Job: JMU, Special Collections Instruction Librarian and Curator for Black Arts and Culture

Please see this amazing job posting:

For folks from non-library backgrounds, this job is welcoming! The statement to look for is there in the requirements: “A graduate degree in library/information science or another relevant field.” Also, if anyone is new to libraries, the JMU Libraries are known to be awesome, and led by the amazing Dean Bethany Nowviskie! They are also hiring for a couple of other key roles:

Please check it out, and share! And, copied below for ease:) Thanks to the absolutely fabulous Julian Chambliss for sharing!

About James Madison University

We are a community committed to preparing students to be educated and enlightened citizens who lead productive and meaningful lives.


To be the national model for the engaged university: engaged with ideas and the world.

Who We Are

Located in the heart of Virginia’s beautiful Shenandoah Valley, the city of Harrisonburg is approximately 120 miles from Washington, D.C. and Richmond, VA. With a population of just over 53,000, Harrisonburg is one of the most diverse communities in the Commonwealth of Virginia. JMU is a selective, public institution with a growing national reputation for offering experiences that lead to an outstanding education and inclusive environment for students, faculty and staff. The student body includes approximately 20,000 undergraduate and 1,900 graduate students, with over 1,000 full-time instructional faculty.

JMU offers thriving programs in the liberal arts, science and technology, and professional disciplines at the undergraduate, master’s and doctoral levels. The university is committed to expanding diversity, fostering equity and inclusion, and supporting superlative teaching and scholarship. JMU has achieved national recognition for the high quality of its academic programs, focus on maintaining strong student/faculty interaction, and innovative faculty research.

General Information
JMU Libraries seeks a creative and energetic librarian/archivist or scholar to fill a newly created, tenure-track faculty position in our Special Collections department. We seek a colleague with significant subject knowledge in Black arts and culture, teaching expertise with archival collections, and enthusiasm for the power of primary sources.

The successful candidate will lead the development of a growing instruction program in Special Collections, aligned with organizational and departmental goals to support a reparative archives approach that recognizes silences and gaps in the documentary record. As Instruction Librarian, this new faculty member will shape the classroom use of Special Collections material across disciplines and fields. Through collaboration with other JMU instructors and Libraries colleagues (including teaching faculty, archivists, subject liaisons, and instructional designers) the successful candidate will design and deliver balanced and rewarding hands-on learning experiences that engage students in analysis, interpretation, and use of primary sources.

As Curator for Black Arts and Culture, the successful candidate will lead collection development efforts around rare and unique materials related to African, African American, and Diaspora (AAAD) Studies and in support of JMU’s research and teaching strengths in this field. The successful candidate will collaborate with colleagues in JMU’s AAAD Studies Center and Furious Flower Poetry Center (FFPC) to identify relevant archival materials across media types, as well as rare book collection development priorities, and seek opportunities to grow our collections in support of AAAD and FFPC goals and functions. Through collaboration with colleagues throughout the Libraries, this position will help to build our distinctive holdings in concert with the continued growth and development of general collections in this area. The successful candidate will bring creative thinking and excitement to promotion and outreach surrounding our collections, and will engage with a highly collaborative team of librarians, archivists, poets, and scholars to further the acquisition, description, and use of distinctive collections related to Black arts, literature, and culture.

Special Collections staff at JMU steward a collection that documents the central Shenandoah Valley of Virginia as well as the institutional history of James Madison University. Collection strengths include documentary records and oral histories related to campus history and the history of Shenandoah Valley people and organizations (including Harrisonburg’s vibrant, past and contemporary immigrant community). Significant distinctive collections that provide curricular support for teaching and learning at JMU include artists’ books and movable/pop-up books, pulp magazines, and materials related to Black arts and culture. Relevant here are JMU Libraries’ collections of Black comic books, graphic novels, and works of poetry; rare book and manuscript collections by Black writers; and the unique video archives of JMU’s distinguished Furious Flower Poetry Center—the first academic center for Black poetry in the country and the focus of a large-scale, Mellon Foundation-supported digital archives collaboration with the Libraries —as well as JMU faculty digital projects related to histories of race and place.

