Head of Library and Archives – Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco

ARLIS/NA JobList ,

The Head of Library & Archives supervises and provides direction for the operations of the Museums' multiple research libraries and archival collections located both at the de Young and Legion of Honor; manages the activities of library and archives staff, volunteers, and interns; administers an art historical research collection on subjects ranging from ancient to contemporary art; and performs all related duties including circulation, cataloging, processing, reference, instruction, outreach, policy and procedure implementation, systems administration, collection development, collection management, preservation management, budget management, volunteer and intern management, grant writing, and donor relations.

Typical Duties and Responsibilities:

  1. Administration: Evaluates, develops, and directs the writing of policies and procedures in connection with library and archives functions and activities. Prepares and manages departmental budgets and works to secure grants and other funding. Evaluates and plans for library and archives space, maintenance, supply, and personnel needs.  Identifies and documents holdings of the Museums' decentralized, hard copy historic material. Works with the Leadership Team to establish a formal archives and records management program for the Museums.  Participates in Museum-wide emergency planning and response for collections.
  2. Public Services: Performs library- and archives-related reference and research for museum staff and outside patrons. Assesses needs and develops bibliographic instruction tools and programs for all library users. Supervises and performs circulation. Liaises with professional associations and with colleagues at local and regional arts reference/research libraries and archives.  
  3. Collection Development: Establishes and implements library collection development policies for all materials. Evaluates current acquisitions methods and develops and implements new policies and practices.  Assesses current collection and performs weeding as needed.  Establishes and maintains relationships with art book vendors. Consults with curatorial, conservation, and other staff to keep informed of research needs and to alert users to new materials.
  4. Staff Management: Manages library and archives staff.  Oversees and coordinates selection and supervision of volunteers and interns. Hires and trains new staff; selects and trains volunteers and interns or delegates to library and archives staff. Identifies and pursues opportunities to augment paid, professional library and archive staff by proposing plans to FAMSF leadership, in order to support FAMSF institutional mission.
  5. Electronic Resources and Support: Evaluates current electronic resources, assesses and recommends practical and effective tools and practices to enhance capacity as possible and as needed. Works cross-departmentally (including with IT and Digital), to promote and make available library and archives materials and services internally and, as appropriate, on the Internet.
  6. Liaison: Acts as liaison for the library and archives within the Museums. Attends department head-level meetings to represent library and archives and its staff; keeps library and archives staff informed of all relevant FAMSF initiatives and activities.  Remains aware of changes in best practices for libraries and archives and advises or trains library staff and researchers accordingly.


Minimum Qualifications:

Education: Master's Degree in Library Science (MLS), or Master's Degree in Library Information Science (MLIS) from an ALA-accredited library school. Advanced history of art degree preferred.

Work Experience:  Minimum of five years of progressively responsible administrative experience in an art or museum library setting including: staff management, financial management, public services, collection development, and facilities and digital resource planning.  Experience in archives management and processing.

Skills and Abilities:

  • Knowledge of the history of art relating to the Museums' collections: ancient art; European painting, decorative arts, and sculpture; works on paper; art of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas; textiles and costume arts; American painting, decorative arts, and sculpture; and contemporary art.
  • Comprehensive knowledge of current library and archives methods, procedures, and techniques as applied to both public and technical services, including preservation trends and applications.
  • Knowledge of art book trade.
  • Working knowledge of one or more modern languages in addition to English preferred.
  • Knowledge of current archival and records management methods, procedures, and techniques as applied to both public and technical services, including preservation trends and applications.
  • Ability to gather and analyze information effectively, and to make and articulate rationale for informed decisions.
  • Familiarity with computer-based information resources.
  • Ability to work as part of a team and collaborate with others.
  • Excellent and proven oral and written communication skills and interpersonal skills.
  • Demonstrated leadership skills including the ability to promote library and archival issues and needs.
  • Ability to be flexible, responsive, and resourceful in an evolving work environment.
  • Active involvement in professional organizations desired.

Working Conditions:

Physical Demands:  Manual dexterity required to use Library equipment and materials.  Ability to visually monitor and evaluate the work and work areas.  Ability to carry out physical efforts associated with library and archival work that could include lifting, carrying, pushing, pulling, kneeling, climbing, balancing, stooping, crouching, and/or reaching.


This position is full-time, 40 hours a week. The benefits package includes medical, dental, vision and 401(k), and paid time off. 

Application Deadline: Open until filled 

Salary: $90,000-$110,000 commensurate with education and experience.


If you require an alternative method of completing this application please contact humanresources@famsf.org.

All new COFAM employees are required to be vaccinated against COVID-19 as a condition of employment. Please contact humanresources@famsf.org with any questions.