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Job Title: Head of Special Collections and Archives

Job Description:

Head of Special Collections and Archives

Kelvin Smith Library

Case Western Reserve University


The Kelvin Smith Library (KSL) at Case Western Reserve University seeks imaginative, collaborative and dynamic candidates for the position of Head of Special Collections and Archives (HSCA). With visionary and strategic leadership the HSCA will lead the Scholarly Resources and Special Collections Team, which manages the library’s rare book, manuscript, and archival collections, and the analog and digital preservation services. Strategic opportunities include developing and implementing a new vision for special collections in the era of e-research and digital scholarship, and expanding campus engagement to encourage significantly increased use of the collections in teaching, learning and research.  Reporting to the Associate Director for Creation and Curation Services, the HSCA will take a leadership role in the oversight, curation and promotion of the University’s special collections and archives.


Case Western Reserve University

Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) is one of the most comprehensive research universities in the country. Located in Cleveland, the University was formed in 1967 through the federation of the Case Institute of Technology, founded in 1880, and Western Reserve College, founded in 1826. 

The University enrolls about 5,000 undergraduate students and 6,000 graduate and professional students across a wide range of disciplines.  The core clientele of KSL are the College of Arts and Sciences, the School of Engineering, and the Weatherhead School of Management.  KSL also serves the five additional schools of Dental Medicine, Law, Medicine, the Bolton School of Nursing, and the Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences. CWRU employs approximately 3,000 faculty members and over 3,000 staff members.

CWRU is distinguished by its strengths in research, service, and experiential learning. In FY 2012 research awards from all sources were $388 million; federal agencies accounted for over 80 percent of awards with the largest single source of support being the National Institutes of Health.

CWRU is located in University Circle, a 550-acre, park-like concentration of approximately 50 cultural, medical, educational, religious, and social service institutions located five miles east of downtown Cleveland. Cleveland offers a high quality of life and relatively low housing prices.

Barbara R. Snyder became president of Case Western Reserve University in 2007. Since her arrival the University has set all-time records for annual fundraising and total donors, doubled the number of undergraduate applicants, and significantly strengthened the academic qualifications of entering students. In 2011 the University launched Forward Thinking, the University's $1 billion capital campaign, with more than 60 percent of the goal raised during the quiet phase. The plan calls on the University to build on existing strengths through interdisciplinary partnerships.

The 2008-2013 University Strategic Plan includes four key goals supported by KSL:

  1. Advancing CWRU’s academic programs to increase the University’s impact;
  2. Developing a strong, vibrant, and diverse University community;
  3. Expanding and deepening the University’s relationship with the larger community; and
  4. Strengthening institutional resources to support the University’s mission.

The vision of KSL is to be “the information laboratory for knowledge collection, connection, creation and curation.” In support of the key goals above, KSL articulated a plan to enhance the impact its collection and staff have on the CWRU campus and beyond. Central to this is the reinvention of the library’s capabilities to provide access to and information about its collections and archives.

The University is finalizing a new strategic plan for 2013-2018, and KSL will update its strategic plan to align with the University’s new directions. The draft of the University strategic plan calls for undertaking renovation of KSL and expanding support for digital scholarship and providing library information content, services and resources commensurate with those of peer institutions.  


CWRU Libraries

The Kelvin Smith Library (KSL) is the main University Library, and its management encompasses the separately housed University Archives, the Kulas Music Library, and the Astronomy Library. KSL and the other three professional school libraries within the University have combined total holdings of 2.85 million volumes. KSL provides technological services such as the online public catalog, circulation system, and access to almost 500 databases and over 93,000 electronic journals to the whole campus.

The Freedman Center for Digital Scholarship is an endowed partnership between KSL, the CWRU College of Arts and Sciences, and increasingly with other campus partners. The Freedman Center serves as an all-campus, technology-rich space that offers technology and consultation services to support innovative research projects and presentations, often involving interdisciplinary and global collaborations. The strategic vision is for the Freedman Center to act as the hub and facilitator of campus services in support of digital scholarship.

Digital Case is CWRU's online source for curated digital content, including photographs and audio recordings from University Archives, digital copies of rare books and manuscripts in Special Collections, current research data, and the intellectual output of faculty. KSL manages Digital Case on behalf of the university and its content encompasses collections of the Western Reserve Historical Society. With Digital Case, KSL assumes an active role in the scholarly communication process, providing expertise in the form of a set of services (metadata creation, secure environment, preservation) for access and distribution of unique collective intellectual product.