The Special Collections Instruction Librarian and Curator for Black Arts and Culture is a full-time, twelve-month, tenure-track position with instructional faculty status at JMU, reporting to the Head of Special Collections. We anticipate hiring at the rank of Assistant or Associate Librarian. Libraries faculty participate in shared governance at JMU and adhere to policies established in our Promotion & Tenure Guidelines ( and the JMU Faculty Handbook ( Faculty are evaluated annually on Job Performance, Scholarly Achievement & Professional Qualifications, and Professional Service.

About the JMU Libraries

JMU Libraries is an essential and deeply valued part of our university, reporting to the Provost and Senior Vice President of JMU and undergoing transformation and renewal under the leadership of Dean Bethany Nowviskie, who also serves as JMU’s Chief Academic Technology Officer. At Madison, the Libraries includes campus educational technology, digital scholarship, and online learning services alongside foundational library collections, resources and spaces, scholarly communications and data/information literacy services, and collaborative teaching and research support. Collegial relationships with faculty and administrators across the institution run deep. Our team comprises approximately 150 staff and faculty, including tenured/tenure-track librarians and instructional designers, classified and wage staff, and administrative and professional faculty from a number of fields. Approximately 100 undergraduate and graduate student workers join the Libraries in a variety of roles.
The Libraries particularly welcomes applicants who can enhance the diversity and excellence of our campus community, and who can demonstrate a commitment to building equitable and inclusive environments for teaching, learning, research, and service. We are committed to cultivating a welcoming place for everyone, encouraging dialogue and celebrating diverse life experiences and perspectives. As an organization, we encourage experimentation and creativity in pursuit of meaningful solutions that build on our position as core academic infrastructure for our campus community.
Duties and Responsibilities
Primary Responsibilities
  • Delivers high-quality instruction and develops instructional content (such as research guides, assignments, instructional videos) using Special Collections materials in collaboration with JMU faculty and Libraries colleagues
  • Leads the continuing development of a creative and student-centered instruction program in Special Collections, establishing programmatic guidelines and implementing appropriate procedures for faculty instruction requests
  • Takes curatorial responsibility, with supportive funding, for rare and distinctive collections in Black arts and culture, including the development of printed materials and archives and manuscript collections in all formats related to African, African American, and Diaspora Studies
  • Shapes outreach, promotion, and specialized assistance to researchers related to areas of curatorial responsibility
  • Advises Special Collections archivists and Metadata Strategies colleagues on archival and bibliographic description of materials related to area of curatorial responsibility
  • Builds and sustains relationships with prospective donors and community partners in collaboration with the Head of Special Collections, incoming Director of Digital Scholarship and Distinctive Collections, and colleagues at the AAAD and Furious Flower Poetry Centers
  • Contributes to public services work alongside colleagues in Special Collections; participates in regular reference shifts at the Special Collections service point
  • Engages in relevant service and scholarly and professional development activities as a tenure track faculty member at JMU
    • Subject area expertise or educational background in areas related to Black arts and culture and/or African, African American, and Diaspora Studies
    • Experience as an instructor and familiarity with best practices and methodologies in teaching and learning with primary sources
    • Demonstrated commitment to promoting and/or enhancing diversity, equity, and inclusion in an organizational context
    • Strong ability to communicate effectively with team members and across diverse audiences
    • A graduate degree in library/information science or another relevant field


  • Experience providing instruction in a special collections library or archives
  • Knowledge of or experience with collection development in a special collections, archives, or museum setting
  • Knowledge of or experience with archival theory and practice, and best practices that govern the arrangement and description of primary source materials
Conditions of Employment
Employment is contingent upon the successful completion of a criminal background check.

E-Verify Notice: After accepting employment, new hires are required to complete an I-9 form and present documentation of their identity and eligibility to work in the United States. James Madison University uses the E-Verify system to confirm identity and work authorization.