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Head, Preservation and Conservation

Campus Services
20004452 Requisition #

The University of Iowa Libraries seeks an enterprising, innovative, and prudent leader to head its Preservation & Conservation Department. Activities of the department include collections care, conservation, digitization, digital preservation, and materials processing. As a member of the Libraries’ management team and a senior leader in the organization, the Head, Preservation & Conservation is responsible for defining and implementing the Libraries’ preservation program in a time of perpetual change and avid competition for limited resources. The individual in this position is expected to address many of the challenges and opportunities identified in the department’s Beyond the Horizon report, available at https://www.lib.uiowa.edu/preservation/files/2020/12/Beyond-the-Horizon.pdf.

Reporting to an Assoc. University Librarian, the Head, Preservation & Conservation leads and mentors a highly motivated department of 14 individuals as well as student employees, oversees all aspects of departmental operations, sets the department’s strategic direction, seeks opportunities for sponsored research and other external funding, participates in library planning and leadership, and represents the Libraries on issues related to collections care on the University campus, within the State of Iowa, and nationally as a member of the Big Ten Academic Alliance Preservation Officers peer group.

Located within the department is the Conservation Lab, a 1484 sq. ft. teaching laboratory established in 1984 in close collaboration with the University of Iowa’s Center for the Book. Under the leadership of its fourth Conservator, staff in the Conservation Lab provide physical treatment from stabilization and simple repairs to complex rebinding projects and recovery of damaged rare books and other printed matter. The lab is a statewide resource, servicing other cultural heritage museums and archives on campus and performing contract work in disaster recovery.

The successful Head, Preservation & Conservation will carry on the rich legacy of our Conservation Lab, cultivate close and productive relationships with campus collecting units (museums, galleries, archives), articulate a balanced strategy for local and cooperative digital preservation, and help to identify and secure funding for significant digitization initiatives.

Specific duties and responsibilities include:

  • Plan, organize, coordinate, and implement a comprehensive preservation program including oversight of both print and digital preservation, an established conservation lab, and a production digitization program.
  • Oversee the development of preservation policies and procedures consistent with professional best practices for libraries and cultural heritage research collections and aligned with the institution’s level of risk tolerance. Regularly assess procedures and develop strategies to increase productivity, streamline workflows, and contain costs.
  • Oversee the Libraries’ collections care program including preservation assessment surveys, environmental monitoring of collections and exhibition spaces, integrated pest management, and disaster response and recovery.
  • Actively participate on the Libraries’ Operations & Management Team and collaborate with library leadership to align preservation services with library goals and departmental needs. Identify programmatic goals and set priorities for the department.
  • Provide effective leadership, coaching, and mentoring for a department of 14 individuals (4 classified as Merit staff, 9 classified as Professional & Scientific), in addition to student staff, fostering a work environment that embraces values of service; collaboration; integrity; creativity; openness; diversity, equity, and inclusion; stewardship; and respect.
  • Espouse the department’s commitment to student success through meaningful opportunities for students to connect work in preservation and conservation to the skills and knowledge they are gaining in the classroom and vice versa. Promote meaningful paid mentorship as an essential part of preservation and conservation education and to enfranchise individuals who identify as members of groups historically underrepresented in the profession.
  • Manage and develop the Preservation & Conservation department cost-recovery program to assist, as feasible, with the preservation needs of non-library UI collecting units, as well as libraries, museums, non-profit organizations, and cultural heritage institutions statewide and regionally.
  • Contribute to the profession regionally and nationally through research, publishing, teaching, and/or service. Coach and mentor staff active in their own professional engagement activities that contribute to their individual career goals, the profession, and the institution.
  • Represent the University of Iowa Libraries on issues related to collections care, conservation, digitization, and digital preservation (directly and/or through designees) on collaborative initiatives with campus partners including the UI Law Library, Stanley Museum of Art, and Pentacrest Museums, as well as Iowa’s public universities and the Big Ten Academic Alliance.

The University of Iowa Libraries system consists of the Main Library, the Hardin Library for the Health Sciences and a number of branch libraries. The UI Libraries has more than 5.7 million volumes including thousands of electronic resources.  We coordinate the development and maintenance of the University’s locally-created open access digital resources including the Iowa Digital Library, featuring close to a million digitized texts, images, and audio and video recordings, as well as Iowa Research Online, our institutional repository. Our Special Collections include over 250,000 rare books, ranging in age from the 15th century to newly created artists’ books, as well as 4.7 miles of manuscripts. We also host the Greater Midwestern Regional Library of the National Network of Libraries of Medicine.

