagination, and political and social sophistication necessary to pursue innovation within a confident, self-reflective, progressive institution.

A complete application will include a letter of interest, a current curriculum vitae and contact information for three professional references. Interested applicants should apply to Inquiries are welcome and may be directed to Chuck O’Boyle at (404) 897-1687 or, who is assisting in the search. Review of applications will begin immediately and proceed until the position is filled.

Amherst College is an equal opportunity employer and encourages women, persons of color, and persons with disabilities to apply. The College is committed to enriching the diversity of its faculty, administration and staff to ensure that full participation and inclusion are an integral part of the culture of the institution.

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