Black Studies Librarian

Northwestern University

Work Group: Research Services
Reports To: Head of Research Services
Collective Bargaining Status: Member

The Northwestern University Libraries seek an innovative, collaborative, and service-oriented Black Studies librarian, supporting multidisciplinary research and teaching across various modes of scholarship, including innovative digital research methods and publishing approaches with a focus on the Black experience in America and the Diaspora. The librarian works in concert with other library and campus units, providing outreach and reference services in the humanities, social sciences, and interdisciplinary areas while supporting and promoting innovative examples of digital scholarship. The librarian serves as the liaison to the students and faculty of the Black Studies department; develops relationships and collaborates with campus partners including the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs and the Office of Institutional Diversity & Inclusion; works closely with faculty engaged in Black Studies research and teaching in the Black Studies department and other academic departments and programs; and selects current and retrospective materials relevant to Black studies and the Black experience. Additionally, the Black Studies Librarian will collaborate with other librarians and curators whose work involves materials and scholarship relating to Black history, experiences, and contributions across disciplines, eras, and forms of creative expression. These collaborations in large part will focus on innovation and expansion of digital scholarship.

The Black Studies librarian works within the Research Services department providing instructional and research support services to students and faculty who study Black history and related disciplines. Outreach and instruction are a vital part of this role. The Black Studies Librarian participates in the external library community, including Evanston and Chicago, and liaises with the Chicago Collections Consortium and the Black Metropolis Research Consortium.

Key Responsibilities include:

  • Provide instruction, research, consultation, and outreach to students and faculty studying Black history and culture across disciplines
  • Develop and manage inclusive and accessible library collections in the field of Black Studies, including creative partnerships with other librarians and curators in the McCormick Library of Special Collections, Herskovits Library of African Studies, and other collecting areas 
  • Support and contribute to new modes of scholarly communication and existing digital and public humanities initiatives in collaboration with other librarians and technical specialists
  • Foster close partnerships between the Libraries and the Northwestern community
  • Participate in providing and developing services and programs that support research and teaching in humanities, social sciences, and other subject areas.
  • Participate in library wide outreach and programming
  • Depending on background and service needs, may serve as a liaison to one or more additional academic departments or other university constituencies
  • Contribute actively to the re-envisioning of digital scholarship and library services by pursuing ongoing innovation and embracing new and evolving responsibilities in a dynamic digital research environment

Minimum Competencies

  • Strong commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility
  • Ability to work in a collaborative team-based environment
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills
  • Adaptable, ability to adjust to changing environment
  • Takes ownership of work, completes what is needed without being asked, follows through
  • Plans ahead, manages time well, is resource-conscious, finds better ways to achieve personal and workgroup goals

Minimum Qualifications

  • Master of Library Science from an ALA-accredited institution, or equivalent
  • Academic degree in a humanities area and broad general knowledge of the humanities 
  • Broad knowledge of Black history and culture across eras and geographical regions, including the materials and methods for documenting and engaging with the experiences of Black and other marginalized communities in research and teaching
  • Knowledge of digital humanities methods and technologies, including experience with digital publishing platforms such as Omeka or Wax, text analysis and data visualization software such as Voyant or Gephi, programming languages such as Python or R, and humanities data processing and curation applications such as Excel or OpenRefine.
  • Awareness of current and emerging trends in research and teaching in the humanities.

To Apply:
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Applicants should submit a cover letter, resume, and the names of three references. Please apply for this position on the NUHR Recruitment Website (  In your application, note which pronouns you use. This position is in a bargaining unit represented by the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), Local 73. The minimum starting salary for this position is $70,000.00 annually. Offers will be based on candidate experience and education, as well as equity within Northwestern University. First consideration will be given to applicants who apply by November 26th, 2023

Library Environment:
Northwestern University is a selective private university with campuses in Evanston and Chicago, Illinois and in Doha, Qatar. One of the leading private research libraries in the United States, Northwestern University Library serves the educational and information needs of the NU community as well as scholars around the world. Its collection contains more than 7 million volumes, a full array of digital resources, and collections of distinction in Africana, transportation, and 20th-century and contemporary music. Northwestern is a member of the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) and the Big Ten Academic Alliance (BTAA). See more information about University Libraries at:

The Northwestern campus sits on the traditional homelands of the people of the Council of Three Fires, the Ojibwe, Potawatomi, and Odawa as well as the Menominee, Miami and Ho-Chunk nations. We acknowledge and honor the original people of the land upon which Northwestern University stands, and the Native people who remain on this land today. Northwestern University is an Equal Opportunity, Affirmative Action Employer of all protected classes, including veterans and individuals with disabilities. Women, racial and ethnic minorities, individuals with disabilities, and veterans are encouraged to apply. EEO is the Law.

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