Visual Materials Processing Archivist

Department: Library Special Collections

Rank and Salary: Assistant –Associate Librarian ($48,438 – $80,400)

Position Availability: Immediately

Application deadline for first consideration: May 31, 2017

This is a 2-year temporary position.

Description of Institution and Library

As one of the world’s great public research universities, UCLA integrates education, research, and public service so that each enriches and extends the others. From its beautiful neighborhood campus in a uniquely diverse and vibrant city on the Pacific Rim, teaching and research extend beyond the classroom, office, and lab through active engagement with communities, organizations, projects, and partnerships throughout the region and around the world.

UCLA’s diverse community of scholars encompasses nearly 30,000 undergraduates pursuing 125 majors, 13,000 graduate students in fifty-nine research programs, and 4,000 faculty members including Nobel Laureates; Rhodes Scholars; MacArthur Fellows; winners of the Fields Medal, National Medal of Science, Pritzker Prize, and Pulitzer Prize; and recipients of Oscars, Emmys, Tonys, and Golden Globes. UCLA ranks tenth in the Times of London Higher Education World Reputation Rankings, twelfth in the Academic Ranking of World Universities by Shanghai Jiao Tong University, and fifth in the U.S. by Washington Monthly. The National Research Council ranks forty of its graduate and doctoral research programs among its top ten.

To enable these accomplished students, faculty, and staff to create, disseminate, and apply knowledge for the benefit of global society, the UCLA Library is re-envisioning how it is acquired, synthesized, and shared across academic audiences and with the public.  It was among the first academic libraries to develop subject-specialist librarians and to launch a program to enhance students’ research skills. Its Special Collections pioneered the acquisition by public institutions of rare and unique books, children’s literature, pulp and detective fiction, works by or about women and minorities, screenplays, architectural plans, and Los Angeles-related materials and today leads the way in collecting archival resources in digital format such as emails and manuscripts.  It has launched innovative data management services and an affordable course materials initiative that have served as models for other libraries.

The Library serves UCLA students, faculty, and staff whenever and wherever they need its resources and expertise. Reconfigured, high-tech spaces and services in its ten campus libraries enable users and librarians to explore and work with print and digital materials collaboratively or individually, pursue new lines of inquiry, and develop new pedagogical approaches as well as novel forms of scholarship.  More than 3.5 million people visit annually, while an additional 3.4 million visitors enter online through its virtual front doors.

Whether on campus or online, the Library forms the intellectual heart of UCLA, a hub for cutting-edge discovery, scholarship, and instruction.

Library Special Collections (LSC) is an enterprise-wide, organizational entity within the UCLA Library System that integrates special collections resources, services, and operations. Central to this re-organized unit is a curatorial team of four subject experts (Performing Arts, University Archives, History of Science and Medicine, Collecting Los Angeles), three format specific curators (Rare Books, Visual Materials, Manuscripts), and the Head of the Center for Oral History Research. LSC also includes three administrative sections: Collection Management, Research and Instructional Services, and Administrative Services. The Collection Management Section centralizes the acquisitions, rare book cataloging, and processing of special collections materials; coordinates lending processes; and integrates collaboration with the Cataloging and Metadata Center, the Preservation Program, and the Digital Library Program. The Research and Instructional Services Section integrates public services for LSC, including centralized reference and instructional services, and exhibitions and programs. The Administrative Services Section consolidates the planning, budget, human resources, fundraising, assessment, technology, and events functions of LSC. The entire staff of approximately 30 FTE work together as a team to build, preserve, and provide access to the outstanding special collections of the UCLA Library.

Position Duties

Reporting to the Head of Processing Projects/Co-Head of Collection Management and working closely and conferring as needed with the curator of the collection, the Visual Materials Processing Archivist designs and carries out archival processing, focusing on the photographic archives of dance photographer Barbara Morgan (1900-1992) and photographer Willard Morgan (1900-1967), and for other archival collections in the areas of design and the visual arts, according to current best practices and standards.

Specific duties and responsibilities include:

  • Creates standard finding aids with appropriate levels of descriptions, and composes biographical/historical and scope and content notes using Archivists’ Toolkit.
  • Works in consultation with the Head of Processing Projects to determine arrangement schemes and supply needs, and strategies to handle administrative tasks.
  • Works in consultation with the Curator/Manuscripts Librarian and the Head of Processing Projects in analysis of the materials requiring detailed description and/or digitization.
  • Responsible for project management, daily workflow, and meeting deadlines.
  • Works in consultation with UCLA and contract conservators to determine housing, preservation and conservation remediation needs of photographic materials and works of art on paper.
  • Rehouses material in archival containers and prepares material for storage.
  • Works in consultation with the Heads of Collection Management and Manuscripts Librarian to determine digitization needs.
  • Prepares and submits imaging requests following internal digitization protocol.
  • Provides assistance to Public Services staff with research in response to reference questions about collections the Visual Materials Processing Archivist has processed.
  • Prepares statistical, narrative, and visual reports suitable for official project reporting and as submissions for the LSC blog and elsewhere.
  • Occasionally gives presentations to staff and/or the public about collections the Visual Materials Processing Archivist has processed.
  • Assists Head of Processing Projects with other project tasks as needed.
  • Participates in the work of LSC and Library-wide committees and groups such as the Processors’ Group and the Collection Management Division.

