A dynamic organization devoted to library services for the East Asian studies communities in North America since 1958.

Columbia University: Tibetan Studies Librarian

Columbia University Libraries seeks a Tibetan Studies Librarian to develop, manage and catalog the Tibetan Studies Collection of Columbia University Libraries in all formats and provide services to faculty, students and general users who need assistance with Tibetan Studies or Tibetan and Dzongkha language resources. The Librarian will develop and contribute to the management of the Tibetan Studies collection of the University of Toronto. The Tibetan Studies Librarian will serve as a subject matter expert in the field of Tibetan Studies as it is the only full-time professional librarian position among the academic libraries in North America.


Collection Development:

  • Identify and select Tibetan research resources for acquisition in all formats, both current and retrospective, on a timely and continuing basis following the Collection Development Policy and other guidelines at Columbia and the University of Toronto.
  • Utilize a variety of selection and collection development techniques and tools, including direct orders from vendors, acquisitions trips, approval plans, gifts, and other publication sources.
  • Develop and manage collaborative collection development projects with ReCAP and Ivy Plus colleagues, and other institutions as appropriate.
  • Review incoming collections to flag materials for priority handling, onsite or ReCAP location, and maintain awareness of new titles.

Cataloging & Archival Processing:

  • Provide complete original cataloging for monographs, serials, and serial analytics in the Tibetan language.
  • Contribute NACO and SACO records when time allows; edit derived records prepared by support staff and original records created by a contract cataloger if applicable.
  • Coordinate and manage the processing of archives and special collections related to Tibetan Studies, including the creation of finding aids and archival records.

Reference, Curricular & Research Support: 

  • Provide advanced reference and instructional services for Tibetan Studies students and faculty at Columbia and the University of Toronto via email, phone, course management software and other appropriate communications technologies, and in-person consultations.
  • Create and maintain research guides, course-specific LibGuides, the Tibetan Studies Collection website, and use other communications strategies and tools to promote research support services.

Faculty Liaison: 

  • Engage regularly and actively with faculty to stay informed of changes in hiring, curricula, and research interests that may affect collecting policies. Plan and organize outreach projects with the faculty, which may include hosting a symposium, exhibition, book talk, film screening etc.
  • Inform faculty of library resources and services and ways to get access to them. Consult with appropriate faculty regarding expensive or non-routine additions to the collection.
  • Act as the official liaison between faculty and all Columbia University Libraries service groups and units, conveying library plans and changes to faculty and communicating faculty concerns and problems to appropriate library units to help resolve them.

Professional Development:

  • Regularly attend presentations, workshops, and training sessions, etc. to stay abreast of developments and standards in both librarianship and academic field.
  • Maintain a record of professional contributions with relevance to Tibetan Studies (e.g., research, publications, and participations in professional associations).

About Columbia University Libraries

We encourage individuals with diverse backgrounds, experiences, identities, and abilities to apply for this unique opportunity to become a part of our evolving Libraries and University community. Columbia University Libraries is a globally-recognized academic research library system, serving one of the world’s most important centers of research and learning in the most exciting and dynamic city in the world. Talented Libraries staff build, sustain, and make discoverable collections that transcend traditional boundaries of format and domain, keeping pace with a dynamic and rapidly evolving information environment and creating opportunities for users to encounter 4,000 years of human thought.

Our decisions are informed by new curricula developed to meet the needs of a more diverse student body, new and emerging areas of research being conducted by a broad spectrum of researchers, including graduate students and newly-hired faculty, as well as by perspectives from the diminished or entirely lost voices of historically oppressed, marginalized, and underserved populations and communities. As an organization, the Libraries provides a supportive, connected environment where every employee’s perspective is valued and every employee is encouraged to grow. All staff members have an impact on Columbia’s mission to advance knowledge at the highest levels and make the results of research accessible to the world.

Columbia University has a longstanding commitment to diversity rooted in values of inclusion and social justice, a commitment reflected in the curriculum and throughout University life. Columbia welcomes applications from candidates who share these values and who will foster their contribution to the University’s educational mission. We invite applicants who have demonstrated creative approaches to empowering and mentoring staff, leading projects, solving problems, and developing user-centric programs, services, or collections. We offer salary and benefits commensurate with qualifications and experience.

The Search Committee will review applications and nominations and will continue to receive and review them until the position is filled. Proposed start date is negotiable.


Minimum Degree Required:

Master’s Degree in Library Science or equivalent combination of education and experience

Minimum Qualifications:

  • Excellent language skills in Tibetan (i.e. native or advanced proficiency with ability to function in a professional capacity)
  • Chinese language skills (basic reading fluency, or at least familiarity with publishing and Tibet-related terms, geographic and other name conventions)
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills in English
  • In-depth knowledge of cataloging rules and standards, including RDA Cataloging Rules; OCLC Connexion and Voyager Cataloging Systems; MARC formatting
  • In-depth knowledge of Tibetan collection development and management
  • In-depth knowledge of user services in Tibetan Studies
  • Experience working with a Tibetan Collection in an academic or research library setting

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Ph.D. or MA in a related subject
  • Tibetan oral fluency
  • Web content writing and management skills
  • Excel spreadsheet experience
  • Archival training.
  • Knowledge of classical Tibetan (cursive alphabets, etc.)
  • Experience utilizing social media to promote library collections and services
  • Experience writing grants and project reports
  • Experience in digital library projects and metadata creation

Application Instructions

Minimum salary: $73,000