Archivist and Research Specialist


The National Federation of the Blind (NFB) is a membership organization of blind people from each of the fifty states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. As America's civil rights organization of the blind, the Federation is a coordinated network of skilled advocates, resources, and programs that raise expectations of the blind in society and create opportunities for blind people to live the lives they want. The staff of the Federation are central to the organized blind movement by providing support, professional expertise, and daily contributions to the success of the organization. Working under the direction of the Federation's elected President, the staff advise the organization's leadership and contribute to the vibrant, energetic, and collaborative culture of the organization that raises expectations throughout society.

The National Federation of the Blind is seeking applications for the position of Archivist & Research Specialist. The primary responsibility for this position will be preserving, processing, and building the archives of the organized blind movement, which include rare and unique materials in all formats and on all aspects of the subject of blindness (excluding medical). The NFB Archivist & Research Specialist will manage the archives, process materials, and oversee implementation of organizational procedures for archiving. Secondary responsibilities will include making recommendations regarding development of the archives and preservation projects, answering reference questions, overseeing access to the Jacobus tenBroek Library, and assisting the NFB in developing strategic goals for its collections.  The Jacobus tenBroek Library is a research library on blindness and blind people. It is not a library for the blind. Therefore, the collection is not restricted as to format. Our collections consist largely of material in ink-print, because the majority of literature on blindness and the blind exists in this format. The tenBroek Library collects published material, including books, periodicals, dissertations and theses, oral histories, pamphlets and other ephemeral publications, and recorded music and moving pictures. Some in-scope material in Braille and other formats suitable for blind readers supplements our basic collection; however, knowledge of Braille is not required.


  • Preserve, process, and build the archives of the organized blind movement
  • Manage the NFB’s archives, process materials, and oversee implementation of organizational procedures for archiving
  • Maintain the intellectual and physical control of the archival collections
  • Perform preservation tasks using the strategy of “More Product, Less Process”
  • Maintain and expand the Cane Tip, an ArchivesSpace manuscript collections database and web portal
  • Maintain and expand the Blind Cat, an online public access catalog
  • Monitor the library reading room
  • Supervise paraprofessional staff, volunteers, and interns working in the Jacobus tenBroek Library
  • Make recommendations regarding development of the archives and preservation projects
  • Perform archives and library reference tasks, including answering reference questions and providing requested reference materials to NFB staff, members, and public
  • Oversee access to the Jacobus tenBroek Library’s collections
  • Assist the NFB in developing strategic goals for its collections 
  • Perform outreach by contributing articles on collection holdings, projects, and organizational history to newsletters and publications
  • Publicize opening of collections through newsletter articles and listserv announcements
  • Implement institutional records management program (paper and electronic records) and create tailored records management recommendations for departments
  • Identify and pursue partnerships for large digitization projects (audiovisual and paper records) and conduct on-demand digitization of records for reference requests
  • Write and encode finding aids compliant with DACS and EAD
  • Encode MARC records for publications and archival collections
  • Perform other duties as assigned


  • Demonstrated knowledge of archival standards and best practices, as well as professional trends in both the archives and library fields
  • Demonstrated ability to apply cataloging tools such as: Resource Description and Access (RDA), the Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules (AACR2), Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH) and classification (LCC), and MARC21 formats for bibliographic and authority records
  • Experience with OCLC and/or other library automation products
  • Must be able to work efficiently and meticulously in a self-directed manner and as part of a team
  • Ability to multi-task with several complex and demanding concurrent projects
  • Excellent organizational, communication (written and verbal), interpersonal skills, and attention to detail
  • Comfort with computers and other technology with a willingness to learn new skills depending on the needs of the organization
  • Three or more years of original and complex copy cataloging experience within a bibliographic utility including substantial rare book cataloging
  • Basic knowledge of book and paper preservation
  • Familiarity with audiovisual preservation, including both digital and analog formats
  • Demonstrated experience with digitization project management
  • Experience or interest in museum preservation and exhibit design
  • Experience developing or enforcing disaster recovery plans for library and archival collections

Education and Experience

  • MLS from an ALA-accredited graduate program specializing in archives management, or an equivalent combination of education, training, and experience.
  • Three or more years of experience working in an archive environment
  • Familiarity with digital metadata schemas including Dublin Core, MODS, or equivalent standards

How to Apply

We seek individuals who wish to identify with a cause and to assist in advocacy for a group long denied equal opportunity to succeed or fail on the basis of ability, and not be denied opportunity on the basis of society’s stereotypes.

This job is open until filled. Applicants should send, preferably via email, a résumé and cover letter indicating salary requirements to: Human Resources, National Federation of the Blind, 200 East Wells Street at Jernigan Place, Baltimore, MD 21230; telephone 410-659-9314, ext. 2488; fax 410-685-5653; email