Assistant Dean for Historical Collections – UAB Libraries, Birmingham, AL

The UAB Libraries has expressly engaged Jack Farrell & Associates to find the winning candidate for this important position. Interested parties should provide a CV and 2-page cover letter (instructions on letter below) to Mike Bennett ( Thank you. 

Birmingham, AL

The University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) Libraries seek an innovative, creative, and dynamic professional for the position of Assistant Dean for Historical Collections. This position, reporting to the Dean of Libraries, will provide administrative oversight and coordinate operations of three Historical Collections units (Reynolds-Finley Historical Library, Alabama Museum of the Health Sciences, and University Archives). In close collaboration with the Dean of UAB Libraries and Historical Collections faculty and staff, this position will ensure dynamic, relevant, and cohesive programming, outreach, and collection development and preservation for UAB’s historical collections.

The Historical Collections at the UAB Libraries encompass:

  • The Alabama Museum of the Health Sciences, a collection of artifacts, equipment, and apparatus documenting the history of medicine in all the health science professional fields.
  • UAB Archives, the official archival repository for the university that documents all areas of campus which also includes a wide range of manuscript collections in the health sciences, the social sciences, and the humanities.
  • The Reynolds-Finley Historical Library, a history of medicine and science collection with rare books and manuscript texts dating from the 14th through the mid-20th centuries.
  • The Sterne Rare Book Collection, a specialized collection of published material from the 18th through the 20th centuries

Specific duties include:

·      Provides administrative oversight for the Historical Collections units, including direct supervision of three department heads (Curator of RFHL, Curator of AMHS, and University Archivist), budget, policies, priorities, strategy, assessment, and grant- writing.

·      Works with the Dean of Libraries and the Historical Collections faculty and staff to set a vision for the department, and promotes this vision to stakeholders, including donors, faculty, and researchers.

·      Coordinates the efforts to preserve, promote, publicize, and expand awareness of historical collections through digitization, exhibits, programs, displays, public lectures, workshops, tours, and other methods. Collaborates with and supports the department heads of the Historical Collections units in their similar efforts. Works closely with the Department of Digitization and Digital Preservation on digitization and digital preservation initiatives.

·      Works closely with the RFHL Steering Committee and other relevant groups to cultivate productive working relationship with the Historical Collections’ supporters.

·      In collaboration with the Dean, liaises between Historical Collections and UAB Advancement to engage and cultivate current and future donors to UAB Libraries’ Historical Collections.

·      Contributes to teaching, learning, and research on campus by collaborating with the Historical Collections faculty and staff on hosting workshops, providing in-class instruction, and leading seminars using historical collection materials.

·      Serves on the libraries’ leadership team and integrates the work of the Historical Collections units with the libraries as a whole.

Minimum Requirements:

  • MLS/MLIS from an ALA accredited institution or an MA in Museum Studies (preferably with professional library experience)
  • Progressively responsible leadership experience in a special or historical collections library, museum, or archives
  • Record of accomplishment in scholarly publishing, presentations, and professional service to meet faculty qualifications
  • Exceptional written and oral communication skills

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Advanced degree in history or another relevant subject field
  • Experience in a collection with a strong health science component
  • Experience providing outreach to academic and scholarly communities
  • Proven ability to maintain relationships with donors and supporters
  • Experience in grant writing, fundraising, and event planning
  • Teaching experience at the university level
  • Knowledge and experience in the maintenance and preservation of library, archival, and museum collections, both physical and digital collections
  • Demonstrated understanding of the application of technology in the service of special collections

About UAB and Birmingham

UAB has been ranked as the top Young University in the United States for two consecutive years by Times Higher Education, and Forbes recently named UAB America’s No. 1 Best Large Employer, No. 4 in the nation among Best Employers for Diversity. UAB has been consistently recognized among a select few universities as a Diversity Champion by Insight into Diversity for the institution’s longstanding commitment to shared values that include diversity, inclusion and respect. UAB —among one of the most diverse campuses in the nation — is committed to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion efforts and creating an environment that can serve as a model for the kind of society we strive to build. UAB is the first university in the United States to adopt the Okanagan Charter and become an internationally recognized Health Promoting University.

Downtown Birmingham has enjoyed a revitalization in recent years, with the development of Railroad Park — an award-winning urban park — and its adjacent Regions Field, home to the minor league Birmingham Barons — an award-winning stadium. The park and stadium projects have kickstarted major growth in surrounding districts, including craft breweries, boutique shops, restaurants, loft and apartment buildings, innovative workspaces, and hotels.

There are a host of attractions only a short walk from UAB’s campus, the Birmingham Civil Rights District National Monument, composed of sites such as Sixteenth Street Baptist Church, Kelly Ingram Park and the Civil Rights Institute — a major destination for visitors from around the world. Birmingham’s cultural scene is thriving, with museums, numerous galleries, music and arts festivals, theaters and live music venues, a professional ballet company, a professional opera company, a School of Fine Arts, the Jazz Hall of Fame, and the recent restoration of the historic Lyric and Alabama theaters. Birmingham is in proximity to many state and national parks, lakes, urban greenspaces, and hiking and biking trails. The city has more green space per capita than any other major city in the United States.

UAB Libraries are committed to advancing equitable access to information, intellectual freedom, and the public good for the UAB community and the community at large. We recognize our social responsibility to advocate for marginalized voices and to inform and educate to promote diversity, equity, inclusion, and mutual respect.

UAB is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer committed to fostering a diverse, equitable and family-friendly environment in which all faculty and staff can excel and achieve work/life balance irrespective of, race, national origin, age, genetic or family medical history, gender, faith, gender identity and expression as well as sexual orientation. UAB also encourages applications from individuals with disabilities and veterans.

A pre-employment background check investigation is performed on candidates selected for employment.

Learn more about the University of Alabama at Birmingham here.
Learn more about the UAB Libraries here.
Learn more about the University of Alabama Historical Collections here.



NOTE: The UAB Libraries has expressly engaged Jack Farrell & Associates ( to find the winning candidate for this important position. Interested candidates should provide a CV and 2-page cover by email to Mike Bennett ( The cover letter should address: 1) why am I interested?, 2) how am I qualified?, and 3) what might the Historical Collections unit look like in several years under my stewardship? Thank you.  JO 202305043

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