The Special Collections Research Center houses rare and unique books, manuscripts, and other special collections.  The Center offers expert research services to faculty, staff, students and visiting researchers, including assistance with digital collections and images, and help locating primary source materials. Members of the staff work closely with faculty to develop courses and plan class meetings to take advantage of the rich resources offered by the Special Collections.

Some of the key collecting areas include the following:

  • The History of the Book collection contains a variety of materials: a cuneiform tablet, fragments of papyri, medieval manuscripts, and incunabula and books from such early printing houses as Aldus Manutius, Elzevier and Plantin. Two fine examples of a manuscript and an early printed book are an illuminated Book of Hours and the Nuremberg Chronicle. Books from private and fine press publishers include Strawberry Hill, Kelmscott, Doves, Roycrofters, Nonesuch, Hogarth, Cuala, Black Sun and Bits.
  • The Literature collections include: the Wilhelm Scherer collection of German literature, which includes first editions of German authors and early periodicals such as Der Deutsche Merkur; the Haskell collection of books with illustrations of Victorian literature illustrated by Cruikshank, Browne, Rackham and Tenniel; and the Bailey collection of first editions of titles by Henry David Thoreau. Collections of major authors of English, French, Spanish and American literature include titles from the 16th through 21st centuries, such as England’s Parnassus, Émile, Faust, Leaves of Grass, Cigarrales de Toledo and The Old Man and the Sea.
  • The History of Science collection includes early editions of major works such as De Fabrica by Vesalius and Opticks by Newton. Materials on the History of Technology can be found in the personal papers and scientific records of the Cleveland firms of Warner and Swasey and of Charles F. Brush (the predecessor to General Electric). In addition, the collections contain important early German, French, English and American journals. The Natural History collection includes 220 plates of Audubon’s Birds of America, Catesby’s The Natural History of Carolina, Florida and the Bahama Islands, and Travels of Lewis and Clark
  • The Fine Arts collections contain a number of notable examples of medieval music manuscripts and early printed works such as Musica Transalpina, L’Art du Facteur d’Orgues, Histoire de la Notation Musicale, and Orpheus Britannicus. In addition to important books of plates, woodcuts, engravings, and etchings,  the library holds original works of art by William Sommer, Frank Wilcox, Abraham Warshawsky, Malvina Hoffman, and William McVey. Fine arts materials exist within larger collections as well, such as the WPA prints in the Ernest J. Bohn Housing and Planning Library.
  • Collections of Local Interest include first editions by Hart Crane, African-American authors Charles Chesnutt and Langston Hughes, and books from the personal library of Henry Adams with a presentation copy of Mont Saint Michel and Chartres. In addition, Special Collections contains 80% of the books from the original collection of the Western Reserve College library of 1850, which were used to educate the doctors, lawyers, and theologians of the Western Reserve.
  • An unusually fine collection of manuscripts representing primarily British and American literary, political, and historical figures includes letters from Mms. de Sévigné, Voltaire, George III, Virginia Woolf, Sherwood Anderson, and John Steinbeck among others. In addition to the letter collections there are a Flemish Book of Hours from the fifteenth century and a Psalter. Complementing the individual nature of the letter collections are the archives and papers within special subject areas, which consist of personal, scientific and business records from notable 19th and 20th century artists, authors, scientists, industrial and civic leaders including Charles F. Brush, Ernest J. Bohn and Marcel Dick.
  • Corporate and local archives managed by Special Collections include the Ernst & Young Founders Archive, which documents the evolution of the accounting profession through the innovations of a global Big Four professional services firm and The Cleveland Play House Archives, which documents the development of the nation’s first regional theater company. In combination with the University Archives, these archives illuminate responses of long-lived business, arts, and educational institutions to the cultural and economic reshaping of a region.

The University Archives maintains the corporate memory of Case Western Reserve University by preserving and using University records from 1826 to the present. Materials in the Archives document the University's development and serve as a convenient source of reliable information about University programs, people, policies, and property. The combined archives of CWRU’s two predecessors, Case Institute of Technology and Western Reserve University, offer unique opportunities to compare and contrast reactions of two neighboring higher education institutions, who were simultaneously rivals and allies, to every major challenge and opportunity facing higher education since 1880.

