California Arts Council

State of California

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Letterform Archive

San Francisco, CA


Letterform Archive serves existing and potential students, practitioners, and admirers of the lettering arts—typography, calligraphy, graphic design, the history of written communication, and adjacent fields. Through our collection of 25,000+ physical and digital artifacts in a variety of formats (books, periodicals, posters, artist’s books, typefoundry ephemera); our large and vibrant open-stacks reading room; and a growing program of lectures, workshops, exhibitions, continuing education courses, digitization, and publications, we are a venue for inspiration, education, research, and community formation.

The Archive is located in San Francisco’s Potrero Hill district, and is open to all, free of charge.


Letterform Archive seeks an energetic, innovative, conscientious, and knowledgeable professional to be its Librarian. This position offers an excellent opportunity for an individual with strong technical, project management, analytical, and organizational skills to contribute to the success and sustainability of a dynamic new institution.
Given our ambitions and fast growth, in addition to her/his principal responsibilities (described below), the Librarian will be unapologetically counted on to roll up her/his sleeves and pitch in on other ongoing initiatives: in other words, to contribute to the success of the organization’s vision, assets, staff, outreach, and/or programs.
Occasional weekend and evening work may be necessary.

Principal Responsibilities

Reporting to the Executive Director, and in strategic consultation with the Curator, the Librarian will implement and oversee all aspects of Letterform Archive’s collections management and description systems, and enable the discovery of our materials by local and global audiences. Utilizing professional best practices and standards, she/he is responsible for:
  • Establishing goals and standards for cataloguing and digital archiving of the collection, working with the Archive’s Web team as necessary
  • Implementing tools and workflows based on these standards, working with the Archive’s Web team as necessary
  • Processing and cataloguing our physical collection, including by copy and original cataloguing, creating finding aids, and/or resource description as appropriate
  • Sustaining our relationship with the Internet Archive, which hosts and serves our digital assets to a global audience
  • Hiring and supervising interns/volunteers to support processing and cataloguing activity
  • Working with our Collections Associate to prioritize and execute preservation tasks

Other Duties

Additional team-wide tasks or projects may include, but are not limited to:
  • Strategy and planning initiatives
  • Collaborating on website, marketing, crowdfunding, or publications copy, or on social media content about the collection and Archive
  • Helping with workshop setup, student services, liaising with instructors, etc.
  • Hosting/attending occasional evening or weekend events
  • Building awareness and evangelism

Depending on the Librarian’s level of interest/expertise in our areas of collecting strength, her/his duties could expand to include involvement with our public services work (hosting visitors, giving public tours of the Archive, providing reference and instruction services, and/or overseeing the fulfillment of reproductions requests) and with our publications program.

Ideal Minimum Qualifications

  • Master’s degree in Library or Information Science from an ALA-accredited program, or from a master’s-level program in library and information studies accredited or recognized by the appropriate national body of another country
  • 3+ years of increasing responsibility working in libraries/archives (creating finding aids, evaluating materials for historical value, describing, arranging and preserving materials)
  • Demonstrated command of current cataloguing principles and procedures, such as RDA, DCRM, AACR2, DACS, MARC standards, and subject classification; experience with OCLC
  • Experience with collection and digital asset management systems and/or databases
  • Ability to learn, analyze, utilize, and/or innovate upon standards, workflows, and best practices related to metadata, description, digitization, and preservation
  • Experience with common web content management systems

Preferred Qualifications

  • Experience providing reference services in an archives or special collections repository
  • Experience with Adobe Photoshop and InDesign
  • Graduate degree in or involvement with an area of specialization appropriate to our collections (e.g., graphic design, book arts, book history, etc.)

Desired Characteristics

We seek candidates whose skills and experience have prepared them to relate to and uphold our core values of design sensitivity, collaboration, excellence, hospitality, humility, nimbleness, and forming connections among the diverse communities we serve.

We also value highly:

  • The ability to contribute, champion, and debate new ideas
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills
  • Excellent organizational and time management skills
  • Flexibility; the ability to work independently as well as in a team; comfort in a rapidly changing environment
  • Meticulous detail orientation; focus on accuracy
  • Ability to see projects from inception to completion
  • Curiosity, enthusiasm, positivity, and the desire to constantly acquire new knowledge

Compensation and Benefits

  • This is a full-time, exempt (salaried) position. Salary is commensurate with credentials and experience.
  • Letterform Archive pays 100% of employee medical, dental and vision insurance premiums. All employees receive 10 days’ paid vacation plus 10 paid national holidays annually, and accumulate sick-leave days according to San Francisco regulations.   

To Apply 

Please email the following to, marked to the attention of Simran Thadani:
  • a cover letter in which you address: your interest in this position; your knowledge of and previous experience with the lettering arts; the skills you hope to cultivate and the areas in which you hope to grow in this position; and the ways in which this position would help you meet your longer-term professional goals
  • a résumé with three references
  • a professional writing sample of at least 1,000 words, illustrative of your skills and experience with library science, the lettering arts, or an adjacent field

Review of applications begins immediately and continues until position is filled.

Letterform Archive is committed to equal opportunity employment. All qualified applicants will receive consideration without regard to race, color, religion, sex, age, national origin, disability, or protected veteran status.

Contact:Simran Thadani
Addressee:Simran Thadani
Address: 1001 Mariposa Street, Unit 307, San Francisco, CA 94107

Deadline: 09-16-2015

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