Director of Special Collections and College Archives, Occidental College, Los Angeles

Summary of Duties, Responsibilities, and Goals

Occidental College is a highly selective and diverse liberal arts college located in the global metropolis of Los Angeles. Founded in 1887, it is one of the oldest liberal arts colleges on the West Coast. Occidental’s interdisciplinary focus encourages a hands-on approach to learning and includes one of the country’s best undergraduate research programs. Faculty members work closely with the Library’s Special Collections and College Archives (SCCA) staff to support their teaching and research. 1,850 students from 45 states and 24 countries have compiled an impressive record of winning national awards. Our central location within the city ensures easy access to top research institutions, museums, and cultural heritage centers, including the Academy of Motion Pictures, Arts, and Sciences, the Autry Museum of the American West, Caltech, the Getty Research Institute, the Huntington Library, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, UCLA, and USC.

The Library is seeking an innovative and energetic Director to lead our SCCA division as we work collaboratively to develop, deliver, and support scholarly information resources and digital technologies designed to optimize access to them. Reporting to the College Librarian, the Director of SCCA will join the Library Leadership Team, oversee and manage the division’s budget, endowment funds, and operations, and lead a team of three: The Special Collections Instruction and Research Librarian; the Coordinator of Book Arts and Print Cultures; and the Digitization Specialist. The incumbent will plan, organize, implement, and assess instruction utilizing primary sources, exhibitions, programs, and community outreach. The Director will collaborate with faculty, students, and staff colleagues to develop an exciting new vision for the future of the division. They will also interact closely with the College Librarian and colleagues in Institutional Advancement to develop fundraising strategies and proposals to support SCCA’s exciting new initiatives.

The Occidental College Library has a long history of providing faculty, students, staff and other researchers with distinguished special collections. Exposure to primary source materials is a key component of a liberal arts education. The Library also has a strong tradition and excellent reputation in the Book Arts and History of Print Cultures. SCCA’s resources include analog materials in many media and most formats plus born digital and digitized materials. Its strengths include cultural, visual, and print history; Western Americana; Latin American Studies; Northeast Los Angeles (NELA) history; mid-20th-Century political and social movements; and the extensive institutional archives of the College, dating back to its founding. SCCA also oversees the College’s eclectic art collection, consisting of more than 3,000 items.

The incumbent will work closely with faculty, staff, students, and community partners to ensure broad diversity and inclusivity within the collections, representing a multiplicity of experiences and viewpoints. Oxy is engaging in collaborative and disaggregated community archive projects to provide enhanced access to hidden collections. Examples include supporting and furthering the NELA history archiving and oral history projects; the Black Alumni Organization’s initiative to interrogate and expand the College Archives relating to African American experiences at Oxy; and the United American Indian Involvement institutional photo archiving project. The Director will also have the opportunity to expand SCCA’s coverage of the history of print cultures by developing collections and classes covering both international and local immigrant and ethnic communities’ engagement.

The Director will oversee the acquisition, security, preservation, conservation, cataloging, ongoing care and curation, and sustainability of analog and digital resources. Earlier this year, Oxy implemented the Ex Libris Alma/Primo library services platform. This fall we will be bringing online Alma Digital. Working closely with other members of the Library Leadership Team, the Director will play a key role in organizing and managing digitization projects and planning for the future of Oxy’s digital archive, focusing on providing open and equitable access to a broad array of primary sources.