In addition to fostering collaborative endeavors on the CWRU campus, KSL is a member of the Association of Research Libraries (ARL), OhioLINK, and CNI (the Coalition for Networked Information). KSL also partners with many of the world-class cultural organizations in Cleveland, such as the Cleveland Museum of Art, the Western Reserve Historical Society, the Cleveland Botanical Garden, and the Cleveland Museum of Natural History.

Under the leadership of Associate Provost and University Librarian Arnold Hirshon, KSL has been embarking on a bold review of its role as a modern research library and is expanding its reach with innovative services that engage students and faculty and increase global access to KSL’s collections and scholarly work.


The Position and Opportunities

Reporting to the Associate Director for Creation and Curation, the Head of Special Collections and Archives will take a leadership role in the effective management and increased use of the rare book and manuscript collections, university and general archives and preservation operations.

 As a key part of the reinvention occurring within KSL, the HSCA will be responsible for articulating a fresh focus for the collections and archives. Working with other individuals and teams at KSL, the HSCA will have the opportunity to focus the collection policy and increase the accessibility of the library’s resources to expand their use in teaching and research. This will entail working collaboratively with the leaders of the library’s research services, digital learning and scholarship and acquisitions and metadata services to develop and implement policies and procedures that enhance the growth of and access to the special collections.

Working closely with the Director of Library Development in external advancement efforts and advising the University Librarian on the acceptance of special gift collections, the HSCA will also have the opportunity to contribute to the continued growth of the special collections.

The HSCA supervises a staff of full and part-time employees including 2.5 FTE librarians, 2 archivists, the library preservation officer, the preservation specialist, and student assistants.



The new HSCA will be an outgoing and persuasive, service-oriented individual who can engage effectively with faculty and donors, and who possesses a clear awareness of current relevant best practices and standards. In addition to having a record of success growing and promoting large and diverse collections, the successful candidate will have many of the following experiences and characteristics:

  • The ability to strategically and creatively expand the collections;
  • A sound knowledge of digitization and preservation practices relevant to cultivating and managing special collections and archives;
  • Excellent analytical, communication and interpersonal skills leading to a commitment to exceptional user services and a collaborative management style;
  • Demonstrated record of successful fundraising, donor development and/or grant writing;
  • Experience deploying social media and other creative technologies to increase the use of special collections;
  • Experience supervising the mounting of exhibits and conducting special events programming; and
  • Evidence of relevant publications, presentations, and professional service.

A Master's degree in Library/Information Science or an advanced degree in a related discipline, and significant experience working with rare books, special collections and/or archives in a University setting are required. Candidates must have qualifications consistent with appointment at the level of Librarian III or IV.


Please send applications and nominations to:

Andrew Evans or Kristine O’Brien

Brill Neumann Associates



In employment, as in education, CWRU is committed to Equal Opportunity and Diversity.  Women, veterans, members of underrepresented minority groups, and individuals with disabilities are encouraged to apply. CWRU provides reasonable accommodations to applicants with disabilities. Applicants requiring a reasonable accommodation for any part of the application and hiring process should contact the Office of Inclusion, Diversity and Equal Opportunity at 216-368-8877 to request a reasonable accommodation. Determinations as to granting reasonable accommodations for any applicant will be made on on a case-by-case basis.

About Us FAQ

What and Where is Siegal?

The notation "Siegal" in the online catalog refers to the Aaron Garber Library of the Siegal College of Judaic Studies at 26500 Shaker Blvd. Cleveland OH 44122. The Aaron Garber Library is the academic library of the College and the central library of the Cleveland Jewish community. It includes 30,000 volumes, plus periodicals, language tapes, music and text CDs in English, Hebrew and Yiddish. The Library's electronic catalog is part of the online library system managed by Case Western Reserve University, and is included in OhioLINK, the statewide electronic academic catalog system. Online borrowing privileges are reserved for students registered at Siegal College. Community members are welcome to browse the catalog, visit the Garber Library and borrow materials.

For further information, contact by email, or call 216-464-4050 x131 or 132.

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Kelvin Smith Library | 11055 Euclid Avenue | Cleveland, OH 44106-7151 | 216-368-3506