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Preservation Librarian

The Virginia Commonwealth University Libraries, joining the Association of Research Libraries in 2018 as the first new U.S. member of ARL in over 15 years, invites applications and nominations for the position of Preservation Librarian. The Preservation Librarian provides strategic and innovative leadership and oversight of the VCU Libraries’ preservation program to ensure long-term access to research and special collections in all formats, leads in library-wide disaster preparedness, monitors environmental controls, and advocates for preserving university and cultural artifacts to the community. The successful candidate will join a culturally and academically diverse faculty of the highest caliber.

Located in culturally diverse, historic, and dynamic Richmond, convenient to the beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains and the recreation destinations of the Atlantic Ocean and the Chesapeake Bay, Virginia Commonwealth University is among the nation's leading research institutions. The VCU Libraries, one of Virginia’s outstanding research library systems, advances the University’s teaching, research, service, and patient care mission with comprehensive digital and print collections and nationally recognized innovation in its facilities, advanced media and technology resources for its community, and responsive, accessible information desk operations. In February 2018, the Association of College and Research Libraries recognized the VCU Libraries with the ACRL Excellence in Academic Libraries Award.


Reporting to the Associate University Librarian for Collections, Discovery, and Budget, the Preservation Librarian holds chief responsibility for developing and administering the VCU Libraries’ preservation program. Works with a staff of students, graduate assistants, and volunteers. Directs a comprehensive library preservation program, establishing and implementing goals, objectives, and plans. Stabilizes, repairs, and treats library materials to ensure their ability to endure circulation, storage, and handling. Creates and manages workflows, priorities, and treatment options, including outsourcing when necessary. Collaborates with others in emergency preparedness, response, and recovery. Monitors building environmental conditions; advises the library system on new space for collections storage, including environment and physical specifications. Advises staff on the proper handling and display of library materials. Conducts workshops and educational programs for the community. Documents procedures and metrics. Informs library of the state of the collection through regular reports and communications. Serves as the libraries preservation liaison to local and national cultural institutions and organizations. Develops and manages preservation grants. Works closely with digital archivists and others on VCU Libraries staff who are charged with digital preservation. Recruits and trains interns interested in the book arts and preservation. Follows standards and best practices of the American Library Association’s Preservation Policy, the American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works, and related standards and best practices for preservation. The Preservation Librarian is expected to be active professionally and to contribute to developments in the field. Faculty with the VCU Libraries are evaluated, and promoted, on the basis of job performance, scholarship, and professional development and service.


Required: ALA-accredited graduate degree or accredited graduate degree in another appropriate discipline. Demonstrated experience working in and fostering a diverse faculty, staff, and student environment or commitment to do so as a faculty member at VCU.

Preferred: At least two years experience in preservation at an academic research library. Although experience in certain areas is desirable, candidates with a strong foundation in preservation who demonstrate excellent promise and a passion for the field will be given serious consideration, including entry level and early career applicants. Master’s degree in conservation or advanced certificate in preservation administration or conservation. Knowledge of conservation theory, best practices, treatment procedures, and contemporary preservation issues in research libraries, as well as trends in preserving digital objects, media, and reformatting. Professional experience conserving paper-based materials in a research library. Manual dexterity with ability to perform common and advanced preservation work, such as repairing torn paper, sewing bindings, cleaning paper, recovering damaged material, creating housings, etc. Excellent leadership and collaboration skills with a strong service orientation and passion for educating others in the importance of conserving cultural artifacts. Demonstrated success in managing a preservation program. Ability to meet deadlines and manage competing priorities, to be flexible and adaptable in an evolving, fast-paced environment, and to work independently and in teams across organizational boundaries. Excellent verbal and written communication skills. Demonstrated skill with computer technology, scientific equipment, and other technology as it applies to the efficient management of all conservation operations. Experience at urban research institutions, HBCU or minority serving institutions is desired.

Virginia Commonwealth University and the VCU Libraries

As one of only 28 public universities with academic medical centers to be designated by the Carnegie Foundation as “Community Engaged” with “Very High Research Activity,” Virginia Commonwealth University is a major, urban public research university with national and international rankings in sponsored research, enrolling over 31,000 students across its campuses. Located in the heart of Richmond, VCU offers 41 doctoral, 72 masters, 3 professional, and 62 baccalaureate degree programs. Thirty-two of VCU's graduate and professional programs are ranked by U.S. News & World Report as among the best in the nation, with 20 programs ranking in the top 50; sculpture and nurse anesthesia are ranked number one. Over 3,200 faculty comprise the University's teaching force. Research strengths at the University include health and life sciences, education, engineering, social work, behavioral sciences, public affairs, advertising and design, and the fine arts. Sponsored research funding totals over $270 million, placing VCU among the top 100 research institutions in the United States. VCU’s strategic plan embraces an acceleration in the growth of VCU’s library system and includes a new Master Site Plan that envisions additions to both library facilities operated by the VCU Libraries. As part of that plan, a new library facility at James Branch Cabell Library on the university’s Monroe Park Campus opened in 2016 to national acclaim.

Libraries at Virginia Commonwealth University, including the James Branch Cabell Library on the Monroe Park Campus and the Tompkins-McCaw Library for the Health Sciences on the MCV Campus, employ over 66 professionals and 83 staff with annual expenditures exceeding $21 million. VCU also operates academic programs in Doha, Qatar, supported by a library there, and in various locations throughout the U.S. and the world. The VCU Libraries is a Resource Library in the National Network of Libraries of Medicine and a member of the Association of Research Libraries, the Association of Southeastern Research Libraries, Center for Research Libraries, Coalition for Networked Information, National Digital Stewardship Alliance, Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition, and the Virtual Library of Virginia (VIVA), a statewide networking consortium for shared access to electronic and print resources. The VCU Libraries has adopted Primo as its discovery layer and was one of the first libraries worldwide to have implemented Alma as its next generation cloud-based system for library management. CONTENTdm, Digital Commons, ArchivesSpace, and Omeka supplement the foundation of its system architecture to enhance access to its collections and services.

Salary: Salary commensurate with experience, not less than $50,000 annually. This is a full-time, nontenured faculty position. Normal faculty benefits apply, including 24 vacation days annually and choice of retirement and annuity plans. For more information about benefits, see VCU Human Resources' benefits guide.

For more information about the VCU Libraries, please visit our home page. The position will be available January 1, 2019. Review of applications will begin November 30, 2018 and will continue until the position is filled. Apply via VCUJobs. Complete the application and submit a cover letter, resume, and the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of three references.

Virginia Commonwealth University is an equal opportunity, affirmative action employer. Women, minorities, veterans, and persons with disabilities are encouraged to apply.



VCU Libraries

James Branch Cabell Library Monroe Park Campus
901 Park Ave., Box 842033
Richmond, VA 23284-2033
Toll-free: (844) 352-7399
(804) 828-1111
All Libraries
Tompkins-McCaw Library MCV Campus
509 N. 12th St., Box 980582
Richmond, VA 23298-0582
Toll-free: (844) 352-7399
(804) 828-0636

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