Assistant Curator, Manuscripts, Archives, and Rare Books, Schomburg Center

at New York Public Library (view profile)
Published June 6, 2024
Location New York, New York
Category Non-Profit  
Job Type Full-time  
Apply Here
Cover Letter Requirements Recommended
Education Requirements Masters
Minimum Compensation in Local Currency $80,000
Maximum Compensation in Local Currency $87,500
Hourly or Salary? Salary



Founded in 1925 and named a National Historic Landmark in 2017, the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture is one of the world’s leading cultural institutions devoted to the collection, preservation, and study of materials focused on African American, African Diaspora, and African experiences. The Schomburg Center, featuring diverse programming and collections spanning over 10 million items, has for over nine decades illuminated the richness of black history, arts, and experience worldwide. As a key part of one of the largest public library systems in the world, the Schomburg Center is committed to maximizing free and public access to its collections, exhibitions, educational activities, and much of its programming.
The Manuscripts, Archives and Rare Books (MARB) Division enables researchers to work directly with original, rare, and unique source materials. Beginning with rare treasures from Arturo Alfonso Schomburg's personal holdings, the collection has grown since Arturo Schomburg's collection was acquired in 1926. Today, the Division holds more than 5,000 rare books, over 1,000 manuscript collections, and 15,000 pieces of sheet music and rare printed material, with more added annually.
The Assistant Curator of MARB, works in tandem with the MARB Curator to support the strategic growth and use of the Division’s collection holdings through collection development, outreach, exhibition and programming, and collection management.
We are looking for someone we can count on to:
  • The strategic growth of the Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Books Division, with a focus on expanding the diversity of holdings.
  • A vision of inclusive outreach to a broad range of researchers.
  • Schomburg colleagues, as well as colleagues across NYPL to provide thoughtful instruction opportunities for teachers and students.
  • The holdings and mission of the Schomburg Center at conferences, external programs, and other forms of professional development.
  • About the Schomburg Center’s collections and ways they can support cutting-edge scholarship
  • Grants related to collection development, digitization, processing, and interpretation of Manuscripts, Archives, and Rare Books Division collections
  • Interdepartmental collaboration and communication by serving as a liaison with MARB’s partners
Some expectations for this role are that within:
1 month, this person will:
  • Understand the division’s responsibilities and the range of services it provides, both internally and externally
  • Begin building knowledge of the Manuscripts, Archives, and Rare Book division’s collection holdings and related collection systems
3 months, this person will:
  • Be familiar with the key departments with which our department collaborates
  • Begin to assist with collection development responsibilities and strengthening departmental workflows
6 months and beyond, this person will:
  • Establish and maintain relationships with key department collaborators throughout the institution
  • Begin assisting in outreach endeavors and promoting the division’s holdings
Reporting to the Curator of Manuscripts, Archives, and Rare Books, the Assistant Curator will:
  • Assist on all aspects of collection development for the Manuscripts, Archives, and Rare Books division, including identification of important acquisitions, donor relations, proposal writing and acquisition description, and documentation oversight
  • Raise awareness of the collections and cultivate new communities of users, including a supportive donor base, to support the needs of the collections and new initiatives
  • Support the Center's teaching, outreach, and scholarship initiatives by contextualizing the collections in a variety of ways, including through exhibitions, publications, class instruction as well as donor and membership tours, and public programs
  • Assist with internal and external loan requests in collaboration with the Curator, NYPL Registrar's Office, and Preservation Division
  • Administer the Short-Term Fellowship Program in the division, including serving as contact for fellows
  • Provides occasional reference service and research consultations to library users
  • Collects and maintains statistics and produces reports related to collection use
  • Participate in Library-wide initiatives through membership on committees and task forces Participate in professional development activities by attending local and national conferences and meetings and maintains memberships in relevant professional organizations
  • In the absence of the Curator, assume responsibility for the Division
  • Perform other related duties as required

Required Education, Experience & Skills

Required Education & Certifications
  • ALA accredited Master's degree in Library and Information Studies preferred; or Master’s degree or higher in humanities field and relevant experience will be considered
  • Subject area expertise or educational background in any of the following: African American History/Studies/Literature, Africana Studies, or cultural studies.
Required Experience
  • 3-5 years of research library or archives experience, with positions of increasing responsibility
  • Experience with special collections research and collection development
  • Demonstrated commitment to providing outstanding public services and a track record of promoting the use of special collections.
  • Knowledge of archival theory, practice, and national and international standards and best practices that govern the arrangement and description of primary source materials.
  • Successfully demonstrated experience managing and realizing projects.
  • Knowledge of rights issues pertaining to archival collections and rare books.
  • Outstanding interpersonal, oral, and written communications skills, including the ability to work effectively with all levels of staff and users.
  • Experience or willingness to speak publicly is required.
Required Skills
  • Strong organizational skills and attention to detail; ability to manage multiple responsibilities at once and meet deadlines
  • Demonstrated ability to work with a diverse range of humanities scholars, students, and independent researchers with varying levels of experience
  • Demonstrated commitment to promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion in collection development and outreach
  • Excellent interpersonal skills, including the ability to deal effectively and tactfully with donors, researchers, and colleagues
  • Up-to-date understanding of themes, debates, and trends in the field of special collections, especially archives, manuscripts, and rare books
  • Excellent writing and public speaking skills
Managerial/Supervisory Responsibilities

Preferred Qualifications

  • Advanced degree in any of the following: African American History/Studies/Literature, Africana Studies, or cultural studies
  • Demonstrated supervisory and team-building skills, including the ability to motivate, develop, and mentor others
  • Experience processing, arranging, and describing archival and manuscript material
  • Familiarity with digitization and metadata standards, technologies, and digital workflows
  • Grant writing and/or proven ability to develop and foster relationships with donors, collectors, and other institutions


Core Values
All team members are expected and encouraged to embody the NYPL Core Values:
  • Be Helpful to patrons and colleagues
  • Be Resourceful in solving problems
  • Be Curious in all aspects of your work
  • Be Welcoming and Inclusive
Work Environment
  • Research library/office setting
  • Will occasionally have to visit private homes and storage facilities
Physical Duties
  • Light lifting up to 15 lbs required
  • Sitting and standing for periods of time
  • Daily use of a computer
Pre-Placement Physical Required?
NoUnion/Non Union

FLSA Status


35 hours per week to be scheduled Monday-Saturday, 10am-6pm