Africana Studies Librarian

Africana Studies Librarian

University Overview

The University of Pennsylvania, the largest private employer in Philadelphia, is a world-renowned leader in education, research, and innovation. This historic, Ivy League school consistently ranks among the top 10 universities in the annual U.S. News & World Report survey. Penn has 12 highly-regarded schools that provide opportunities for undergraduate, graduate and continuing education, all influenced by Penn's distinctive interdisciplinary approach to scholarship and learning. As an employer Penn has been ranked nationally on many occasions with the most recent award from Forbes who named Penn one of America's Best Employers By State in 2021.

Penn offers a unique working environment within the city of Philadelphia. The University is situated on a beautiful urban campus, with easy access to a range of educational, cultural, and recreational activities. With its historical significance and landmarks, lively cultural offerings, and wide variety of atmospheres, Philadelphia is the perfect place to call home for work and play.

The University offers a competitive benefits package that includes excellent healthcare and tuition benefits for employees and their families, generous retirement benefits, a wide variety of professional development opportunities, supportive work and family benefits, a wealth of health and wellness programs and resources, and much more.

COVID-19 vaccination is a requirement for all positions at the University of Pennsylvania. New hires are expected to be fully vaccinated before beginning work at the University. For more information about Penn's vaccine requirements and the use of Penn Open Pass, visit the Penn COVID-19 Response website for the latest information.

Posted Job Title
Africana Studies Librarian

Job Profile Title
Librarian C

Job Description Summary
The Africana Studies Librarian supports the research, teaching, and learning mission of the University of Pennsylvania as team member in the Center for Global Collections developing and managing library resources from and about Africa and the African diaspora and providing library services for the interdisciplinary field of Africana Studies at Penn.

Job Description

Collection Development. Reporting to the Director, Center for Global Collections the Africana Studies Librarian selects and acquires scholarly resources from and about Africa and about members of the African diaspora globally in a wide range of subjects and formats in Western and African languages (such as Amharic, Malagasy, Swahili, Wolof, and Yoruba) in support of Penn's current and anticipated academic programs and in consultation with faculty members. The selection of resources in Western languages (e.g., English, French, German, Italian, and Portuguese) is an essential component of the job. The Africana Studies Librarian is tasked with building and maintaining collections that are diverse, forward-looking, and appropriate to the Penn Africana studies community.

Reference, instruction, and liaison services. The Africana Studies Librarian provides specialized reference, instruction, and academic liaison services to Penn faculty and students, both undergraduate and graduate, with research interests in Africana studies in all departments and schools where they are included as topics of study. The Librarian maintains the African and Africana Collections website as well as the Africana seminar room with its own reference collection and teaching facility.

Acquisitions and cataloging. The Africana Studies Librarian, working together with Global Studies Technical Services, participates in the process of acquisition and bibliographic control of all types of resources in African languages. The incumbent may perform original cataloging and complex copy cataloging while also providing appropriate classification and subject analysis according to national and local standards. The Librarian will build collaborations with peer library partners and community members to facilitate local-language cataloging.

Collaboration. The Africana Studies Librarian works collaboratively with colleagues across the whole of the Penn Libraries, especially those in Area Studies, and with campus constituencies such as the Center for Africana Studies, and donors related to the Africana collection. The Africana Studies Librarian works together with colleagues in technical services to set priorities for processing and to manage acquisition workflows. The Librarian will contribute to instruction work, special initiatives, and professional development across the Libraries, helping to foster a collaborative environment and bringing a global perspective to the broader work of the Libraries. The Librarian is also expected to participate in the larger field of Africana librarianship on the national and international levels with particular emphasis on fostering collaboration.


1. Master's degree from an ALA-accredited library school with a minimum of three years of relevant professional experience, or the equivalent in education and training.

2. Advanced knowledge of Africana history, literature, and culture.

3. Knowledge of the publishing industry related to Africana Studies and throughout Africa.

4. Familiarity with the major bibliographic tools (print and electronic) for Africana Studies.

5. Experience working collaboratively and independently with varied groups within a complex organization and rapidly changing work environment as well as the ability to work independently and collegially with librarians and users.


