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Director of The Bancroft Library and Associate University Librarian for Special Collections – Library 1105 views

The University of California, Berkeley invites both nominations and applications for the position of Director of The Bancroft Library and Associate University Librarian (AUL) for Special Collections. Bancroft’s world-renowned special collections are among the largest and most actively used in the nation, providing a tremendous opportunity for the right visionary leader. The Director and AUL will assume a newly reimagined role, which unites the direction of major research and collecting institutions with strategic, innovative, and collaborative leadership for all special collections and archives within the University Library.The University Library at Berkeley comprises 24 general and subject libraries, with shared service units that support business functions, such as finance and development, and content functions, such as digitization and communications. Within the organization, The Bancroft Library is the principal special collections library, with other significant collections of rare and archival materials held in the Anthropology, Bioscience, East Asian, Environmental Design, and Music libraries. The Director and AUL will bring experience and energy to both the direct leadership and management of The Bancroft Library and the strategic and coordinated development and management of the Library’s special collections, in collaboration with the AUL for Scholarly Resources and the Director of the East Asian Library. The Director and AUL will join the Library’s executive leadership team, working in close partnership with the leaders of other Library units, and report to the University Librarian.BERKELEY’S SPECIAL COLLECTIONS

The Bancroft Library welcomes patrons from Berkeley and beyond, serving as one of the most heavily used academic rare book and special collections libraries in the country. Bancroft staff annually teaches sessions for about 3,000 students, supports about 5,000 patrons in its reading rooms, and serves millions of visitors online. Founded in 1905, Bancroft’s core holdings include the Bancroft Collection of Western North America, Mexico, and Central America, the Rare Books Collection, the History of Science and Technology Program, and the University Archives. Over the past 50 years, Bancroft’s academic research groups, including the Mark Twain Papers & Project, the Oral History Center, and the Center for the Tebtunis Papyri, have earned the Library additional international acclaim.

The Bancroft Library continues to vigorously build its physical collections, spending about $1.5 million annually on new acquisitions and receiving gifts-in-kind of comparable value. The Library stewards nearly 400 million physical items (volumes, archival manuscripts, and pictorial items, maps, microforms, etc.) and a growing collection of digital materials. In addition to its stewardship of analog holdings, the Library is building a robust program for securing and processing born-digital archives. With about 60 career staff/library professionals and many student employees, Bancroft supports world-class research both directly in its own units and through engagement and collaboration with scholars at Berkeley and across the globe.

The University Library includes other libraries with significant special collections, including the Anthropology Library, the Bioscience, Natural Resources & Public Health Library, the C. V. Starr East Asian Library, the Environmental Design Library, and the Jean Gray Hargrove Music Library. The Music Library, for example, contains one of the most extensive U.S. collections of dramatic music, along with many other treasures. The East Asian Library holds over 100,000 rare items, including over 2,700 Chinese rubbings of reliefs and engravings, and the Fonoroff Collection for Chinese Film Studies, with over 70,000 periodicals, posters, photographs, and ephemera documenting the development of the film and entertainment industry of greater China. The special collection’s holdings of these libraries are diverse and unique, adding to the rich collections available to Berkeley faculty and students for research, teaching, and learning.

Over the past 25 years, the University Library has digitized significant portions of its special collections, building one of the largest digital special collections in the University of California system.


The University Library is looking for a leader with proven experience, bold ideas, and the confidence and political acumen to execute them. With crucial responsibility for fundraising and for interacting with scholars at Berkeley and internationally, this leader should be skillful at engaging in passionate content discourse with researchers, and preferably bring experience in one of Bancroft’s major collecting areas. With both University Library-wide responsibilities and leadership of one constituent library, the Director and AUL will be an integral member of a tightly integrated, collaborative team that collectively supports the University Library’s strategic vision (see: The Director and AUL should be able to foster a culture of innovation, engagement, and collaboration, and promote continuous professional growth and learning at all staff levels.

