For more than 150 years, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) has been a leader in educating the world’s most influential artists, designers and scholars. Located in downtown Chicago with a fine arts graduate program consistently ranking among the top four graduate fine arts programs in the nation by U.S. News and World Report, SAIC provides an interdisciplinary approach to art and design as well as world-class resources, including the Art Institute of Chicago museum, on-campus galleries and state-of-the-art facilities. SAIC’s undergraduate, graduate and post-baccalaureate students have the freedom to take risks and create the bold ideas that transform Chicago and the world—as seen through notable alumni and faculty such as Michelle Grabner, David Sedaris, Elizabeth Murray, Richard Hunt, Georgia O’Keeffe, Cynthia Rowley, Nick Cave, and LeRoy Neiman.

Position Summary
The Special Collections Librarian will provide direction and oversight for SAIC’s Flaxman Library Special Collections, including, but not limited to, the Joan Flasch Artists’ Book Collection, Randolph Street Gallery, and other archival collections. Advises, coordinates, and collaborates with colleagues throughout the library, the campus, and the broader art community to optimize and promote teaching, learning, and research activities. Represents Flaxman Library in dealings with external art, library, and special collections communities. Assists with preservation and fund-raising efforts. Contributes to the development and management of library online systems appropriate to library special collections. Assists in securing relevant statistical data and reports. Monitors all expenditures related to Library Special Collections.


  1. Directs the library’s efforts in all areas of Special Collections, including research, reference, instruction, access, and preservation.
  2. Develops, directs, and assesses the work of the Flaxman Library Special Collections team. Responsible for the success of the workgroup in meeting library goals.
  3. Plays an essential role in advising, coordinating, and collaborating with colleagues throughout the library and the campus to optimize and promote the use of the archives and special collections for teaching, learning, and research activities. Also engages the broader arts community to enrich opportunities for our students and faculty.
  4. Carries out duties within the context of the educational mission, goals, and core values of the School in order to plan, deliver, and evaluate library programs and activities that will:
    • comprehensive management and stewardship of the archives and special collections at the Flaxman Library;
    • proactively engage the School’s agenda for student success;
    • promote best practices for a student-centered library;
    • encourage responsive library outreach to the campus community as a whole as well as to specific user groups;
    • facilitate communication and collaboration among faculty, staff, and students to effectively address campus needs and issues regarding teaching, learning, and research;
    • include regular cycles of assessment and, as necessary, revision.
  5. Areas of performance and/or oversight include (but are not limited to):
    • comprehensive management and stewardship of the archives and special collections at the Flaxman Library;
    • course-integrated, web-based, and other approaches to integration of archives and special collections in teaching, learning, and research activities at SAIC;
    • promotion and publicizing of these collections for scholarly uses in keeping with the mission of the School, including outreach to and communication with local, national, and international arts communities;
    • research consultations and reference services for the library and special collections;
    • collaborations with colleagues to optimize the user’s experience of special collections facilities, access policies, collections, and other services;
    • knowledge of traditional and emerging technologies and best practices relevant to the assigned areas of responsibility.
  6. Maintains a high public profile and current awareness of developments in contemporary art as relevant to the Library’s archives and special collections.
  7. Maintains strong working relationships with colleagues at other specialized resource centers within and outside of the Art Institute. Represents the Flaxman Library Special Collections in the external art, library, and special collections communities.
  8. Hires, trains, supervises, and evaluates the Special Collections Manager and the Media Preservation and Digitization Librarian.
  9. Plays an essential role in library-wide planning, policies, and assessment.
  10. Serves as library liaison to one or more curricular department or program at SAIC.
  11. Serves on internal and external committees or projects as assigned.
  12. Other duties may be assigned by the Dean of the Library + Special Collections at SAIC.


  • Commitment to the educational mission of the School and respect for all members of the campus community;
    Master’s degree in Library or Information Science or related field
  • Four or more years of professional experience in archives and special collections, including at least one year of supervisory experience;
  • Deep and demonstrable knowledge of contemporary art practices based in artists’ books, archives, exhibitions, and/or publishing;
  • Demonstrable knowledge of current issues and best practices for archives and special collections including conservation and preservation;
  • Knowledge of current library systems and technologies utilized in the assigned areas of responsibility;
  • Proficiency using standard office software, web services, and networked environments;
  • Ability to work effectively as a team leader, as well as a team member.


  • Significant and progressively responsible experience in a similar position at an academic library, especially at an independent, non-profit college of art and design;
  • Experience collaborating on digital library projects;
  • Degree(s) and/or work experience in an art or design related field;
  • Understanding of instructional methods and measures used by libraries;
  • Teaching, curating, and/or publishing experience.

Pay,Benefits, & Work Schedule
We offer a competitive, comprehensive benefits package:

  • 5+ weeks of paid time off
  • Paid holidays (up to 14 days)
  • Medical, dental, and vision insurance
  • Competitive retirement plan (up to 9% matching contribution)
  • Tuition remission and Tuition Exchange Program
  • Great employee discounts
  • Complimentary general admission to participating cultural institutions

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The Art Institute of Chicago is an equal opportunity, equal access employer fully committed to achieving a diverse and inclusive workplace.