Required Qualifications

  • ALA-accredited Master’s Degree in Library or Information Science OR significant graduate-level coursework toward such a degree OR equivalent education and experience (subject expertise combined with professional library education and/or experience) OR an advanced degree in an appropriate subject discipline with relevant special collections or archival training.
  • Three to five years of progressively responsible experience in a manuscripts repository, including processing and producing finding aids for archival collections, preferably of a significant size.
  • Experience in arranging and describing photographic and visual materials in an archival setting according to accepted national standards.
  • Competence in the proper handling, care and storage of photographic and visual materials.
  • Knowledge of nationally-accepted archival standards for description, such as Describing Archives: a Content Standard (DACS).
  • Ability to research, identify and describe visual material in a variety of formats, using proper sources for authority control such as the Union List of Artist Names (ULAN) and vocabularies for visual materials such as the Art and Architecture Thesaurus (AAT), Thesaurus for Graphic Materials (TGM) and others.
  • Experience appraising, arranging, describing, and preserving modern archival collections.
  • Ability to survey archival collections and create processing work plans.
  • Demonstrated sound judgment and proficiency in working independently, setting priorities, meeting goals and following through on assignments. Ability to adjust priorities and procedures as directed by changing goals and objectives.
  • Exceptional organizational skills in order to maintain progress on multiple projects concurrently.
  • Attention to detail, demonstrated capacity for carrying out tasks in an accurate manner, and an ability to check own work for accuracy.
  • Computer skills to include use of word-processing and database software, such as MS Word and MS Access, and familiarity with Archivists’ Toolkit or similar applications.
  • Excellent written communication skills to compose archival materials descriptions. Demonstrated ability to develop written project documentation, process procedures, reports, etc.
  • Excellent oral communication skills, specifically to interact effectively with individuals from diverse backgrounds and to effectively present information in group settings.
  • Ability to lift, shift, and shelve boxes weighing up to 25 lbs.
  • Ability to initiate and maintain cooperative working relationships with co-workers, supervisors, and managers. Ability to work harmoniously and as a team player, thrive in a team-based environment, and skill in fostering teamwork among others.
  • Ability to follow directions from supervisors and to provide clear directions to staff.
  • Ability to get to work reliably and on time and to be present in the workplace during normal working hours.

Desired Qualifications

  • Ability to supervise student employees, delegating appropriate tasks and monitoring progress.
  • Specific academic subject knowledge in the history of photography and visual arts.
  • Experience in processing archival collections on dance.

General Information

Professional librarians at UCLA are academic appointees. Librarians at UCLA are represented by an exclusive bargaining agent, University Council – American Federation of Teachers (UC-AFT). This is a represented position. They are entitled to appropriate professional leave, two days per month of vacation leave, one day per month of sick leave, and all other benefits granted to non-faculty academic personnel. The University has an excellent retirement system and sponsors a variety of group health, dental, vision, and life insurance plans in addition to other benefits.

Appointees to the librarian series at UC shall have professional backgrounds that demonstrate a high degree of creativity, teamwork, and flexibility.  Such background will normally include a professional degree from an ALA-accredited library and information science graduate program.  In addition to professional competence and quality of service within the library in the primary job, advancement in the librarian series requires professional involvement and contributions outside of the library, and/or university and community service, and/or scholarly activities.  Candidates must show evidence or promise of such contributions.

Application Procedures

Anyone wishing to be considered for this position should apply here:

Applications must include:

  • a cover letter describing qualifications and experience;
  • a current resume/vitae detailing education and relevant experience; and
  • the names and contact information for three professional references, including a current or previous supervisor.

Candidates applying by May 31, 2017, will be given first consideration for this position.  UCLA welcomes and encourages diversity and seeks applications and nominations from women and minorities.  UCLA seeks to recruit and retain a diverse workforce as a reflection of our commitment to serve the people of California, to maintain the excellence of the university, and to offer our students richly varied disciplines, perspectives, and ways of knowing and learning.

The University of California is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer.  All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, age or protected veteran status.  For the complete University of California nondiscrimination and affirmative action policy see:  UC Nondiscrimination and Affirmative Action Policy at

Under federal law, the University of California may employ only individuals who are legally authorized to work in the United States as established by providing documents specified in the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986.  Employment is contingent upon completion of satisfactory background investigation.

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