Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library has an immediate opening for an experienced library professional and scholar to serve as a leader and advocate for the Winterthur Library. Winterthur is an extraordinary center for the appreciation and study of material culture, decorative arts, conservation, gardens and landscapes, and interdisciplinary cultural heritage. The Head Librarian position offers a unique opportunity to join an established institution at an exciting time of strategic growth to collaborate with Winterthur leadership and staff to craft a fresh vision and culture while honoring the strengths of this internationally-renowned independent research library. As a member of the senior leadership team, they will have to opportunity to shape a staffing plan to complement and reinforce the existing full time staff of two employees.

The ideal candidate is an innovative and service-oriented leader who delights in collections work and historical inquiry and who brings both vision and extensive Library and information management skills to bear on the Library collections as an essential component of Winterthur.  The collections include hundreds of thousands of items, from rare seventeenth-century design books to trade catalogues for twentieth century church fans. Complemented by the museum and garden collections, the Winterthur Library offers ample opportunities for expanding access and enhancing interpretation to make a positive impact and innovation in humanities, cultural heritage, and the arts.  The Head Librarian will collaborate often with conservators, curators, educators, and the full range of talented staff and volunteers at Winterthur.

The Head Librarian is a highly visible advocate for the Library within Winterthur and outside the institution and has an opportunity to build on strong relationships with communities ranging from schoolchildren to senior scholars. They will teach and mentor students in two world-class graduate programs, the Winterthur Program in American Material Culture (WPAMC) and the Winterthur/University of Delaware Program in Art Conservation (WUDPAC), partner with conservation staff to support emerging professions through initiatives such the HBCU Library Alliance Summer Conservation/Internship program, and provide key support for scholars and professionals who use the Library in creative and intellectually groundbreaking ways through the visiting research fellowship program. The position requires a nimble leader who enjoys the quiet energy of a multifaceted work environment. Work at Winterthur is fun and intellectually stimulating and the Head Librarian has an opportunity to be a leader at the center of many institutional activities. 

The Head Librarian will work with leadership, staff and Trustees to develop comprehensive strategies for philanthropy and other forms of support, including driving innovation in areas such as digital collections development, scholarly communication, user-centered services, rights management, archival processing, collections development, facilities management and collections care, diversity and inclusion, change management, employee engagement, and the ongoing professional development of staff. 

We encourage individuals of diverse backgrounds, cultures, experiences, identities, and abilities to apply for this extraordinary opportunity to join an evolving Library and Winterthur community whose core values include agility, excellence, innovation, integrity, inclusion, and transparency.

Formally founded in 1951, and established within the current space in 1969, the Winterthur Library is a globally-recognized independent research library and is one of the most important centers of scholarship and learning about material culture, decorative arts, domestic life, craft, conservation, and materials relating to American history in a global context. Winterthur’s library resides in the Louise du Pont Crowninshield building on the Winterthur campus located within 60 acres of naturalistic gardens nestled in the Brandywine Valley and near the vibrant city of Wilmington, Delaware.  

Principal Responsibilities

  1. Lead the library staff in promoting and providing broad access to the collection through daily general operations, digital initiatives, teaching, public engagement, exhibitions, and more.
  2. Ensure good communication and coordination between Library and Winterthur staff, Trustees, and external constituents.
  3. Uphold and enhance use of existing collections and programs and build collections and projects in anticipation of future research interests and roles for research libraries. 
  4. Seek the most efficient organization of staff and operational modes to ensure effective means of upholding and advancing the Winterthur Library’s tradition of excellent and expert service to patrons, including researchers, staff, students.
  5. Actively manage the budget and operating procedures for all areas of library.
  6. Serve as liaison for students’ needs as they relate to the library.
  7. Ensure the safety, security, and longevity of the library facility through space planning, collections emergency, and collections policies.
  8. Represent the Library in the cultivation and stewardship of supporters and donors.


Minimum Experience:  Master of Library Science (MLS, MSLS, MLIS) with 5-8 years progressive work experience in a research library or with special collections

Preferred Experience: Master of Library Science (MLS, MSLS, MLIS) plus advanced studies in History, American Studies, Art History, Art Conservation of related field. 8+ years of progressive work experience in a research library or special collections

  1. Demonstrated leadership skills and a history of progressively increasing levels of management responsibility.
  2. Excellent written and verbal communication skills.
  3. Demonstrated ability to collaborate effectively with staff, peers, senior management, faculty and students, and colleagues at partner institutions.
  4. Knowledge of rare book, archives, and manuscript collections stewardship, conservation and collecting.
  5. Experience in teaching and public engagement with special collections. 
  6. Demonstrated ability to manage multiple projects and competing deadlines.
  7. Demonstrated excellence in interpersonal and communication.
  8. Experience utilizing and promoting new technologies that advance teaching, learning, student success, collections stewardship, scholarly communications, and research endeavors. 
  9. Demonstrated experience managing budgets (e.g., collections, personnel, operations), writing grants, negotiating contracts, and general library administration. 
  10. Flexibility and reliability in a fast-paced, multifaceted work environment
  11. Understanding of the role of a research library within museum or cultural institution.
  12. Broad understanding of scholarship in humanities and conservation, material culture of historical library materials, visual culture, and digital humanities. 
  13. Thorough proficiency in Microsoft Word, Outlook, and Excel and Library software tools with willingness to learn new computer programs required.


  1. Ability to undertake proper care and handling of library collections
  2. Must be able to stoop or bend to reach books on lower shelves
  3. Must be able to reach books on upper shelves using library stools  
  4. Must be able to lift and move books and archival boxes up to 25 lbs, and push full book carts.  
  5. Must be able to tolerate temperatures of 60-65 degrees for short periods.  
  6. Ability to work at a computer for up to 8 hours a day

Submit your application here. 

Compensation: $75,000 - $82,000

Benefits: Including, but not limited to, medical, dental, and vision insurance; generous paid time off plan; 403b with employer match for eligible employees. 

Work Schedule: Monday–Friday 8:30 am–4:30 pm, plus one additional monthly Saturday. Occasional evening and weekend work as necessary to accommodate programs, meetings and events.