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Requisition ID:  9770

Archives and Special Collections Operations Specialist

Job Summary

*Updated, March 20, 2020*: All interview and hiring processes will be postponed until later specified. At this time, we are still accepting applications.

This position is responsible for managing the care and accessioning of the University’s permanent collection of rare books, archives and special collections. Ensures the care and preservation of unique, irreplaceable historical objects, documents, and rare books of high value. Acts as registrar documenting intake of collections and manages overall operations of the Archives and Special Collections Division, including multiple facilities locations: the Karnes Archives and Special Collections Research Center, the conservation lab, and six separate collections storage facilities. Responsible for collections acquisitions and management, customer services, and service desk scheduling, collection and reporting of usage statistics for reference, exhibits, and special events, writing collections and facilities reports, and managing special projects. Oversees proper handling, packing, moving and transport of collections and identifies physical facilities needs, monitoring environmental conditions and security issues and making recommendations for improvement. Consults and collaborates with division head, archivists, and other Libraries Operation Managers on usage policies, including planning and implementing changes. Assesses current workflows, and evaluates and implements best practices in cultural heritage resources management to care for and protect collections, improve operations, and adopt innovations to raise the quality level of service. Provides operational leadership, developing policies and work standards. Oversees delivery of customer services, maintains high standards of service, and trains employees in providing services. Collaborates with administration and division head on aligning the strategic plan with operations. Provides first-line of contact for issues and questions about the facilities and collections care. Oversees space needs and growth projections for collections storage. Serves as liaison for the division with Facilities, security and emergency services vendors, and Purdue University Police in protecting collections and responding to breaches in security or other issues that impact collections care and stewardship. Serves as the division’s first point of contact for emergency response and addressing security issues. Serves as backup to the Digital Archivist in reviewing and filling publication permission requests and contributes to special projects as assigned.

  • Bachelor's degree in history, American Studies, library and information science, archival science, museum studies, cultural heritage studies, or related degree
  • Two years of experience in a library, archives, museum or other cultural heritage setting


Knowledge of:

  • Up to date knowledge of best practices in managing cultural heritage collections, preservation, and security;
  • Principles for providing customer service;
  • Administrative and clerical procedures and systems such as word processing, managing files and records, and other office procedures and terminology;
  • General understanding of databases and libraries catalogs;
  • Basic computer hardware and software, including MS Office applications;
  • Principles of management to motivate, develop, and direct people as they work;
  • Library management and library science principles;
  • Library of Congress and Dewey Decimal systems


Skills to:

  • Monitor and assess performance of self and others to make improvements or take corrective action;
  • Develop specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish own work and the work of others;
  • Identify, gather, and analyze data to perform assessment of collections, services, and facilities in collaboration with the division head;
  • Provide information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, in meetings, or in person;
  • Teach others how to do something;
  • Actively listen;
  • Provide guidance and direction to subordinates, including setting performance standards and monitoring performance;
  • Coach and encourage members of a group to work together to accomplish tasks


Ability to:

  • Work independently as well as part of a team, to collaborate effectively on projects;
  • Take initiative and work independently in performing the job;
  • Communicate effectively with a variety of stakeholders, including alumni, donors, faculty, staff, students, and the public;
  • Develop constructive and cooperative working relationships with others and maintain them over time;
  • Handle multiple projects and tasks;
  • Ability to lift boxes of archival collections weighing up to 40 lbs;
  • Effectively manage projects and effective time management;



  • Master’s degree in library, information, or archival science, museum studies, or the equivalent
  • Progressively responsible professional experience, including experience supervising and training employees   
  • Database management skills
  • Familiarity with libraries, archives, and special collections
  • Experience managing budgets


Additional Information:

  • Standard hours for this position are 8am-5pm, Monday-Friday; this position must also respond to after-hours alarms and emergencies, which will require occasional work on evenings and weekends
  • Purdue will not sponsor employment authorization for this position  
  • A background check will be required for employment in this position
  • FLSA: Exempt (Not Eligible For Overtime)
  • Retirement Eligibility:  Defined Contribution Waiting Period
  • Purdue University is an EOE/AA employer. All individuals, including minorities, women, individuals with disabilities, and veterans are encouraged to apply

Nearest Major Market: Lafayette