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Head of Rare Books and Special Collections, University of Toronto Deadline: August 3, 2022

23 Jun 2022 11:27 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

Head of Rare Books and Special Collections
University of Toronto

Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Compensation: Minimum salary: LIB III: $94,466; LIB IV: $111,305 (Rank and salary will be commensurate with experience and academic/professional qualifications).

The University of Toronto Library seeks an experienced, knowledgeable, and innovative rare book librarian (Librarian III or IV) to provide leadership for the overall operation and administration of the Department of Rare Books and Special Collections in the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library.

The University of Toronto is one of the world's great universities, distinguished by an extraordinary depth and breadth of excellence. The University of Toronto Libraries System is the largest academic library in Canada and is consistently ranked in the top ten among academic research libraries in North America. The system consists of 40 libraries located on three university campuses: St. George, Mississauga, and Scarborough. This array of college libraries, special collections, and specialized libraries and information centres supports the teaching and research requirements of over 300 graduate programs, more than 70 professional programs, and about 700 undergraduate degree programs. In addition to more than 12 million volumes in 341 languages, the library system currently provides access to millions of electronic resources in various forms and over 31,000 linear meters of archival material. More than 150,000 new print volumes are acquired each year. The Libraries' data centre houses more than 500 servers with a storage capacity of 1.5 petabytes.

The Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library is one of the largest repositories of publicly accessible rare books and archives in Canada. The collections are many and varied, reflecting the wide diversity of teaching and research conducted at the University of Toronto. The Library holds materials ranging from ancient papyrus fragments to contemporary artists' books, with many manuscript and print traditions from around the world strongly represented. The extensive archival collections focus on the papers of Canadian authors and cultural figures. Areas of particular strength include Canadian history and literature, European literature and philosophy, Hebraica and Judaica, the history and art of the book, the history of science and medicine, and Islamic manuscripts.

Description and Duties    

The Head of Rare Books and Special Collections (The Head) is responsible for building collections and developing programs and services to meet the growing needs of a diverse community of faculty, visiting scholars, and graduate and undergraduate students and promoting use of the collections in traditional and new methods of research. Reporting to the Associate Librarian for Special Collections, the incumbent will contribute to a dynamic division of five departments (Rare Books and Special Collections, the Cheng Yu Teng East Asian Library, Media Commons Archives, the Richard Charles Lee Canada-Hong Kong Library, and the University of Toronto Archives and Records Management Services) to build excellent research collections and supporting services.

Areas of oversight include:

  • Responsibility for the management, operations, coordination, and strategic direction of the Department;
  • Hiring, training, mentoring and assigning work priorities to a staff of more than sixteen employees including librarians and other skilled department members;
  • Managing the acquisition and processing of print and manuscript materials in multiple formats through purchase and donation;
  • Reference and public service activities;
  • Overseeing the diverse pedagogic uses of collections by staff, students, and faculty.
  • Expanding and nurturing strategic relationships with various external stakeholders, including alumni, Friends of the Fisher community members, and donors; and
  • Serving as an ambassador for the Department and its collections.

The Head of Rare Books and Special Collections will develop strategic directions through collaborative relationships with colleagues throughout the University of Toronto Libraries, including advancement staff, administrative colleagues, and senior library management. The Head will develop collaborative relationships and programming with donors, the Friends of Fisher, members of the book trade, researchers, faculty, students, and other communities of interest in rare books and special collections.

As a collegial member of the Rare Books and Special Collections team, the department head will directly participate in library activities including reference services, cataloguing, seminars and teaching, digitization projects, and exhibitions.


  • A degree from an accredited Master's level program in library and information studies;
  • Demonstrated commitment to the values of equity, inclusivity, diversity and accessibility;
  • Relevant managerial/administrative experience in rare books and special collections, with proven team-building skills;
  • Proven experience and expertise in building rare book and special collections;
  • Successful record of attracting donations of funds and gifts-in-kind;
  • Deep knowledge of the rare book trade;
  • Demonstrated proficiency in several of the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library's collecting areas;
  • Demonstrated commitment to ongoing learning and professional growth;
  • Strong evidence of a growth mindset: a librarian who demonstrates flexibility, creativity, and resilience;
  • Outstanding oral and written communication skills;
  • Ability to advocate on behalf of the library to increase public funds and ensure that resources are up to date; and
  • Relevant research experience, publication, teaching or demonstrated record of scholarly activity.


  • An advanced degree in a relevant subject area;
  • Additional language skills;
  • Experience with special collections digitization projects.

Regularly named one of Canada's Top 100 Employers and one of Canada's Best Diversity Employers, the University of Toronto strives to be an equitable and inclusive community, is strongly committed to diversity, and especially welcomes applications from racialized persons / persons of colour, women, Indigenous Aboriginal People of North America, persons with disabilities, LGBTQ persons, and others who may contribute to the further diversification of ideas.

The University of Toronto is committed to the principles of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA). In accordance with the AODA, accommodation will be provided to individuals with disabilities throughout the recruitment process. If you require accommodation in order to participate as a candidate in the recruitment process, please contact or communicate your needs to the recruitment professional named in the job description.

Please note that all qualified candidates are encouraged to apply, however applications from Canadians and permanent residents will be given priority.

1. A cover letter
2. Curriculum vitae
3. Contact information for three references of which at least two have supervised your work.

If you're interested in this opportunity, contact Amorell Saunders N'Daw ( or Bola Moradeyo (, or submit your application online at:

Application Webpage:

Application Deadline: August 3, 2022


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