Director of Library and Archives
Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art
The mission of Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art is to welcome all to celebrate the American spirit in a setting that unites the power of art with the beauty of nature. Founded by philanthropist and arts patron Alice Walton, Crystal Bridges is a public non-profit charitable organization.
Position Title: Director of Library and Archives
Position Type: Full Time
FLSA Classification: Exempt
Division: Learning and Engagement
Department: Library and Archives
Reports to: Chief Learning and Engagement Officer
The mission of Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art is to welcome all to celebrate the American spirit in a setting that unites the power of art with the beauty of nature. We explore the unfolding story of America by actively collecting, exhibiting, interpreting, and preserving outstanding works that illuminate our heritage and artistic possibilities. The museum’s Library and Archives play a vital role in the mission by collecting, displaying, and circulating materials that offer a deeper understanding of American art. To date, the collection consists of more than 50,000 volumes pertaining to American art, art history, and architecture, as well as archives containing personal papers and other artist ephemera. These materials offer rich resources for research, interpretation, school curriculum, and other forms of engagement.
Evolution and a growth mindset are embedded in the museum’s DNA, with campus growth, new construction, and a museum-wide gallery reinstallation on the horizon through the year 2026. In addition, the museum’s institutional priorities have expanded to include several exciting areas. These include growing our craft and Native American art collection, launching a major K-12 arts integration initiative, creating programs at the intersection of art and wellbeing, deepening our partnership with the University of Arkansas to support public-facing scholarship, and developing a dynamic technology and digital strategy. The museum seeks to accomplish these through an inclusive and community-centered lens that champions multiple perspectives, inspires joyful learning, and creates a sense of belonging and social connection.
The museum’s Library and Archives will embrace and advance the museum’s mission and priorities by committing to accelerating the transformation of the library’s collection and physical presence into a platform that supports the production of new knowledges and understandings, innovative research and scholarship, and public access and engagement. Spearheading these efforts is the Director of Library and Archives, a new leadership role purpose-built for the evolving needs of the museum.
Working with the Chief Learning and Engagement Officer, the Director of Library and Archives brings vision, leadership acumen, and a laser sharp focus on innovative and inclusive 21st century library practices. The Director will bring a deep understanding of how to support the research and interest needs of all museum audiences including scholars, students, educators, museum staff, community groups, and the general public.
The Director of Library and Archives will be responsible for delivering maximum and inclusive impacts in the following areas:
- Amplifying the use of the library’s content and holdings by employing innovative strategies for expanding access, usage, and acquisitions. The successful candidate will implement the principles and best practices of the profession to articulate our vision and bring it to life for internal and external stakeholders. This includes planning, implementing, and sustaining digital technologies and practices.
- Supporting scholarship and 21st century research methodologies to best serve researchers including university faculty and students, museum staff, scholars, and fellows. The Director will rise to the challenge of serving both a research audience and a general museum audience by making the library accessible to all types of patrons. They will implement the key objectives in the collections development plan to acquire materials which support integrative research.
- Catalyzing public engagement and lifelong learning by maximizing library assets to promote experiences responsive to audience needs. The Director will think creatively about how to engage the wider Crystal Bridges audience, going beyond browsing the shelves and creating exciting experiences as well as programming within the library space and beyond.
- Provide leadership and direction in the management and operation of the library and archives. Develop short- and long-term plans and communicate priorities for departmental activities, which include research services, collection development and acquisitions, technical services, and collection management.
- Promote library and archives collections and services to educators, students, museum staff, supporters and donors, and the general public.
- Design and develop a user-focused and future-oriented digital strategy to align with teaching, research, and engagement goals.
- Cultivate and sustain a collaborative relationship between the Crystal Bridges and the University of Arkansas library system. Actively explore and pursue additional partnership opportunities with other learning institutions.
- Develop and manage departmental budgets and expenditures. Prepare annual reports of activities and accomplishments. Identify opportunities for grant proposals.
- Supervise and mentor library staff including the Archivist and Library and Archives Assistant. Manage the library volunteers. The Director is responsible for creating an inspiring team environment, and providing direction, guidance, and support.
- Develop and implement strategies to transform the library into a space that is vibrant, inviting, and engaging. Explore and implement additional strategies for visibility in other areas within the museum and externally in community spaces.
- Serve as a member of the museum’s leadership team and contribute to efforts to achieve institutional priorities.
- Maintain and support active involvement in professional organizations and activities relevant to institutional priorities and art museum libraries or archives. Remain well-informed of current professional standards as relevant.
- Evidence of strong supervisory skills developed through increasing responsibilities of five years or more in archives, special collections, a cultural heritage institution or museum, or a related field.
- Considerable knowledge of administrative procedures especially regarding their application to library operations.
- Demonstrated success on major collaborative endeavors that leverage organizational assets and capabilities.
- Demonstrated commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility.
- Knowledge of budgeting and program principles.
Education, Training, and Traits:
- MLS degree from an accredited program preferred or commensurate education, training, and experience
- Background in art and/or the humanities preferred
- Knowledge of a wide variety of research and reference methods and materials including major bibliographic utilities and computer-based information resources to support curatorial research.
- Knowledge of library technologies that advance collections access, stewardship, and research activities.
- 5 or more years of leadership and administration in libraries or equivalent institution
- Demonstrated ability to plan, direct, motivate, and supervise the work of others.
- Demonstrated ability to communicate with and present to a wide variety of audiences.
Licenses and Certifications:
- Valid driver’s license required.
Physical Demands and Work Environment:
The physical demands and work environment characteristics described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this position. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.
- Physical demands: In the work environment described below, position requires working at a desk and utilizing a computer and a telephone, good eye/hand coordination, bending and stretching, standing and sitting in the ability to move around galleries, the classrooms, and throughout the museum, including travel on the outdoor trails. Visual acuity to review written materials is required for this job. Occasionally, while performing the duties of this job, the employee is required to travel independently regionally and in communities served.
- Work environment: Work will be performed in an office environment, museum galleries, art studios, outdoors on the trails, and in communities served. Some evening and weekend hours are required. While performing the duties of this job, the employee is exposed to weather conditions prevalent at the time. The noise level in the Museum work environment is usually low to moderate.
- Some work during evenings and weekends is required.
All offers of employment are contingent on your successful completion (where permitted by state law) of a confidentiality agreement and background check. Crystal Bridges requires all employees to provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination as a condition of employment, or meet Arkansas state requirements, subject to accommodations. In addition, you will need to provide proper identification verifying your eligibility to work in the United States on your first day of work.
Crystal Bridges is an equal opportunity employer committed to building and maintaining a culturally diverse workplace that is free of discrimination and harassment of any kind. We encourage women, minorities, individuals with disabilities, and veterans to apply. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, religion, color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, veteran status, or any other status protected by the laws or regulations in the locations where we operate.