1. Graduate degree in field related to Africana Studies.

2. Proficiency in at least one African language with a preference for Amharic, Malagasy, Swahili, Wolof or Yoruba.

3. Experience in collection development and management, including managing a subject materials acquisition fund.

4. Breadth of knowledge of current and developing patterns of scholarship and publishing in relevant fields of study and commitment to the international and interdisciplinary strengths of Penn's academic programs.

5. Interest in diversity, equity, inclusion, and access in building, maintaining, and delivering library collections and services.

6. Experience using bibliographic utilities for searching and cataloging in non-Roman scripts.

7. Demonstrated excellent oral, written, and interpersonal communication skills.

Application Requirement:

A Cover Letter and Resume/CV are required to be considered for this position. Please upload your Cover Letter where it asks you to upload your Resume/CV; multiple documents are allowed.

Budgeted Pay Range:

Up to $75K commensurate with education and experience

Job Location - City, State
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Department / School
University Library

Pay Range
$50,684.00 - $77,716.00

Affirmative Action Statement
Penn adheres to a policy that prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, creed, national or ethnic origin, citizenship status, age, disability, veteran status, or any other legally protected class.

Special Requirements
Background check required after a conditional job offer is made. Consideration of the background check will be tailored to the requirements of the job.

University Benefits
  • Health, Life, and Flexible Spending Accounts: Penn offers comprehensive medical, prescription, behavioral health, dental, vision, and life insurance benefits to protect you and your family's health and welfare. You can also use flexible spending accounts to pay for eligible health care and dependent care expenses with pre-tax dollars.
  • Tuition: Take advantage of Penn's exceptional tuition benefits. You, your spouse, and your dependent children can get tuition assistance here at Penn. Your dependent children are also eligible for tuition assistance at other institutions.
  • Retirement: Penn offers generous retirement plans to help you save for your future. Penn's Basic, Matching, and Supplemental retirement plans allow you to save for retirement on a pre-tax or Roth basis. Choose from a wide variety of investment options through TIAA and Vanguard.
  • Time Away from Work: Penn provides you with a substantial amount of time away from work during the course of the year. This allows you to relax, take vacations, attend to personal affairs, recover from illness or injury, spend time with family-whatever your personal needs may be.
  • Long-Term Care Insurance: In partnership with Genworth Financial, Penn offers faculty and staff (and your eligible family members) long-term care insurance to help you cover some of the costs of long-term care services received at home, in the community or in a nursing facility. If you apply when you're newly hired, you won't have to provide proof of good health or be subject to underwriting requirements. Eligible family members must always provide proof of good health and are subject to underwriting.
  • Wellness and Work-life Resources: Penn is committed to supporting our faculty and staff as they balance the competing demands of work and personal life. That's why we offer a wide variety of programs and resources to help you care for your health, your family, and your work-life balance.
  • Professional and Personal Development: Penn provides an array of resources to help you advance yourself personally and professionally.
  • University Resources: As a member of the Penn community, you have access to a wide range of University resources as well as cultural and recreational activities. Take advantage of the University's libraries and athletic facilities, or visit our arboretum and art galleries. There's always something going on at Penn, whether it's a new exhibit at the Penn Museum, the latest music or theater presentation at the Annenberg Center, or the Penn Relays at Franklin Field to name just a few examples. As a member of the Penn community, you're right in the middle of the excitement-and you and your family can enjoy many of these activities for free.
  • Discounts and Special Services: From arts and entertainment to transportation and mortgages, you'll find great deals for University faculty and staff. Not only do Penn arts and cultural centers and museums offer free and discounted admission and memberships to faculty and staff. You can also enjoy substantial savings on other goods and services such as new cars from Ford and General Motors, cellular phone service plans, movie tickets, and admission to theme parks.
  • Flexible Work Hours: Flexible work options offer creative approaches for completing work while promoting balance between work and personal commitments. These approaches involve use of non-traditional work hours, locations, and/or job structures.
  • Penn Home Ownership Services: Penn offers a forgivable loan for eligible employees interested in buying a home or currently residing in West Philadelphia, which can be used for closing costs or home improvements.
  • Adoption Assistance: Penn will reimburse eligible employees on qualified expenses in connection with the legal adoption of an eligible child, such as travel or court fees, for up to two adoptions in your household.

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