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Visual Resources Librarian for Islamic Art and Architecture, Harvard University (Cambridge)

Harvard University

Visual Resources Librarian for Islamic Art and Architecture
Harvard College Library

Job Summary

Although the position will remain posted until filled, applicants are strongly encouraged to apply by end of day on July 8, 2022.

The Fine Arts Library (FAL) seeks an innovative, collaborative, and user-centered Visual Resources Librarian for Islamic Art and Architecture for its Digital Images and Slides Collection. Reporting to the Visual Resources Librarian, the incumbent will develop and manage the Fine Art Library's collection of visual materials related to the art, architecture, and visual culture of the Islamic world in all formats, including digital images, 35 mm and glass lantern slides, historic photographs and albums, illustrated publications, postcards, and ephemera. Working in a patron-oriented service environment, this position provides assistance to faculty, students, and researchers in all aspects of research, teaching, and learning with Islamic visual materials held in the Fine Arts Library, as well as with related online resources. Additional responsibilities include the implementation of appropriate and forward-looking image metadata schemas, enhancing digital access to collections, and assisting in the development and promotion of Fine Arts Library resources and services. The incumbent works closely with the Librarian for Islamic Art and Architecture and the Photographic Resources Librarian in the Fine Arts Library, as well as the faculty, students, fellows, and staff affiliated with the Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture (AKPIA) at Harvard University, as well as the broader community at Harvard.
Position Description

Collection Management, Development, and Access
Acquires, evaluates, and identifies visual resources in all formats for FAL's teaching and research collections in Islamic art and architecture, setting collection priorities to meet research and curricular needs and to ensure that diverse perspectives, underrepresented artists and artistic traditions, and at-risk cultural heritage within the Islamic world are meaningfully represented.
Manages digitization, access, and physical arrangement of relevant materials in FAL's 35 mm slide collection, including the Stuart Cary Welch Islamic and South Asian Photograph Collection, and promotes the collections as a resource for research, teaching, and learning.
Together with the Visual Resources Librarian, coordinates and prioritizes the production (e.g., scanning, uploading, cataloging, etc.) of different digital products to ensure timely service to users.
Coordinates workflow and quality control for digitization of Islamic visual materials in conjunction with Harvard Library Imaging Services staff or designated outside vendors, as directed.
Provides intellectual control for Islamic visual materials using JSTOR Forum and other tools, collaborates with colleagues to establish best practices and authority control, and applies innovative methodologies for efficiency in metadata creation.
Together with the Visual Resources Librarian, develops, coordinates, and executes plans for effective arrangement and physical storage of collections of Islamic visual resources, both on- and off-site.
Together with the Visual Resources Librarian and the Librarian for Islamic Art and Architecture, develops long-range objectives for Islamic visual collections, including planning and implementing projects involving digitization, exhibition, and/or dissemination.
Together with the Librarian for Islamic Art and Architecture and the Photographic Resources Librarian, assists in the assessment and selection of historic photographs and other visual materials in the FAL for digitization, preservation, or special projects.

Outreach and Engagement
Provides subject-specific reference, research, and instruction services for visual materials in Islamic art and architecture for faculty, students, and researchers throughout the University community.
Promotes services and sets collection priorities based on research and curricular needs of faculty, students, fellows, and staff affiliated with the Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture at Harvard University, as well as the Department of History of Art and Architecture, The Aga Khan Program at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, The Center for Middle East Studies, The Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Islamic Studies Program, Department of Art, Film, and Visual Studies, and The Harvard Art Museums, among others.
Selects and provides images in appropriate formats for use in teaching, and assists faculty and students in integrating visual and presentation technologies in lectures, course websites, etc.
Prepares online research guides, reference tools, and finding aids for Islamic visual materials.


Basic Qualifications
Master's degree in library and/or information science or equivalent experience
Advanced degree or equivalent experience in the history of art and architecture of Islamic cultures, or the equivalent combination of education, experience, and/or background, etc.
2+ years related professional experience
Experience with cataloging and applying metadata standards
Knowledge of at least one language relevant to the collection (e.g., Arabic, Turkish, Farsi, Urdu, etc.)

Additional Qualifications and Skills

4+ years related professional experience preferred

Knowledge of the historic and contemporary fields of Islamic art and architecture and historical study and their constituent disciplines

Working knowledge of more than one language relevant to the collection (e.g., Arabic, Turkish, Farsi, Urdu, etc.)

Working knowledge of Western European languages (e.g., French, German, Spanish, Italian, etc.)

Experience working with visual resources, photographic, or special collections in an academic setting

Excellent interpersonal and communication skills to work effectively with culturally diverse library users and colleagues

Strong technology skills and enthusiasm for adopting innovative approaches that expand access to collections and to facilitate their use in research, teaching, and learning

Demonstrated knowledge of image collections and digital projects related to visual culture and history of the Islamic world

Record of engagement with professional groups and activities and/or contributions to professional or scholarly literature

Demonstrated commitment to equity, diversity, inclusion, belonging and anti-racism

Physical Requirements

Ability to use a desktop (keyboard, monitor, and mouse) and mobile computing tools, such as laptops and tablets.
Ability to lift, carry, and position books and other materials weighing up to 15 lbs.

Working Conditions
All duties are accomplished in a library/office/classroom environment.

Commitment to Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging

Across the Harvard Library, our work is enriched by our diverse campus community. Our unique and wide-ranging abilities, experiences, and perspectives are integral to achieving Harvard University's mission of excellence in research, teaching, and learning for our patrons, our collections, and our workplace. We believe that an inclusive environment that cultivates and promotes understanding, respect, and collaboration across our diverse workforce enables our success.

We invite individuals with diverse backgrounds, experiences and abilities to be a part of our community of over 700 staff members. Our work with faculty, students and researchers to explore answers to intellectual questions, enduring and new, and to seek solutions to the world's most consequential problems, requires that we not only reflect, but also champion our diverse society.

Harvard Library inspires collaboration, reflection, experimentation, and discovery connecting users to related disciplines and to University-wide teaching resources. The Library engages users through curated discovery, digital collections, reimagined physical space, and specialized research support. Today, Harvard Library's holdings range from traditional print collections to rapidly expanding access to digital resources. Harvard Library provides the University's faculty, students, and researchers-now and in the future-with exceptional experiences and comprehensive access to these materials.

Learn more about our contributions to the academic enterprise by visiting us at and about the Harvard University community at

The Harvard Library is a proud member of the Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL) Diversity Alliance.

Job Function 

Sub Unit

USA - MA - Cambridge

Fine Arts Library

Time Status

00 - Non Union, Exempt or Temporary

Pre-Employment Screening
Criminal, Education, Identity

Commitment to Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging
Harvard University views equity, diversity, inclusion, and belonging as the pathway to achieving inclusive excellence and fostering a campus culture where everyone can thrive. We strive to create a community that draws upon the widest possible pool of talent to unify excellence and diversity while fully embracing individuals from varied backgrounds, cultures, races, identities, life experiences, perspectives, beliefs, and values.

EEO Statement
We are an equal opportunity employer and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability status, protected veteran status, gender identity, sexual orientation, pregnancy and pregnancy-related conditions, or any other characteristic protected by law.

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Full/Part Time

Full Time



Salary Range

$69,100.00 - $80,000.00  / year

Salary Notes

Yearly Salary

Closing Date

How to Apply

Apply Online


2022-06-08 |  Quick link to this job