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"As provost, I know that our academic excellence depends on the contributions of all our faculty. Our faculty advance knowledge through our research, teach our talented students, and provide excellent health care to our patients. USC seeks to attract the best and brightest faculty, and we provide a collegial academic environment and employment conditions in which they can flourish and achieve academic success." Michael Quick, Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs.

Head of the Department of Special Collections(#349)

Arts & Humanities Faculty Los Angeles, California

The University of Southern California (USC) Libraries seek an innovative, experienced, and service-oriented professional to lead the Department of Special Collections at the USC Libraries. This position reports to the Director of the Arts and Humanities Division. The Head will provide leadership and vision for the department. The Head will ensure that the scope of the department’s collection development aligns with the educational and research goals of the University, and with the USC Libraries strategic plan and Collections Convergence Initiative. The Head will promote use of special collections by researchers at USC and elsewhere. The Head will collaborate with other USC Libraries units, and with academic and research units on campus in support of research, teaching, and artistic practice with primary collections.

We seek candidates motivated by a passion to develop transformative library services and an investment in the future of librarianship and archives, and who are creative in identifying and solving problems within a collegial and collaborative environment.  The successful candidate must be knowledgeable about current trends in special collections and archival theory and practice, and be able to apply this understanding to make a significant, positive impact on the USC community.  Duties include weekend and evening hours.


The University of Southern California is one of the world’s leading private research universities. An anchor institution in Los Angeles, a global center for arts, technology, and international business, USC’s diverse curricular offerings provide extensive opportunities for interdisciplinary study, and collaboration with leading researchers in highly advanced learning environments. With a strong tradition of integrating liberal and professional education, USC fosters a vibrant culture of public service and encourages students to cross academic as well as geographic boundaries in their pursuit of knowledge. For more information, visit


The USC Libraries support the discovery, creation, organization, dissemination, and preservation of knowledge. We develop and deliver collections, services, and programs that support and encourage the academic, research, clinical, and creative endeavors of our community; cultivate an inclusive community of intellectually curious, critical thinkers; and help develop engaged, informed global citizens. Through these means, we participate in the continuing success of the University of Southern California as a private, global research institution committed to the greater, public good.

The USC Libraries comprise Doheny Memorial Library and many specialized libraries, including the Health Sciences Libraries, with an operating budget of approximately $41 million. Library faculty and staff throughout the organization—committed to core values of inquiry, ingenuity, integrity, and inclusiveness—work to advance consequential engagement with our academic and arts communities. For more information on how our libraries support critical, creative, and ethical habits of mind at USC, visit


The Department of Special Collections supports and makes accessible the library’s rare books, historic photographs, and more than 1000 subject archival collections. Our purpose is to collect, preserve, promote and foster access to primary source material to USC students and faculty and outside researchers in our main areas of strength: American literature; Lewis Carroll and Alice in Wonderland; Lion Feuchtwanger and the European exiles in Southern California; Latin American and Iberian Studies; natural history; the history of Los Angeles, Southern California, and the American West, including the study of the border regions; and USC history. For more information, visit:

The Department of Special Collections works with library units, such as the Cinematic Arts Library, the One National Gay & Lesbian Archives, the Music Library, the East Asian Collection, the Architecture and Fine Arts Library and others at USC in supporting the Collections Convergence Initiative’s areas of strength, including: the Holocaust and genocide studies; Shoah Foundation video oral histories; LGBTQ history and culture, particularly relating to West Coast activities and activism; East Asian languages and cultures and Asian American history in the United States; and cinema, music, and the production of popular cultures.


Reporting to the Director of Arts and Humanities Division, the Head will:

  • Lead and manage the Special Collections department in the context of the USC Libraries strategic plan and the Collections Convergence Initiative, and ensure the department’s compliance with USC and library policies and procedures
  • Provide leadership and planning for building special collections in a variety of formats
  • Collaborate with other USC Libraries units, and with academic and research units at USC and beyond in support of research, teaching and engaging the creative arts with primary collections
  • Collaborate with other special collections regionally, nationally and internationally as appropriate
  • Lead the development of procedures and guidelines for Special Collections
  • Stay up-to-date on relevant archival information trends and practices, and apply this knowledge to making a significant positive impact on Special Collections and the advancement of the USC Libraries strategic plan and the University’s strategic vision
  • Provide in-person and virtual reference, and research consultation services
  • Participate in the cultivation of donors and fundraising in support of library initiatives
  • Participate actively in the profession through conference attendance, presentations, and publishing
  • Provide evening and weekend service, as assigned.


Minimum qualifications: MLS from an ALA-accredited program or non-U.S. equivalent is typically required for a librarian appointment at USC. In addition, candidates must provide examples of:

  • At least four years of increasingly responsible professional experience in archives or special collections
  • Supervisory experience
  • Demonstrated knowledge of archival professional practices
  • Demonstrated understanding of scholarly uses of special collections
  • Experience managing grants, donations and gift agreements
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills
  • Excellent organizational skills, including ability to comply with policies and procedures, manage multiple priorities, and meet deadlines.

Desirable qualifications:

  • Advanced degree in the humanities
  • Knowledge of preservation and conservation issues
  • Knowledge of intellectual property issues related to special collections and archives
  • Experience with fund-raising.


Rank:  Assistant University Librarian

Librarians at USC have faculty status. This is a full-time, continuing appointment track position. Appointment to the continuing appointment track requires the potential to meet the University’s criteria for granting continuing appointment—excellence in librarianship—which librarians achieve by having a significant impact on the development and/or implementation of high quality collections and/or services. Additionally, librarians must demonstrate the expectation of continued excellence and growth in profession expertise. Rank and salary commensurate with experience and qualifications.

For more on criteria and qualifications for the appointment, promotion and continuing appointment of librarians at USC, visit:


Benefits include a choice of retirement programs, 22 paid vacation days per year, university holidays, a choice of medical and dental plans, and tuition assistance (for employees and eligible dependents).  For more information about benefits see


As part of the application, candidates must upload one document file (PDF) that contains the following: 1) a cover letter, 2) a curriculum vitae (including telephone and e-mail address), 3) a list of at least three references that includes the name, address, telephone number, and e-mail address for each referee, and 4) a statement on fostering an environment of diversity and inclusion (no longer than one-page or less in length). 

Closing date for applications: open until filled.

For more information about this position, contact Steve Hanson, Chair of the Search Committee, at email

USC is an equal-opportunity educator and employer, proudly pluralistic and firmly committed to providing equal opportunity for outstanding persons of every race, gender, creed and background. The university particularly encourages members of underrepresented groups, veterans and individuals with disabilities to apply. USC will make reasonable accommodations for qualified individuals with known disabilities unless doing so would result in an undue hardship. Further information is available by contacting

REQ20070902 Posted Date: 02/06/2019

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