Rare Books Librarian, UC Berkeley Bancroft Library


Rare Books Librarian
The Bancroft Library
Hiring range: Associate Librarian IV – Librarian IV
$58,188 – 91,140 per annum, based on qualifications
This is a full-time appointment available starting November 2013.

The Bancroft Library of the University of California, Berkeley, seeks a Rare Books Librarian to manage its rare books and literary manuscript collections. The Rare Books Librarian serves as the Bancroft liaison to faculty and students conducting research in a variety of fields (including, among others, European languages and literatures, medieval and early modern studies, history, history of the book, history of science) and supports this campus community through specialized reference service and instructional programs. The Rare Books Librarian also contributes to the general reference service provided in Bancroft.


The UC Berkeley Library is an internationally renowned research and teaching facility at one of the nation’s premier public universities. In a highly diverse and intellectually rich environment, Berkeley serves a campus community of 25,500 undergraduate students, 10,300 graduate students, and 1,500 faculty. The Library comprises 20 campus libraries – including the Doe/Moffitt Libraries, The Bancroft Library, the C. V. Starr East Asian Library and subject specialty libraries. With a collection of more than 11 million volumes and a collections budget of over $15 million, the Library offers extensive collections in all formats and robust services to connect users with those collections and build their related research skills.

The Bancroft Library is one of the largest and most heavily used libraries of rare materials in the West. Its holdings include more than 600,000 volumes; 60,000,000 manuscripts (60,000 linear feet); 8,200,000 photographs and other pictorial materials; 86,000 microforms; 300,000 digital images; and 35,000 maps, as well as numerous other categories of unique material. The two largest collections are the Bancroft Collection of Western and Latin Americana, and the Rare Books Collection. The latter comprises approximately 100,000 volumes ranging from a substantial collection of Egyptian papyri from as early as 2000 B.C. through medieval and early modern manuscripts and books (including more than four hundred incunabula) to important holdings in more recent periods of European, English, and American culture in such diverse fields as modern fine typography, contemporary poetry (concentrating on California poets), and certain major modern British and American authors. Bancroft is also home to four research groups: the Regional Oral History Office; the Mark Twain Papers; the Center for the Tebtunis Papyri; and the Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life. The Rare Books Collection has special emphases on the Enlightenment and on books by and about women from the fifteenth century to the present. It also includes collections of fine bindings, medieval and early modern manuscripts, pamphlets documenting the French Revolution, and African-American literature.


The Rare Books Librarian has two major responsibilities: managing the development, servicing, and preservation of the Rare Books Collection through ongoing analysis of its existing strengths and weaknesses, and expanding it in ways appropriate to the collection policies in place or in development; and serving as a member of the Bancroft Public Services staff, spending approximately one-fourth time on reference activities, including scheduled shifts at Bancroft’s reference desk providing general reference service for the broad range of all the Bancroft collections. In the former capacities, the Rare Books Librarian reports to the Deputy Director, and, in consultation with him and Bancroft’s Curatorial Group, has general curatorial responsibility for the Rare Books Collection. In the last capacity, the Rare Books Librarian, as scheduled by the Head of Public Service, but reporting to the Deputy Director, serves as a reference librarian, providing direct reference support to readers for all Bancroft Library collections, using the special bibliographical files and descriptions Bancroft maintains to describe its collections, instructing readers in the use of the finding aids for large non-book collections, assisting readers in using appropriate reference tools maintained in Bancroft’s reference collection, and especially interpreting the special strengths of the Rare Books Collection in its subject and format strengths, including paleography, history of printing, history of the book, descriptive bibliography, and the like. Librarians at Bancroft serve an extremely various group of patrons who range from inexperienced Berkeley undergraduates through advanced graduate students and faculty members to visiting scholars and other guests from across the state and around the world. The Rare Books Librarian is expected to provide instructional support as requested for each of these groups.

The curatorial responsibilities of the Rare Books Librarian include collection analysis and development, selection, bibliographical interpretation and advanced bibliographic description required in cataloging complex and rare collections (in consultation with the Deputy Director, the Curatorial Group, and the Associate Director for technical services). The Rare Books Librarian is responsible for the maintenance and augmentation of Bancroft’s medieval and early modern materials (originals and facsimiles), and the bibliographic and reference resources related to them. As curator the Rare Books Librarian is also responsible for the development of Bancroft’s rare book and manuscript holdings for more recent periods and works with other members of the Bancroft staff, the University Library, and the faculty in selection and collection development. The Rare Books Librarian manages Rare Books Collection materials that are used in the Bancroft seminar rooms or displayed in the exhibition spaces of the Library.

The Rare Books Librarian functions continually as an ambassador of The Bancroft Library in dealing with the Berkeley faculty and students, the general and specialized readers who use Bancroft, the antiquarian book trade, private collectors, librarians at Berkeley and in the broader professional community, and the donor community.

Working in a highly collegial environment, the incumbent is expected to contribute to the Library-wide planning process through participation in function and subject councils, ad hoc task forces, and other committees as appropriate.

UC Berkeley librarians are expected to participate in library-wide planning and governance, to work effectively in a shared decision-making environment and to be active professionally. Professional contributions beyond the primary responsibilities are required for advancement in the Librarian series. The successful candidate will show promise or evidence of such contributions.


• MLS from an ALA-accredited institution, or an equivalent degree.
• Three or more years of experience with demonstrated success as a rare books librarian with specialization in analytical bibliography, acquisitions and collection development, and reference or public service
• Good knowledge of American, British, and Continental literature and cultural history
• Proficiency in some ancient (Latin, Greek, Hebrew) and modern languages (French, Italian, Spanish, German) listed in order of preference
• Solid experience in serving as a reference librarian in either a general research or rare book library

Candidate must have excellent analytical, interpersonal, and communication skills, and show both initiative and flexibility; demonstrated ability to work effectively with a diverse population of faculty, staff, student and community members.

• An advanced degree in a subject field pertaining to Bancroft’s Rare Books Collection
• Experience in general reference and library instruction
• Experience in grant writing and fundraising
• Experience in the antiquarian book trade
• Demonstrated success in donor relations and significant cultivation of private collectors
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.

Professional librarians at UC are academic appointees and are represented by an exclusive bargaining agent, University Council – American Federation of Teachers (UC-AFT). This position is in the bargaining unit.

Librarians are entitled to appropriate professional leave, two days per month of vacation leave, one day per month of sick leave, and all other benefits granted to non-faculty academic personnel. 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.

Deadline: Consideration will be given to applications received by September 16, 2013.

Submit applications online at https://aprecruit.berkeley.edu/apply/JPF00193. Applications must include a cover letter detailing a statement of qualifications, curriculum vitae noting degrees and relevant work experience, and the names and contact information of three references who are knowledgeable about the applicant’s qualifications for this position.

Send inquiries to:

Susan E. Wong
Director, Library Human Resources
Library Human Resources Department
110 Doe Library
University of California
Berkeley, CA 94720-6000
(510) 642-3778

The University of California is an Equal Opportunity, Affirmative Action Employer.

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