The University of Iowa Libraries is a member of the Big Ten Academic Alliance, the Association of Research Libraries and a variety of other regional and national collaboratives focused on information services at scale.  The Libraries provides a program of support for professional development activities and its staff members are actively engaged in national cooperative efforts.  The Libraries are a founding member of the Association of College and Research Libraries’ Diversity Alliance.

Application Details:

In order to be eligible for interview, applicants must upload the following and mark them as “relevant files” when you upload the documents:

  1. Current resume.
  2. Cover letter that clearly addresses how you meet the listed required and desired qualifications of this position.
  3. Statement regarding diversity, equity, access, and inclusion. The University of Iowa Libraries welcomes and serves all, including people of color from all nations, immigrants, people with disabilities, LGBTQ+, and the most vulnerable in our community. We safeguard the human right to access information. We offer educational resources that promote diversity, equity, access, and inclusion, and we strive to build collections that reflect all points of view on current and historical issues. Include an applicant statement to include examples of ways you have advanced diversity, equity, access, and inclusion in the workplace or community or provide other evidence of your demonstrated commitment to diversity.

This position will be posted through at least January 29, 2021 and may be removed from posting and filled any time after the original posting period has ended. Successful candidates will be subject to a criminal background check and degree verification.

Up to 5 professional references will be requested at a later step in the recruitment process.

Education Requirement

  • ALA-accredited Master’s degree in Library and Information Science

Experience Required

  • Six or more years of professional experience, and evidence of national leadership as well as continuing significant achievement in professional activities.
  • Demonstrated leadership skills and project management skills.
  • Demonstrated ability to coach, mentor, and supervise professional librarians.
  • Demonstrated skill utilizing and tailoring communication styles—including oral, written, and interpersonal—to work effectively and collaboratively with peers and partners.
  • Understanding of and experience with preservation and conservation best practices, operations, and activities employed across the diverse collections of a comprehensive research library.
  • Demonstrated ability to work in a team-based setting where consultation, flexibility, collaboration, and cooperation are essential.
  • Demonstrated commitment to diversity in the workplace or community
  • Demonstrated understanding of the mission of a research university and the mission and functions of a large research library.

Desirable Qualifications

  • Demonstrated ability to secure supplemental funding for projects or programs by way of grants, gifts, cost-recovery programs, etc.
  • ​​​​​​​Demonstrated experience identifying and setting preservation priorities through ongoing communication, collaboration, and strategic planning with collections stakeholders and library leadership.
  • Knowledge of new technologies and strategies affecting preservation
  • Knowledge of digital imaging and experience in digital preservation
  • ​​​​​​​Demonstrated advocacy for equitable and gainful employment for student and contingent workers in preservation and conservation programs as well as cultural heritage organizations generally.

Universal Competencies:

  • Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. Ability to work with a variety of individuals and groups in a constructive and respectful manner while appreciating the unique contribution of an inclusive workforce that brings together the talents of people across multiple identities, including: race, creed, color, religion, national origins, age, sex, pregnancy, disability, veteran or military status, sexual orientation, gender identity, or associational preferences.

  • Collaboration and Positive Impact. Ability to work with a variety of individuals and groups in a constructive and civil manner and utilize existing resources and learning to achieve or exceed desired outcomes of current and future organizational goals/needs.

  • Service Excellence and Customer Focus. Ability to meet or exceed customer service needs and expectations and provide excellent service in a direct or indirect manner.  Ability to effectively transmit and interpret information through appropriate communication with internal and external customers.

Equal opportunity/affirmative action employer

The University of Iowa is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer. All qualified applicants are encouraged to apply and will receive consideration for employment free from discrimination on the basis of race, creed, color, national origin, age, sex, pregnancy, sexual orientation, gender identity, genetic information, religion, associational preference, status as a qualified individual with a disability, or status as a protected veteran.

Persons with disabilities who need assistance or accommodations with the application or interview process may contact University Human Resources/Faculty and Staff Disability Services, (319) 335-2660 or fsds@uiowa.edu.  For jobs in UI Health care, please contact UI Health care Leave & Disability Administration at 319-356-7543.

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