Our Need, Now an Employment Opportunity

On March 30-31, 2012, as part of our bicentennial programming, AAS hosted a symposium titled “Research Libraries in the Digital Age: Needs and Opportunities.” This symposium was intended to provide the AAS Council and staff with a set of perspectives that would help inform its vision of how AAS can best position itself to remain a vibrant center of research in early American history and culture as it moves into its third century. The model for this conference was the 1984 conference held at AAS on “Needs and Opportunities in the History of the Book,” which served as the inaugural event in the Society’s Program in the History of the Book in American Culture. The needs and opportunities identified in that conference informed AAS’s programmatic efforts for a quarter-century, inspired the inception of an ongoing annual summer seminar in book history, and led to the publication of the landmark five-volume series A History of the Book in America, completed in 2010.

The 2012 “Needs and Opportunities” conference focused on the profound challenges facing the American Antiquarian Society and its peer institutions as the digital turn becomes ever more a reality rather than a hypothesis. We asked the invited participants in this symposium—staff at peer institutions, senior, mid-career, and junior scholars—to help AAS chart a course for our scholarly programming as we move into our third century, and to explore the unique and continuing value of the research library as increasing amounts of archival materials become available digitally.

One of the key needs identified at the symposium was for there to be a person at AAS whose primary focus would be on working with digitized materials and with scholars conducting digital humanities projects. The AAS is delighted to announce that, with the support of the Public Fellows Program at the American Council of Learned Societies, we have an opportunity for a recent humanities or social science Ph.D. to work at AAS on a two-year fellowship as our Digital Humanities Curator.

The Public Fellows Program—offered with the support of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and now in its third year—will place 20 recent Ph.D.s from the humanities and humanistic social sciences in two-year staff positions at partnering organizations in government and the nonprofit sector.  Fellows will participate in the substantive work of these organizations and receive professional mentoring.  Compensation will be competitive and will include health benefits for the fellow.  The American Antiquarian Society is pleased to announce that it is one of these 20 participating organizations.

More information about the program, including a full description of the fellowship, is available at http://www.acls.org/programs/publicfellows/. The deadline for applications is March 27, 2013 (6pm EDT). All inquiries should be directed to ACLS, not to the AAS.

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Paul Erickson

Paul Erickson is the Director of Academic Programs at the American Antiquarian Society.

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