Miskatonic University Press

Digital Engagement Librarian position at York University Libraries

code4lib libraries york

A new permanent position is open at York University Libraries: Digital Engagement Librarian. Applications close on 31 March. I’m not on the search committee.

This person will be working at the library in the new Markham campus, which doesn’t exist yet. The plan is that people will start moving there in spring of next year (by which time it will exist). This librarian will be working at the Scott library (with the Media Creation Lab, I expect) until then, planning and preparing, meeting people, and so on.

Spring and summer 2024 will be at Markham getting people in place, the rooms set up, the gaming lab, the big wall of monitors, and so on. The library takes up one floor of the one-building campus. Getting the library integrated into the new courses there will be important: a lot of work on curricular integration has been done, and it needs to continue. Classes at Markham start in September 2024.

York University Libraries (YUL) seeks a collaborative and innovative individual with strong leadership capacity for the position of Digital Engagement Librarian located at the Markham Centre Campus Library. This is a continuing appointment position with a focus on advancing and disseminating digitally-mediated scholarly research at York University with a multi-disciplinary, inclusive, and community-engaged focus.

The successful candidate will join a diverse team of specialists collaborating in the areas of scholarly communication and publishing, digital scholarship, digital preservation, data visualization, open educational resources, virtual reality and media creation. YUL at Markham will expand to include gaming, makerspaces, and media creation facilities.

If you apply and are asked for an interview, I’ll be glad to answer any questions I can. My Interviewing at York University Libraries advice is still pretty good, but I’ll update it after the search committee I’m on right now has done its work.

Mark di Suvero's Sticky Wicket
Mark di Suvero's Sticky Wicket

My main advice for anyone applying is to address in your cover letter and CV each of the qualifications as they are categorized. Demonstrated means demonstrated, experience means experience, and knowledge means knowledge. The search committee will have a ranking sheet that lists all the qualifications and whether the applicant meets them, exceeds them, or is excellent. (Or doesn’t meet them, in which case the person is not considered.) Anyone applying wants the committee to check at least “meets requirements” for everything on the list.

Some of these qualifications are detailed and advanced:

  • Demonstrated: Application of digital research methodologies, tools, and approaches with experience using any of the following infrastructure environments: makerspace, media creation space, extended reality, and/or gaming/visualization wall.
  • Experience: Advancing curricular integration for digital and information literacy initiatives.
  • Knowledge: Aspects of media production workflows.

If you can mostly meet most of a qualification, consider applying, and show how what you have done and do know applies.

Take the requirement that people demonstrate they have applied “digital research methodologies, tools, and approaches” in a makerspace, media creation space, extended reality, or gaming or visualization wall. That sounds like a lot. But “digital research methodologies, tools, and approaches” is extremely broad, which means there are many ways for an applicant to meet the qualification (look at the table of contents for Catherine Dawson’s A-Z of Digital Research Methods, for example). And an applicant doesn’t need to have worked in all those environments, and their experience could come from personal projects, student work, theatrical or music performances, a variety of different workplaces, or whatever. Certainly anyone who’s managed a media lab in a library will stand out to the committee, but just because you don’t have direct experience in every point in a qualification, don’t let that stop you from piecing together what you have done to address the item. I think someone who got curious about 3D printers and began to make things at their local public library, and documented and critiqued it on their web site, would stand out to the committee; that doesn’t sound as big and formal, but it meets the basic requirements, and shows curiosity and initiative.

And for experience “advancing curricular integration for digital and information literacy initiatives,” if someone’s overseen the creation of a for-credit digital literacy program at another university, that will very much stand out too. But if you had an idea to start doing workshops on such and such, and made a plan, and got people to buy in to the idea, and did the workshops, and they went well, and the next year a professor made the workshop part of their syllabus, and that went well, then you meet the requirement. Sell that point and be ready to talk about it.

I can’t promise anything, of course. But I can tell you from experience that YUL search committees do everything they can to make the searches broad and inclusive, and someone who meets the basic qualifications will receive attention.

This librarian will have a very busy time getting ready for the new campus and then opening up the library there, but will be working with some very helpful and knowledgeable colleagues. The current dean is retiring at the end of June; the interim dean for 2023–2024, Andrea Kosavic, has been deeply involved in the Markham preparations and will also be a solid support.

(Do fill in the self-identification form, even if it’s to say no to everything. Do also consider how you’ll get to Markham!)