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Mount Vernon Ladies' Association -Special Collections Librarian


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Mount Vernon Ladies' Association
Special Collections Librarian


Opened in 2013, The Fred W. Smith National Library at Mount Vernon is a center for research and scholarship about George Washington and America’s Founding era. The library’s collection contains a wide and rich array of resources covering George Washington, Martha Washington, Mount Vernon, 18th century life, the American Revolution, the confederation years, slavery, domestic economies, the early republic, decorative arts, and historic preservation. The special collections include rare books, manuscripts, documents, and maps related to George Washington, his life, military career, presidency, and activities at Mount Vernon, as well as a substantial collection of Washington Family Papers. The library’s Archives maintain files on the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association, from its inception in the 1850s up to the present day, and are a valuable resource for the study of the history of women’s leadership, Historic Preservation, and Museum studies.

The Special Collections Librarian is the lead administrator, scholar, and curator of rare books, manuscripts, newspapers, maps, ephemera, and other rare printed and rare published materials held at the Fred W. Smith National Library for the Study of George Washington at Mount Vernon. Reporting to the Chief Librarian and Archivist, the Librarian will oversee an extraordinary collection of approximately 14,000 rare items related to the life and legacy of George and Martha Washington, the Washington and Custis families, Mount Vernon, Colonial America, 18th Century Life, Slavery, the American Revolutionary War, and the Early Republic.
Position Specific Responsibilities:
With a skilled level of knowledge and proficiency, the incumbent will effectively manage and perform the functions of Special Collections including, but not limited to, collection policy, acquisition, bibliographic description, processing, access, findability, reference, preservation, maintenance, assessment, research, installation, and outreach. The candidate will have a strong knowledge of rare book bibliography and the history of the book, with an understanding of paper, handwriting, publishing, book arts, and binding practices of the 18th century, and a demonstrated knowledge of George Washington and the history of the early American republic. 
The librarian will conduct effective provenance research and will select, recommend, and acquire materials within the collecting policy that will support the building of a premiere collection for the study of George Washington. The incumbent will manage the process for incoming items, including the approval for bequests, gifts, and loans, and is responsible for the bibliographic description, interpretation, identification, and organization of the collection. Through the creation of finding aids, guides, and online resources, the librarian will increase collection access, discovery, research, and findability. He or she will participate in policy updates, assessment strategy, and strategic planning for Special Collections.  
In support of Mount Vernon’s preservation mission, the Librarian will design, implement, and lead the preservation assessment program for all collections, including the monitoring of environmental controls, emergency preparedness, disaster response and recovery, and will act as the liaison for conservation treatment and security protocols.
The ideal candidate is both a leader and a life-long learner committed to development within the profession, and professional associations, who comprehends current and emerging trends in the field. Through research, broadcasting, publishing, public speaking, and outreach, he or she will strategically promote the collection to a wide and diverse audience, in addition to supporting the programmatic needs of the Washington Library and departments across the Estate.

Additional Responsibilities:
  • Reference and research services, including bibliographic instruction
  • Pages materials and monitors patrons in the rare books room
  • Manages rotation schedule, document viewings, and installations
  • Reviews auction and sales catalogues and the antiquarian market
  • Conducts item-level inventory and assessment reports
  • Maintains statistics and generates reports for patron and collection usage
  • Organizes and prepares approval items for Collection Committees
  • Maintain accession files and collection history
  • Prioritizes and implements digitization plan
  • Coordinates, trains, and supervises volunteers and one part-time, support personnel
  • Oversees loans, shipments, and courier
  • Promotes collection usage to a wide and diverse audience
  • Presents publicly and institutionally on Special Collections topics and current research
  • Assumes a lead role in emergency preparedness; disaster response and recovery
  • Leads collection maintenance, preservation and conservation initiatives
  • Works collaboratively and effectively with library colleagues, donors, and VIPs
  • Related duties as assigned
Minimum Qualifications:
  • MLS from an ALA accredited institution, required. A second Masters in History, preferred
  • A minimum of 4-6 years of successful work experience in the field 
  • Demonstrated competence in SC rare books and document handling, and safeguarding collections
  • Experience with reference and research services across multiple platforms
  • A record of scholarly engagement and professional service
  • Exceptional social, interpersonal, and written communication skills
  • Familiarity with Deed of Gifts and custody rights
  • Ability to foster a positive, convivial environment  
  • Evidence of professional initiative and flexibility
  • Commitment to precision, accuracy, organization, detail, and skills for analysis
Special Requirements:
  • Experience in special collections librarianship in a museum environment
  • Koha, CONTENTdm, ArchivesSpace
  • Enthusiasm for communicating with students, scholars, donors, collectors, and visitors
  • Experience using surveys and assessment tools for forming measurable goals and outcomes
  • Aptitude in creative design, instructional design, multimedia, web design, or graphic
Please apply on our website via the link below:
Mount Vernon is an Equal Opportunity Employer

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