• Associate Director, Collections and Research Services (Chief Curator)

    Location US-NY-Manhattan
    Job ID
    # of Openings Remaining
    SCD Schomburg Administration
  • Overview

    The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture seeks an innovative, strategic, visionary, seasoned, and collaborative leader for the position of Associate Director for Collections and Research Services. This position is a key member of the Center’s management team, overseeing the five public service divisions of the Schomburg Center: Manuscripts, Archives and Rare Books; Photographs and Prints; Art and Artifacts; Moving Image and Recorded Sound; and the Jean Blackwell Hutson Research and Reference Division. As “chief curator,” the role reports to the Executive Director and heads collections processing, acquisitions, and curatorial processes, collaborates on the timely processing of materials, and strategizes about access, collection development, policy and the future direction of the Schomburg Center. Responsible for ensuring the safety of materials and the timely processing of an unparalleled array of papers, archives, and books, including recent acquisitions like the collections of James Baldwin, Sonny Rollins, Ruby Dee and Ossie Davis, Ann Petry, and Malcolm X.


    Founded in 1925 and named a National Historic Landmark in 2017, the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture is the world’s leading cultural institutions devoted to the collection, preservation, and interpretation of materials focused on African American, African, and African Diasporan experiences, featuring diverse programming and a collection of over 11 million items that illuminates the richness of global Black history and culture. A research library of The New York Public Library and seeded by the collection of Arturo Alfonso Schomburg over 90 years ago, the Schomburg Center provides free access to materials documenting Black life locally, nationally, and internationally.

    Principal Responsibilities

    Reporting to the Executive Director of the Schomburg Center, this position functions as chief curator whose core responsibilities will be to:

    • Promote scholarly, educational, and general use of the collections in collaboration with  Schomburg and NYPL departments, including Education, Public Programs, Exhibitions, Communications, the Scholars’ Center fellowship program, the Lapidus Center for the Historical Analysis of Transatlantic Slavery, and the Digital team
    • Enrich the user experience by developing and promoting the cross-departmental and cross-institutional collaboration needed to provide a seamless and successful collections experience
    • Create, monitor, and maintain an overall collection development strategy as well as a collection management strategy with the goal of improving discoverability and access to collections
    • Provide leadership and direction to a team of Curators and the Associate Chief Librarian of the General Research & Reference Division in the day-to-day management of their divisions to execute the strategic priorities of NYPL, including increased access and discoverability of special collections, digitization of audio and moving image material,  processing of archives and general collections, and a more robust online collections presence
    • Recruit, motivate, mentor, and retain a highly-skilled professional staff
    • Administer the acquisitions budget devoted to special collections, as well as identify general and specific funding needs for special collection acquisitions
    • Cultivate prospective collection donors and manage existing ones, consistent with collection development strategies
    • Pursue grant funding for processing and digitization in coordination with NYPL’s Development team
    • Communicate regularly and substantively with Library administrators, curators, librarians, researchers, and user groups about shaping the Library’s collections, as well as in collaboration with the leadership of NYPL’s Special Collections and Collection Development departments
    • Engage with current issues and trends regarding all aspects of scholarly communication, including advising on publishing and research trends, open access initiatives, copyright, and information technologies that affect access and preservation of scholarly information
    • Other duties and special projects as assigned

    Required Education & Experience

    • Master’s  degree in Library Science or comparable higher degree with five to seven years of experience in a research library
    • Five years of experience in managing library professionals
    • At least five years of increasingly responsible professional experience in archives and special collections

    Minimum Qualifications

    • Subject area expertise or educational background in any of the following: African American History/Studies/Literature, Africana Studies, or cultural studies
    • Knowledge of current and evolving collection development and management strategies, including resource selection and working with vendors and donors
    • Deep understanding of and commitment to the mission of a public library and the particular role that a research collection plays in service of that public mission
    • Demonstrated ability to engage curators, librarians, staff, and external constituencies in the collaborative planning, coordination, and execution of collection strategies
    • Demonstrated ability to establish and maintain close and productive working relationships with colleagues and constituents in an environment where consultation, flexibility, collaboration, and cooperation are essential
    • Knowledge of current trends and issues in scholarly communication, including copyright, open access, digital acquisitions, and data sharing
    • Strong project management skills
    • Excellent interpersonal, written, and oral communication skills
    • Strong record of scholarly engagement and professional service, including peer-reviewed publications and/or presentations at national conferences, and service on regional and/or national-level organizations

    Preferred Qualifications

    • Proven experience with or a desire to engage in development, fundraising, and public engagement activities

    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

    Work Environment

    • Core work will take place in the Schomburg Center but occasional travel to one or more Library facilities may be necessary
    • Other duties require site visits to inspect collections which may be at donor’s home or in storage facilities
    • Exposure to dust

    Physical Duties

    • Lifting of heavy boxes up to 30 lbs.

    Union / Non Union

    Non Union


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