Head of Archives and Special Collections, Biddle Law Library University of Pennsylvania – Philadelphia, PA

Full Job Description

University Overview
The University of Pennsylvania, the largest private employer in Philadelphia, is a world-renowned leader in education, research, and innovation. This historic, Ivy League school consistently ranks among the top 10 universities in the annual U.S. News & World Report survey. Penn has 12 highly-regarded schools that provide opportunities for undergraduate, graduate and continuing education, all influenced by Penn’s distinctive interdisciplinary approach to scholarship and learning. As an employer Penn has been ranked nationally on many occasions with the most recent award from Forbes who named Penn one of America’s Best Large Employers in 2023.
Penn offers a unique working environment within the city of Philadelphia. The University is situated on a beautiful urban campus, with easy access to a range of educational, cultural, and recreational activities. With its historical significance and landmarks, lively cultural offerings, and wide variety of atmospheres, Philadelphia is the perfect place to call home for work and play.
The University offers a competitive benefits package that includes excellent healthcare and tuition benefits for employees and their families, generous retirement benefits, a wide variety of professional development opportunities, supportive work and family benefits, a wealth of health and wellness programs and resources, and much more.
Posted Job Title

Head of Archives and Special Collections, Biddle Law Library

Job Profile Title

Librarian D

Job Description Summary

The University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School is one of the nation’s oldest and most distinguished law schools. The School offers a unique approach, incorporating cross-disciplinary legal education, a distinctly collaborative environment, and an innovative curriculum to enrich student learning. The small and highly interdisciplinary faculty achieves scholarly excellence while emphasizing a shared effort to advance understanding of the law. The result is an intellectual community that bridges traditional boundaries and disciplines within a renowned internal culture of collegiality, making the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School an extraordinarily supportive academic community for all its members.

The Biddle Law Library is an inclusive team of professionals with a kind, collaborative spirit and a drive to innovate. We meet our strategic goals by fostering a mutually supportive culture that encourages teamwork, while also creating space for individuals to cultivate their own initiatives. The Archives and Special Collections department is responsible for collecting, preserving, and making accessible the archives of Penn Carey Law along with the archival collections of our partner institutions: the American Law Institute, the American College of Bankruptcy, and the National Conference of Bankruptcy Judges

Reporting to the Associate Director for Scholarly Data and Innovation, the Head of Archives and Special Collections (ASC) oversees the staff, resources, operations, and collections of the department and serves as a liaison between ASC and our partners and stakeholders. A successful candidate will bring leadership, organization, vision, and support to the ASC team, and will work to align departmental focus and capacity with institutional needs.

Job Description
Job Responsibilities
Departmental Administration and Leadership
  • Serve as primary liaison with partner institutions regarding the development, maintenance, processing, and prioritization of their archival collections
  • Develop, revise, communicate, and document departmental goals, policies, procedures, and guidelines for the Archives and Special Collections department
  • Evaluate the physical and digital infrastructure of ASC, identify shortfalls and areas of need, and propose solutions to stakeholders
  • Oversee and ensure maintenance and preservation of archives, rare books, and other special collections consistent with University standards and best practices
  • Create and monitor budgets for personnel, equipment, digital infrastructure, and materials allocations.Prepare annual budget reports and requests for Penn Carey Law and our partner organizations
  • Contribute to goals for digital access to collections, digitization and metadata projects, and collaborative digital projects
Team Leadership and Supervision
  • Assign responsibilities, projects, and oversee departmental workflows
  • Hire, train, supervise, and evaluate departmental personnel
  • Identify professional development opportunities for ASC staff
Marketing, Communication, and Outreach
  • Lead public-facing services for the archives, including outreach, communications, exhibits, and programming
  • Work with the Law School’s Department of Alumni Relations and other offices regarding transfers to and requests regarding special collections
  • Liaise with other Law School departments and administration to preserve law school history
  • Liaise with Law School faculty to discuss donation of papers and materials
  • Coordinate and provide reference and other research assistance to researchers, court staff, the general public, and others seeking access to archives materials
  • Meet with university archivists to coordinate information and resource sharing
Collections Management
  • Identify and acquire materials for ASC that align with policies for collection development, records retention, and prioritization of DEIB
  • Coordinate donations of materials, prepare deeds of gift or other transfer documents, and ensure proper acknowledgements are made
  • Solicit donations of new materials relevant to areas of collection
  • Monitor Special Collections spaces and conditions, conduct routine inventories, and prepare departmental supply requests
  • Contribute to maintenance and creation of infrastructure for digital preservation
  • Implement and maintain a records management program for the Law School
Other Duties as Assigned
Required Qualifications:
  • Master in Library Science or equivalent degree from an ALA-accredited graduate program
  • 5-7 years of progressively responsible professional experience in libraries and archives
  • 1-3 years of supervisory experience
  • Strong leadership, organizational, decision-making, and presentation skills
  • Demonstrated knowledge and understanding of key issues, emerging technologies, and recent trends in archives and special collections
  • Experience with budget planning and allocation in a large organization
  • Strong interpersonal and communication skills
  • Familiarity with digitization, metadata, and digital preservation
  • Demonstrated ability to work with great attention to detail and accuracy
Preferred Qualifications:
  • Work experience in a higher education setting
  • Evidence of success in introducing and managing change in a complex environment
  • Experience with modern platforms for digital archival storage, management, and access, e.g. ArchivesSpace, Archivematica, and ContentDM
  • Demonstrated aptitude for departmental leadership
  • Familiarity or experience working with oral history collections
  • Candidates must submit a resume and cover letter for consideration
Job Location – City, State

