Boston Public Library

700 Boylston Street
Boston, MA 02116

Date Posted:
July 23, 2019

Eastern Massachusetts



Manager of the Arts


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Position Overview

The Boston Public Library’s Arts Department houses hundreds of thousands of important works of art and visual materials (prints, drawings, watercolors, photographs, and paintings), original music and performing arts collections, sculpture, and architectural plans and drawings. Holdings also include significant research and reference materials relating to the arts, decoration, art history, architectural history, design, and music theory including monographs, exhibition catalogs, auction records, periodicals, scores, ephemera, and catalogues raisonnes.

The Manager of the Arts is responsible for stewardship and management of the diverse collections, services, programs, and administration of the Arts Department; promoting the use, discovery, care, and servicing of these collections; oversight of specialized and complex reference services; and development of these collections in support of the library’s collecting strategy and mission.

Reports to

Head of Special Collections


Professional and support staff

Scope of Responsibility

1. Plans and manages the services, operations, and staff of the Arts Department in the Central Library. Assumes responsibility for supervising, developing, scheduling, and evaluating staff. Actively encourages the participation of each staff member in the ongoing commitment to serving the public and creating a positive user experience. Builds a learning environment in the team. Reviews and evaluates training needs for staff within the team and assigns staff to attend trainings as needed.

2. Oversees the day-to-day operations of the Arts Department.

3. Actively promotes and supports the use of the Arts Department collections. Works collaboratively to provide reference, research, outreach, interpretation, and instructional services in the Central Library including planning and implementation of new services, and evaluation of existing services.

4. Works with the curators, Collections and Content Discovery teams to develop and implement procedures, standards, workflows, and best practices for making the collection accessible through collection analysis and management, selection, organization, description, and cataloging.

5. In collaboration with the curators, Collections, and Preservation teams, contributes to the development and implementation of policies, procedures, standards, workflows, and best practices for environmental controls, storage, security, housing, and handling of Arts special collections.

6. In collaboration with curators and the Content Discovery team, establishes digitization priorities for prints and arts collections and designs and implements project plans to address those priorities.

7. Performs very difficult and complex reference and research services in person, by appointment, on the phone and by correspondence by responding to requests for information and answering such requests by using informational resources in all formats.

8. Contributes to the development of the collections through an understanding of the collection’s strengths, their use, scholarly trends, and the identification and pursuit of particular collecting opportunities.

9. In collaboration with curators, oversees the selection, evaluation, and maintenance of materials within established collecting areas and in alignment with the Library’s Collection Development Policy. This includes assisting with purchasing decisions, suggesting areas for future growth, and reviewing donations and gift proposals. Contributes to cultivation and stewardship of prospective donors and identification of potential collections for acquisition.

10. Oversees acquisition budget and trust funds for all subjects that fall within the team’s area of responsibility.

11. Contributes as appropriate to the development of grant narratives, work plans, and budgets.

12. Participates in the development and implementation of innovative online services that connect library users with the Arts collections, lowers hurdles to access for researchers, and facilitates the sharing of knowledge among users. Develops subject related content for the Library’s website.

13. Provides leadership in the development and presentation of outreach and programming activities to promote use of the Arts Department collections and services.

14. Alternates with other staff members in supervising a public reading room in such a way as to maintain an atmosphere conducive to research while responsibly preserving and protecting materials.

15. Provides instruction to the public on a variety of topics, including the use of library resources that support the use of collections and services in the Arts collections. Works with Community Learning teams to develop and implement subject-related instruction based on user need.

16. Assumes responsibility for collecting and analyzing data on Arts collection usage and recommending most appropriate location based on remote storage best practices.

17. Takes a leadership role in building library-wide collaborative approaches to meet service needs by actively engaging in outreach with colleagues throughout the library system. Develops and promotes cross-departmental and cross-institutional collaboration needed to promote deeper connections and understanding of user needs, collection strengths, and staff expertise.

18. Commits to keeping current in the best practices of the profession by taking advantage of training and development activities, by reading professional literature, and by participating in professional activities.

19. Represents library at local and national conferences.

20. Performs other related and comparable duties as assigned.



? Deep expertise in one or more of the Arts content areas. Broad knowledge of best practices in library work with all formats, including familiarity with pertinent professional literature and preservation practices.

? Successfully demonstrated leadership experience within a library, museum or other similar cultural heritage institution, with substantial supervisory experience and fiscal responsibility.

? Ability to identify, plan, and prioritize job responsibilities and tasks and determine and implement project timelines.

? Demonstrated ability to engage staff and external constituencies in the collaborative planning, coordination, and execution of new services or programs.

? Ability to execute library policy.

? Ability to demonstrate vision, strategic thinking, initiative, collaboration, flexibility and adaptability; and willingness to embrace change.

? Ability to recognize and set priorities and to use initiative and independent decision-making skills.

? Proficiency with Microsoft Outlook, Word, PowerPoint, and Excel.

? Ability to work collaboratively and proactively with various advisory groups and levels of staff in a team environment.

? Ability to work independently and to initiate proposals for implementation.

? Excellent interpersonal, written, and oral communication skills.

? Strong familiarity with technology and information literacy principles, standards, and modes of teaching.

? Willingness and proven ability to work successfully with customers both internal and external; professional demeanor.

? Ability to think creatively and innovatively.


1. Education – Bachelor’s degree from a recognized college or university and a master’s degree in library and information science from an accredited library school. A second master’s degree in an arts related field, or advanced coursework that would increase the knowledge of arts materials is highly preferred. Pertinent subject knowledge and/or specialized training required. In exceptional instances specialized education, training, and/or experience may be substituted for a part or all of the educational requirements.

2. Experience – Seven years relevant experience from a library, museum, or other similar cultural heritage institution. Two years supervisory and/or management experience required.

3. Requirements–Technology skills appropriate to perform the duties of the job. Work some evenings and weekend hours. Excellent public service skills.

4. Residency– Must be a resident of the City of Boston upon the first day of hire.

5. CORI – Must successfully clear a Criminal Offenders Record Information check with the City of Boston.

Apply by:
August 30, 2019
$78,455.69 - $102,575.03
About this Organization:
A leading American historian has called the Boston Public Library (BPL) one of the five great libraries of the world. Over 3.5 million people visit the Boston Public Library every year to use its collection of twenty two million books, maps, manuscripts, photographs, prints, drawings and other items. Another eight million people connect with the BPL through its website to use its services and the growing collection of electronic resources, downloadable media and digitized rare books, maps and manuscripts.

Among its preeminent collections, the BPL holds a First Folio by William Shakespeare; original music scores by Mozart, Prokofiev and others; and the personal library of President John Adams. In addition, the BPL is home to the renowned Norman B. Leventhal Map Center, which includes over 200,000 historic maps and 5,000 atlases from all over the world. Over 10,000 programs and classes attract thousands of residents from across diverse neighborhoods and cultural groups. Award winning online and in-library homework assistance sessions, literacy classes, author programs and computer training sessions are also a popular draw.

The BPL is a department of the municipal government of Boston and a statutory charitable organization governed by a board of nine Trustees appointed by the Mayor.