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

The Harvard-Yenching Library: Librarian

Librarian of the Harvard-Yenching Library

Harvard College Library


Job Summary

Although the position will remain posted until filled, applicants are strongly encouraged to apply by end of day on November 15, 2021.

Harvard University seeks a collaborative, future-oriented leader for the position of Librarian of the Harvard-Yenching Library. Harvard-Yenching Library is the preeminent academic research library focusing on East Asia in the western world and the third largest repository in the Harvard Library system. The Librarian of the Harvard-Yenching Library will nurture a new appreciation for and a reimagining of the Library’s unparalleled special collections and lead an expansion of its digital collections and expertise in digital scholarship.

Reporting to the Assistant University Librarian for Content Strategies and Associate Librarian of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, the Librarian of the Harvard-Yenching Library provides leadership and oversight for the Library’s staff, budget, operations, and programs that support a diverse array of collection development, research support, teaching and learning, digital scholarship, and community and international engagement activities centered on the library’s expertise in Asian and East Asian studies. The Librarian actively seeks out and builds cooperative approaches in the development of services.

The successful candidate will possess a wide-ranging knowledge of Asian and East Asian studies; an understanding of the needs of the Asian and East Asian studies community both nationally and internationally; the ability to find balance among the needs and use of print and digital materials; and a commitment to adopting new technologies and standards that will improve access to and use of Harvard-Yenching Library holdings. Equally importantly, the successful candidate will have the ability to inspire and appreciatively lead the Library’s valued staff; a demonstrated commitment to diversity, inclusion, belonging, and antiracism; a user-driven orientation; and a collegial outlook and spirit.

Modeling Harvard Library’s value of deep collaboration, and recognizing the multidisciplinary nature of Asian and East Asian studies, the Librarian of the Harvard-Yenching Library works in partnership with other libraries and library departments across the Harvard Library system to the benefit of researchers whose starting place is the Harvard-Yenching Library as well as the entire Harvard community. Externally, the Librarian of the Harvard-Yenching Library will take an active role in collaborative collection development projects within the ReCAP consortium and the Ivy Plus Libraries Confederation.

The Harvard-Yenching Library has a long history of support from and collaboration with the Harvard-Yenching Institute and the Librarian of the Harvard-Yenching Library plays a primary role in nurturing and maintaining this relationship. The Librarian of the Harvard-Yenching Library works closely and communicates broadly with faculty and senior administrators and serves on university and library committees as well as representing Harvard-Yenching Library in professional organizations and to other external constituencies.

Job-Specific Responsibilities

  • Oversees all facets of the Harvard-Yenching Library: collection development; research, teaching, and learning; management, staffing, fiscal control.
  • The incumbent directly supervises five professional librarians, one curatorial assistant, and one administrative coordinator within the Harvard-Yenching Library. [N.B.: Technical services and access services are provided centrally by Harvard Library]
  • Management
    • In collaboration with library leadership in Harvard Library, direct the strategic planning process for Harvard-Yenching Library.
    • Maintain administrative oversight of Harvard-Yenching Library.
    • Plan, develop, administer and evaluate library services to faculty, staff and students.
    • Prepare and recommend annual budget; monitor budget expenditures; assist with grant preparation and writing.
    • Prioritize and lead multiple projects while meeting deadlines and budget targets.
    • Recruit, hire, manage, and evaluate staff.
    • Promote staff development activities.
    • Work collegially with peers and colleagues across the Harvard Library in a variety of committees and working groups.
    • Maintain awareness of national trends and developments Asian and East Asian librarianship.
    • Contribute to professional organizations at the national and international level, recognize library trends and opportunities, and use this knowledge to enrich local programs and strategic planning.
    • With Library Building Operations and FAS Building Operations, manage the Harvard-Yenching Library facilities.
  • Research and Instruction
    • Collaborate with faculty and colleagues across the library system to insure continuing excellence in Asian and East Asian research and instruction programs.
    • Collaborate with colleagues to develop effective strategies to meet user needs.
    • Plan and implement a program of library services that meet the teaching and research needs of diverse departments by developing relationships within and among departments to ensure librarians have a working rapport with faculty.
    • Supervise and evaluate outreach efforts to the various academic departments and programs.
    • Promote collections and services to graduate and undergraduate students.
  • Collection Management
    • Coordinate the management of the collections for Asian and East Asian studies to ensure the selection and maintenance of well-balanced collections to support the teaching and research programs at Harvard.
    • Assess, create, oversee, and leverage innovative collections. Monitor vendor relationships.
    • Promote cooperative planning for collections, services, and preservation of materials, especially with ReCAP and the Ivy Plus Libraries Confederation.
  • External Collaboration
    • Participate actively in pertinent professional organizations.
    • Maintain collaborative programs with area institutions