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Department / School

Law School

Pay Range

$61,046.00 – $85,000.00 Annual Rate

Salary offers are made based on the candidate’s qualifications, experience, skills, and education as they directly relate to the requirements of the position, as well as internal and market factors and grade profile.
Affirmative Action Statement
Penn adheres to a policy that prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, creed, national or ethnic origin, citizenship status, age, disability, veteran status, or any other legally protected class.
Special Requirements
Background check required after a conditional job offer is made. Consideration of the background check will be tailored to the requirements of the job.
University Benefits
  • Health, Life, and Flexible Spending Accounts: Penn offers comprehensive medical, prescription, behavioral health, dental, vision, and life insurance benefits to protect you and your family’s health and welfare. You can also use flexible spending accounts to pay for eligible health care and dependent care expenses with pre-tax dollars.
  • Tuition: Take advantage of Penn’s exceptional tuition benefits. You, your spouse, and your dependent children can get tuition assistance here at Penn. Your dependent children are also eligible for tuition assistance at other institutions.
  • Retirement: Penn offers generous retirement plans to help you save for your future. Penn’s Basic, Matching, and Supplemental retirement plans allow you to save for retirement on a pre-tax or Roth basis. Choose from a wide variety of investment options through TIAA and Vanguard.
  • Time Away from Work: Penn provides you with a substantial amount of time away from work during the course of the year. This allows you to relax, take vacations, attend to personal affairs, recover from illness or injury, spend time with family—whatever your personal needs may be.
  • Long-Term Care Insurance: In partnership with Genworth Financial, Penn offers faculty and staff (and your eligible family members) long-term care insurance to help you cover some of the costs of long-term care services received at home, in the community or in a nursing facility. If you apply when you’re newly hired, you won’t have to provide proof of good health or be subject to underwriting requirements. Eligible family members must always provide proof of good health and are subject to underwriting.
  • Wellness and Work-life Resources: Penn is committed to supporting our faculty and staff as they balance the competing demands of work and personal life. That’s why we offer a wide variety of programs and resources to help you care for your health, your family, and your work-life balance.
  • Professional and Personal Development: Penn provides an array of resources to help you advance yourself personally and professionally.
  • University Resources: As a member of the Penn community, you have access to a wide range of University resources as well as cultural and recreational activities. Take advantage of the University’s libraries and athletic facilities, or visit our arboretum and art galleries. There’s always something going on at Penn, whether it’s a new exhibit at the Penn Museum, the latest music or theater presentation at the Annenberg Center, or the Penn Relays at Franklin Field to name just a few examples. As a member of the Penn community, you’re right in the middle of the excitement—and you and your family can enjoy many of these activities for free.
  • Discounts and Special Services: From arts and entertainment to transportation and mortgages, you’ll find great deals for University faculty and staff. Not only do Penn arts and cultural centers and museums offer free and discounted admission and memberships to faculty and staff. You can also enjoy substantial savings on other goods and services such as new cars from Ford and General Motors, cellular phone service plans, movie tickets, and admission to theme parks.
  • Flexible Work Hours: Flexible work options offer creative approaches for completing work while promoting balance between work and personal commitments. These approaches involve use of non-traditional work hours, locations, and/or job structures.
  • Penn Home Ownership Services: Penn offers a forgivable loan for eligible employees interested in buying a home or currently residing in West Philadelphia, which can be used for closing costs or home improvements.
  • Adoption Assistance: Penn will reimburse eligible employees on qualified expenses in connection with the legal adoption of an eligible child, such as travel or court fees, for up to two adoptions in your household.
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