Essential Duties

  • Furthers the College’s and Library’s deep commitment to equity and justice by developing diverse and inclusive collections and providing equitable access to scholarly information resources.
  • Develops an exciting new vision for SCCA.
  • Oversees and manages the SCCA’s budget, staffing, and operations. Serves as the fund manager for SCCA endowments.
  • Supervises three staff members: The Special Collections Instruction and Research Librarian; the Coordinator of Book Arts and Print Cultures; and the Digitization Specialist. Hires, trains, and supervises SCCA’s Student Assistants and interns.
  • Develops cultural competencies in staff and creates policies to provide an inclusive and equitable research environment where all potential users see their information needs met. Promotes active engagement with historical records to overcome biases inherent in archival practices.
  • Oversees the acquisition, security, preservation, conservation, cataloging, ongoing care and curation, and sustainability of SCCA’s analog and digital resources.
  • Plans, organizes, implements, and assesses instruction utilizing primary sources, exhibitions, programs, and community outreach.
  • Works closely with the College Librarian and Institutional Advancement to develop fundraising strategies to support SCCA’s initiatives, submit grant applications, and manage donor relations.
  • Ensures broad diversity and inclusivity within the collections, representing a multiplicity of experiences and viewpoints.
  • Engages and leads SCCA in collaborative and disaggregated community archiving projects to provide enhanced access to hidden collections.
  • Organizes and manages SCCA digitization projects. Plans for the future of Oxy’s Digital Archive.
  • Provides reference and research support to faculty, students, staff, community partners, and other researchers.
  • Teaches course-integrated instruction to college classes and collaborates with faculty members on integrating use of primary sources in the curriculum.
  • Provides guidance to College departments for transferring records intended for retention to the College Archives.
  • Supports requests from College departments for archival materials to support events, anniversaries, celebrations, communications, publicity, and other purposes.
  • Participates in regional and national library and/or archival professional associations, such as, CARL, RBMS, SAA, and SCA, through office holding, committee work, or presentations.



  • MLIS from an ALA accredited program or its equivalent in work experience, education, and training.
  • Three years of professional experience working with special collections and archives in an academic or research library.
  • An exciting vision for the role of Special Collections in a liberal arts curriculum.
  • Strong support for the values of a residential liberal arts education and determination to strengthen the academic community by providing equitable access to a rich portfolio of primary sources designed to advance teaching, learning, and research.
  • Thorough working knowledge of academic library practices and methods for acquiring, organizing, cataloging, describing, preserving, conserving, accessing, digitizing, sustaining, and deaccessioning special collections and experience with library services platforms, data structures and standards, and the options available for delivering special collections materials to users.
  • Commitment to supporting teaching, learning, and research by helping to develop scholarly information resources through open access, OER, digital archives, and institutional repositories.
  • Excellent listening, spoken, and written communication skills. Ability to interact successfully with students, faculty, staff, consortial and other professional colleagues, donors, vendors, and off-campus community constituencies.
  • Energetic and innovative team leader, member, and colleague. Team player who displays flexibility for working within a constantly evolving organization where responsibilities are shared across divisions and between individuals.


  • Second subject master’s degree
  • Experience with the Ex Libris Alma/Primo library services platform.
  • Exposure to digital archiving and scholarship technologies.
  • Experience with supervising staff members.

Application Instructions

Please submit a resume, cover letter, and names and contact information for three references (including a present or former supervisor) to explaining where you learned of this opportunity, why you are attracted to the job, and how your qualifications meet the requirements of the position.

The position will start after January 2022. First consideration will be given to candidates applying by December 10, 2021.

Additional Information:

Occidental is an Equal Opportunity Employer and does not unlawfully discriminate against employees or applicants on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, pregnancy, breastfeeding or related medical condition, national origin, ancestry, citizenship, age, marital status, physical disability, mental disability, medical condition, genetic characteristic or information, military and veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by state or federal law. Occidental is strongly committed to increasing the diversity of the campus community and the curriculum, and to fostering an inclusive, equitable, and just environment within which students, staff, administrators, and faculty thrive. Candidates who can contribute to this goal through their work are encouraged to identify their strengths and experiences in this area. Individuals advancing the College’s strategic equity and justice goals and those from groups that are underrepresented in the field are particularly encouraged to apply.

Salary is commensurate with experience and qualifications. A comprehensive benefits package is available that includes: excellent health, dental, life, and retirement benefits; tuition benefits for the employee, spouse, domestic partner, and dependents; additional extras including use of gym facilities and the College Library. For a detailed description of benefits, please visit

All qualified applicants will be considered for employment, including those with criminal histories, in a manner consistent with the requirements of applicable state and local laws, including the City of Los Angeles’ Fair Chance Initiative for Hiring Ordinance. Occidental College is committed to working with and providing reasonable accommodations to applicants with qualifying disabilities. If you need a reasonable accommodation because of a disability for any part of the application or employment process, please contact Human Resources (

As a condition of hire for a staff position and for appointment to a faculty position, Occidental College requires that all candidates who have received a conditional offer of employment complete an application form (if they have not already done so) and consent to a background check. Satisfactory completion of a background check, along with pre-employment verifications and references are required as a condition of employment, but only as permitted by federal, state, and local law, including the City of Los Angeles Fair Chance Initiative for Hiring Ordinance.

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