Middle East Studies Librarian

Pennsylvania, United States
Jan 22, 2020
End of advertisement period
Mar 22, 2020
Contract Type
Full Time

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.

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.

Job Profile Title

Librarian C

Job Description Summary

Middle East Studies at Penn: Library collections and services currently support undergraduate- and graduate-level research on the Middle East through a number of university departments and programs, including the Departments of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, History, Religious Studies, Art History, and Anthropology, in conjunction with the Middle East Center, a federally funded Title VI National Resource Center.

The University of Pennsylvania Libraries seeks an innovative and energetic Middle East Studies Librarian to develop and manage library resources from and about the Middle East from the rise of Islam to the present and to provide library services for the interdisciplinary field of Middle East Studies at Penn.

Job Description


  • Collection Development. Reporting to the Coordinator, Area Studies Collections, the Middle East Studies Librarian selects and acquires scholarly resources from and about the Middle East (and countries with relevant émigré or diaspora communities) in a wide range of subjects and formats in both Middle Eastern and Western languages, in support of Penn’s current and anticipated academic programs and in consultation with faculty members.  The languages covered are primarily Arabic, Persian, and Turkish, but may include other languages on a highly selective basis.  The selection of resources in Western languages (e.g., English, French, and German) is an essential component of the job.
  • Reference, instruction, and liaison services. The Middle East Studies Librarian provides specialized reference, instruction, and academic liaison services to Penn faculty and students, both undergraduate and graduate, with research interests in the Middle East in all departments and schools where it is included as a topic of study. The Librarian maintains the Middle East Collection website as well as the seminar room with its own reference collection and teaching facility. 
  • Acquisitions and cataloging. The Middle East Studies Librarian participates in the process of acquisition and bibliographic control of all types of resources in Middle Eastern languages, using the Alma integrated library system and the OCLC bibliographic utility.  The incumbent may perform original cataloging and complex copy cataloging while also providing appropriate classification and subject analysis according to national and local standards. 
  • Collaboration. The Middle East Librarian works collaboratively with colleagues across the whole of the Penn Libraries, especially those in Area Studies, and with campus constituencies and donors related to the Middle Eastern collections.  The Librarian is also expected to participate in the larger field of Middle East librarianship on the national and international levels with particular emphasis on fostering collaboration.


An accredited Master’s degree in library or information science with a minimum of three years of relevant professional experience or the equivalent in education and training.  Advanced knowledge of area-based history, literature, and culture.  A graduate degree in Middle East Studies, preferred.  Knowledge of the publishing industry in the Middle East and trends in scholarship. Must have knowledge of current and developing patterns of scholarship and publishing in relevant fields of study and be committed to the international and interdisciplinary strengths of Penn’s academic programs. Proficiency in Arabic, as well as excellent oral and written communication skills in English.  Knowledge of a second Middle Eastern language, preferably Persian or Turkish, is desirable, along with bibliographic proficiency in French or German.  Experience using bibliographic utilities for searching and cataloging in non-Roman scripts is desirable.  Ability to work independently and collegially with librarians and users.  


Job Location - City, State

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Department / School

University Library

Pay Range

$50,684.00 - $91,232.00

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.