Performing Arts Librarian

Position Description

The University of Chicago Library empowers users with deep and rich collections, extensive expertise, innovative programs, and diverse spaces. We are committed to cultivating an inclusive community, enhancing access to scholarly resources, advancing digital scholarship, engaging locally and globally, and excelling in a changing environment.

The Performing Arts Librarian is an innovative service-oriented librarian who develops and delivers research services to music, theater and performance studies, and dance scholars at the University of Chicago Library. The Librarian works collaboratively with librarian colleagues in related areas to develop physical and digital scholarly collections and provide access to resources that cross traditional disciplinary boundaries and support new fields of inquiry. By building relationships with faculty, staff and students in the Department of Music and through the Committee on Theater & Performance Studies, the Librarian identifies opportunities to promote and develop new library services for scholars in music composition, ethnomusicology, music history and theory, as well as academic and practice-based inquiry in theater and dance.

The Music Collection supports programs in music history, music theory, ethnomusicology, and composition. Its traditional strength has been in criticism, histories, and scholarly editions of Western music, while recently there has been greater emphasis on collecting materials for the study of non-western music and music theory, as well as scores of contemporary music. There is both a strong circulating collection of recordings and books on jazz and blues, as well as popular music and a Chicago Jazz Archive in the Hannah Holborn Gray Special Collections Research Center. Collections in theater and performance studies, including dance, feature materials and electronic resources in Renaissance through present European ballet traditions, traditional folks dances, streaming theater performances and scripts, and academic resources for a wide variety of drama traditions from around the world.

The ideal candidate possesses skills and abilities to help transform instruction, outreach, reference and collections and is creative in solving problems in a collaborative environment. The Librarian will also engage in community focused initiatives and activities, through collaborations with partners from campus offices and programs.

Responsibilities and Duties

Reporting to the Library’s Director Humanities and Area Studies in the Research and Learning Divisions, the Librarian will:

  • Contribute to the development of distinctive, interdisciplinary, multi-format, and intersectional collections that serve the wide-ranging needs of students, artists, scholars, and researchers
  • Provide advanced reference and research consultations, maintain online research guides, offer library instruction, and may also have opportunities for involvement in outreach, instruction, and exhibits relating to archival and special collections and for participation in digital initiatives
  • Collaborate with other subject liaisons as appropriate to support students and faculty in interdisciplinary research and teaching
  • Contribute to overall reference, instruction and collection development for the Library
  • Engage in community focused programs and initiatives
  • Serve on Library and University committees
  • Provide some evening and weekend service as needed
  • Engage in professional library and/or subject discipline organizations


  • Master’s degree from an ALA-accredited school of library information science OR an advanced degree in music or performing arts subject area and relevant library experience
  • Study of and/or practice in one or more fields related to Performing Arts
  • At least one year of experience in providing public services and research support
  • Effective oral and written communications skills
  • Knowledge of trends and topics in current performing arts research and of resources for performing arts scholarship
  • Reading knowledge of one or more European languages
  • Demonstrated understanding of diversity, equity and inclusion issues and scholarship in special collections and/or archives work


  • Undergraduate or advanced degree in music
  • Experience with creation of web content
  • Experience with teaching in a library or academic setting
  • Experience in applying new and emerging information and library technologies to special collections & archives, including digital scholarship initiatives

Application Instructions

To Apply: Submit cover letter, curriculum vitae, and reference contact information online through the University of Chicago's Academic Recruiting website: Review of applications will begin after March 9, 2023. Screening of applications will continue until the position is filled or the search is closed.

Salary and Benefits: Appointment salary based on qualifications and experience. Benefits include retirement plan, insurance, and paid time off.

Questions: Contact University of Chicago Library Human Resources,

Equal Employment Opportunity Statement

All University departments and institutes are charged with building a faculty from a diversity of backgrounds and with diverse viewpoints; with cultivating an inclusive community that values freedom of expression; and with welcoming and supporting all their members.

We seek a diverse pool of applicants who wish to join an academic community that places the highest value on rigorous inquiry and encourages diverse perspectives, experiences, groups of individuals, and ideas to inform and stimulate intellectual challenge, engagement, and exchange. The University’s Statements on Diversity are at

The University of Chicago is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity/Disabled/Veterans Employer and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national or ethnic origin, age, status as an individual with a disability, protected veteran status, genetic information, or other protected classes under the law. For additional information please see the University's Notice of Nondiscrimination.

Job seekers in need of a reasonable accommodation to complete the application process should call 773-834-3988 or email with their request.