The five AULs, the Director of the East Asian Library, the Director of Communications, and the Executive Director of Development report to the University Librarian; collectively these nine professionals constitute the Library Cabinet. This team works closely to set strategic directions and policies for the entire Library. They collaborate in an intensely matrix-organized institution, providing each other with partnership and support services. The special collections outside of Bancroft, for example, will benefit from coherent, coordinated practices in collection development, provenance, metadata creation, and ethical access led by this Director and AUL. Similarly, among other examples, Bancroft benefits from the fundraising research, cultivation, and stewardship services provided by the Library’s development office.

Director of The Bancroft Library

This position’s primary responsibility is to serve as the Director of The Bancroft Library. Bancroft’s leadership team includes the Director; a Deputy Director, who leads the curatorial staff and oversees public access services and operations; and an Assistant Director, who leads the technical services operation. The Director of The Bancroft Library also leads the directors of the three academic research groups and is the principal Bancroft liaison to the Berkeley faculty. Bancroft’s leadership team, together with other senior members of the Bancroft staff and in collaboration with other University Library leaders, has primary responsibility for collection development, research and academic engagement, technical services, public access services, and outreach and fundraising. The Director leads fundraising for Bancroft in collaboration with the University Librarian and the Executive Director of Development. The Director engages actively with scholars and members of the international antiquarian book and manuscript trade, as well as the wider scholarly community. The Director has overall responsibility for all Bancroft activity, while other members of Bancroft’s leadership team oversee much of the day-to-day operations.

The Director is responsible for leading Bancroft consistent with the Library’s core principles and values. For example, the Director should promote a user-centered approach to the acquisition, processing, and accessibility of special collections in analog and digital formats. The Director will advance diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging — both within The Bancroft Library and, through its user services, beyond.

The Director is responsible for managing The Bancroft Library’s annual budget of about $8 million (including substantial gift, endowment, and grant funds), as well as facilities and personnel. As do the directors of all constituent libraries that compose the University Library, the Director of The Bancroft Library collaborates closely with the leaders who have Library-wide responsibilities for communications, digital services, facilities, finance, fundraising, human resources, information technology, legal affairs, and security. The Director also collaborates with the leaders of special collections at the other University of California campuses and is an active participant in the national community of leaders of the most prominent academic special collections libraries.

Associate University Librarian for Special Collections

The AUL for Special Collections is a new role, designed to provide overall leadership for the rare and archival materials we consider special collections at the University Library. This AUL will work with the leaders of other units holding special collections to provide coordinated, forward-looking strategies and practices for the development, management, and use of Berkeley’s extraordinary collections. Together they will innovate and implement process efficiencies, reducing duplication and increasing consistency to improve the resource-finding and use experiences of scholars. During an era of limited budget growth, despite significant fundraising success, close collaboration and mutual support across the University Library have enabled the organization to continuously improve services for scholars.

Selected strategic highlights

Enhanced access to and use of the University Library’s special collections is a top strategic priority. Bancroft and the other University Library special collections have been leaders in enhancing access to archival treasures in the age of digitized and networked information. Continuing digitization of its enormous special collections is a primary focus of the University Library’s Digital Lifecycle Program, which currently adds about 1.5 million newly digitized files to its online collections annually. An important and exciting priority for this position is to work closely with the AUL for Digital Initiatives and Information Technology to scale up this program, including developing and adopting expanded selection, curation, and processing workflows, as well as exploring new methods and tools for increasing the computational usability of digitized collections in research and teaching.

As with many cultural heritage and information resource organizations in higher education, Bancroft, and other University Library, special collections are simultaneously blessed by growing demand for existing and new services and challenged by declining public investment in their operations. Fortunately, Bancroft is supported with the advice and philanthropy of the external nonprofit Friends of The Bancroft Library, a California nonprofit public benefit corporation, as well as strong philanthropic support from many loyal donors. The University Library has recently invested in expanding its fundraising team, with notable success, and the groundwork has been laid for even more growth in the coming years. It is crucial that the Director and AUL have a demonstrated talent or potential for fundraising and supporting initiatives through grants.

Nature of appointment

This is an academic leadership position. Qualified candidates may simultaneously hold a faculty position at the University of California, Berkeley. External candidates who wish a joint faculty appointment will need to seek such a position with a relevant department. The University Library will facilitate consideration, but is not the appointing unit and cannot guarantee such a position will be made available. The position will be for 75 percent or 100 percent effort, to be agreed upon with the preferred candidate, depending on faculty status and preference for teaching duties (through an academic department).