Basic Qualifications

  • ALA accredited MLS or equivalent experience in academic library administration.
  • A minimum of ten years professional experience.
  • 6 or more years management experience.
  • Knowledge of a minimum of one East Asian language.
  • Demonstrated knowledge in East Asian languages, culture, history, and civilization.
  • Demonstrated record of collaboration at intra- and interinstitutional levels.
  • Demonstrated knowledge or experience with print and digital publishing in East Asian countries.

Additional Qualifications and Skills

  • Advanced degree in a subject field in Asian studies.
  • Experience in digital scholarship/digital humanities projects and approaches.
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills.
  • Demonstrated ability to set priorities and to inspire staff to share and achieve them.
  • Demonstrated ability to foster teamwork and manage change; experience supporting the professional development of staff.
  • Experience building partnerships to enhance learning and student success.
  • Ability to collaborate effectively in a decentralized matrix environment.
  • Demonstrated interpersonal skills to work effectively with culturally diverse users and colleagues.

Physical Requirements

There are no notable physical demands associated with this position.

Working Conditions

The work associated with this position is performed in an office setting.

Additional Information

About Harvard-Yenching Library 

With collections of over 1.5 million volumes and extensive visual, manuscript, and other special collections, Harvard-Yenching Library is the third largest library in the Harvard Library system and the preeminent academic research collection related to East Asian studies outside of Asia. The Harvard-Yenching Library supports curriculum and research of faculty and students across the University as well as international visiting faculty and scholars.

Diversity, Inclusion, Belonging and Anti-Racism at Harvard Library

Harvard University aims to be the world’s recognized leader in sustainable inclusive excellence by fostering a campus culture where everyone can thrive. Working in close collaboration with offices across the university, the Harvard Library is becoming one of the campus leaders in advancing equity, diversity, inclusion, belonging and antiracism. We believe that an inclusive environment that cultivates and promotes understanding, respect, and collaboration across our diverse workforce enables our success. As well, we believe that our work with faculty, students and researchers to explore answers to intellectual questions, enduring and new, and to seek solutions to the world’s most consequential problems, requires that we not only reflect, but also advance our diverse society.

Harvard Library’s core values are the foundation upon which our antiracism agenda is being developed. Our values emphasize that we lead with curiosity, seek collaboration, champion access, aim for the extraordinary, and cultivate and celebrate diversity in our collections and our community to construct a more inclusive and just world. Our focus on antiracism is a commitment to live our values. It is about building not only a better organization, but a better research library – an exemplary antiracist research library. We aspire to be global leaders in expanding world knowledge and intellectual exploration, and that starts on our campus, where we are a center for knowledge supporting our faculty and students in pursuing antiracism through their research, teaching and learning.

Our commitment to antiracism is a commitment to addressing other forms of discrimination as well, such as those based on gender, sexuality, religion or ability. Our antiracism work will continue a strong record of diversity initiatives, ranging from targeted collection development and the design of inclusive spaces to a learning journey for staff and a focus on employee recruitment and retention. We are deeply committed to increasing diversity in the profession, through activities such as our longstanding membership in the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) Diversity Alliance and the Association of Research Libraries (ARL).

Harvard Library is the world’s largest academic library. Established in 1638, we are the oldest library system in the United States. We invite individuals with diverse backgrounds, experiences and abilities to be a part of our community of over 700 staff members across 28 libraries. Our collections number over six million digitized items, 20 million volumes, 400 million manuscripts, one million maps, and tens of millions of digital images, and our rare and special collections are amongst the most remarkable in the world. We collect collaboratively with peer institutions and facilitate international open access, multiplying our users’ access to materials and advancing equitable models of scholarly communication.

Learn more about our contributions to the academic enterprise by visiting us at http://library.harvard.edu and about the Harvard University community at http://hr.harvard.edu/why-harvard.