Special Collections Curator

at University of Kansas (view profile)
Published May 19, 2022
Location Lawrence, Kansas
Category Academic  
Job Type Full-time  
Apply Here https://employment.ku.edu/special-collections-curator/22029br
Minimum Compensation in Local Currency $54,000
Hourly or Salary? Salary


The University of Kansas Libraries seeks a curious, creative, and collaborative curator to share in the management, development, and promotion of the university's rare books and manuscript holdings in the Kenneth Spencer Research Library. The special collections curator will share in collection development (by purchase and donation); instruction for KU classes, K-12 students, community groups, and other types of outreach; reference service; and collaborations to advance digitization, cataloging, and other initiatives to enhance discovery of and access to Spencer’s collections. The special collections curator will report to the director of the Spencer Research Library and will work closely with another special collections curator and colleagues across Spencer and the larger KU library system.

Applicants should be interested in building diverse collections and advancing diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging by engaging in instruction and outreach that includes audiences and materials that have been traditionally underserved by special collections libraries and archives. We are committed to supporting the curator with relevant professional development and training.

We are particularly eager to hear from candidates who have demonstrated knowledge of early printing and the history of the book, successful examples of working with rare book dealers and or donors to acquire material in a special collections environment, and demonstrated experience conducting outreach and instruction with special collections materials.

KU’s special collections consist of manuscripts and rare books, including about 250,00 volumes printed since the mid-15th century and about 500,000 manuscripts dating from Antiquity to the present. Collection strengths include the history of science, botany, ornithology, Irish history and literature, Renaissance and early modern continental printed books, 18th century imprints, Latin America, the history of education, maps and travel, and science fiction.
The University of Kansas Libraries support a safe and inclusive environment for all members of our communities at KU. We are committed to building a diverse and pluralistic workforce and strongly encourage applications from diverse candidates. This position will demonstrate a commitment to advancing diversity efforts in the libraries and contributes to an inclusive environment.

This is a full-time, 12-month, tenure-track faculty position. Rank considerations are based on professional performance, research, and service experience sufficient to qualify for appointment at the rank of Assistant Librarian or Associate Librarian.

See the Libraries Criteria for Academic Ranks document: http://policy.ku.edu/libraries/criteria-academic-ranks-library-faculty

Additional information about the Libraries promotion and tenure procedures can be found at the following website: http://policy.ku.edu/libraries/promotion-and-tenure-procedures-faculty-university-kansas-libraries

Job Description


  • Shares responsibility for collection planning, management, and development, including working with donors, dealers, other library specialists, and faculty to acquire unique and distinctive items and collections.
  • Partners with library and university colleagues to integrate original resources and perspectives from special collections into classes across the KU curriculum, including instruction on primary source literacy and the history of the book.
  • Works collaboratively with colleagues in processing and conservation to ensure the preservation and accessibility of collections.
  • Shares in providing scheduled reference assistance to students, faculty, and the public, and consults on special collections reference requests.
  • Works collaboratively with colleagues across the Libraries to promote the collections through digital initiatives, social media, community events, K-12 outreach, tours, and other means.


  • Contributes to the profession’s collective knowledge by engaging in scholarly research activity.
  • Research may involve the publication of articles, books, book reviews, grant-supported inquiry, or editorial work.


  • Engages in service to the Libraries, the University and to professional organizations by participating in committee work, projects, and other contributory achievements.

Required Qualifications

  • ALA-accredited Master's degree at time of hire.
  • Six (6) months experience in an academic or research library special collections setting.

Preferred Qualifications

  • Working knowledge of Latin or another western European language.
    Additional advanced degree in a relevant subject area.