The University of California, Berkeley, is one of the world’s most iconic teaching and research institutions. Since 1868, Berkeley has fueled a perpetual renaissance, generating unparalleled intellectual, economic, and social value in California, the United States, and the world. Berkeley’s culture of openness, freedom, and acceptance — academic and artistic, political and cultural — makes it a very special place for students, faculty, and staff. Berkeley is committed to hiring and developing staff who want to work in a high-performing culture that supports the outstanding work of our faculty and students. Candidates are encouraged to read more about the UC Berkeley culture at
In a highly-diverse and intellectually-rich environment, Berkeley serves a campus community of over 30,000 undergraduate students, 11,000 graduate students, and 1,500 faculty. The University Library also serves the people of California and the world through lending to over 35 countries a year and making available a rapidly-growing archive of digitized special collections materials.

The University Library comprises 24 campus libraries, with a collection of over 13 million circulating volumes, including almost 1.5 million e-books, and subscriptions to over 130,000 journals and periodicals. They manage close to 10 million files (200 TB) in our digital holdings of special collections materials and have contributed over 3 million digitized books from our circulating collections to HathiTrust. The University Library actively partners with the other nine UC campuses and the systemwide California Digital Library. The Library has a current operating budget of about $62 million with approximately 325 full-time employees and over 600 student employees each year.

Minimum basic qualification at the time of application:

Advanced degree (For example, Ph.D. or Masters or equivalent international degree)

Preferred qualifications: Must be met by start date on the job

The Director of The Bancroft Library and AUL for Special Collections should be a scholar who has substantial experience engaging in research using special collections materials, particularly in an area or areas of special strength for Bancroft. The successful candidate might have a background as a faculty member or professional librarian or archivist. Preferred candidates will have experience leading an academic unit (e.g., as academic department chair, dean, academic library, or archives director or associate director), including supervising and/or directing academic and professional staff. The Library at the University of California, Berkeley is committed to the support and encouragement of a multicultural environment and seeks candidates who can make positive and imaginative contributions in a context of ethnic and cultural diversity. Also preferred are experience and proven success with fundraising and grant writing.

Recruitment information:

This recruitment will remain open until filled. The identity of finalists will be public, and each will be expected to make a presentation in a public setting.

Submit applications online at
Berkeley has retained Isaacson, Miller, a higher education executive search firm, to assist in this search.

Inquiries, nominations, and other application documents should be sent via the Isaacson, Miller website for the search:
Electronic submission of materials is required.

The university has an excellent retirement system and sponsors a variety of group health, dental, vision, and life insurance plans in addition to other benefits.

The University of California is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, age, or protected veteran status. For the complete University of California nondiscrimination and affirmative action policy see:

This is a designated position requiring fingerprinting and a background check due to the nature of the job responsibilities. Berkeley does hire people with conviction histories and reviews information received in the context of the job responsibilities. The university reserves the right to make employment contingent upon the successful completion of the background check.

University Library contact:

Susan Swarts, Associate University Librarian for Administration and Organizational Effectiveness,

Immaculate Adesida, HR Generalist –


Document requirements

  • Curriculum Vitae – Your most recently updated C.V.
  • Cover Letter
  • Statement of Research (Optional)
  • Statement of Teaching (Optional)
  • Statement on Contributions to Advancing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion – Statement on your contributions to diversity, equity, and inclusion, including information about your understanding of these topics, your record of activities to date, and your specific plans and goals for advancing equity and inclusion if hired at Berkeley (for additional information go to
  • Misc / Additional (Optional)
Reference requirements
  • 3-5 letters of reference required

Job location

Berkeley, CA
Hiring range: Associate University Librarian
Salary Range: Salary commensurate with experience and qualifications
Percentage Time: 75 – 100% appointment, depending on Faculty status and Teaching preferences.

Next review date: Friday, Apr 30, 2021, at 11:59 pm (Pacific Time)
Apply by this date to ensure full consideration by the committee.

Final date: Monday, May 31, 2021, at 11:59 pm (Pacific Time)
Applications will continue to be accepted until this date, but those received after the review date will only be considered if the position has not yet been filled.

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