Library - Director of Special Collections


Hope College is seeking the next Mary Riepma Ross Director of Special Collections, an endowed, 11 month non-tenure track faculty position within the library.  Reporting to the Dean of Libraries, this position is responsible for the management of physical and financial resources, planning and implementation of programming and policies, teaching, community outreach and security of archival and rare book collections. The Archivist ensures that the collections represent the broadest possible spectrum of viewpoints and human experience in accordance with Hope’s commitment to equity and inclusion. 


Special Collections at Hope College include the Joint Archives of Holland, and the Van Wylen Library Rare Books Collection. The Archives is housed in the Theil Research Center on Hope College’s campus. It serves as a regional center for local history research, specializing in Hope College, the history of the Dutch in America and the Holland, Michigan, area.  The Archives has a strong record of mentoring undergraduate research and writing. The collections include works and writings from Hope College students and faculty, records from administrative offices, photographs, recordings, and videos documenting the history of the College from 1866 to present, the community of Holland, and Reformed Church in America missionaries. It currently shares the building with the Van Raalte Institute. ArchiveSpace was implemented in 2021 and many of the digitized materials are held in Digital Commons and in Artstor Public Collections, two online repositories. As a member of the library staff, this position works closely with nine faculty librarians and serves on the Library Leadership Team. 


The Rare Books Collection at Van Wylen LIbrary, contains many rare Bibles, and volumes related to art, religion, Dutch history, Asian history and the history of science and aspires to be illustrative of the history of books and print culture.



  • Responsible for all aspects of the Archives’ development, including implementing the program, mission statement and collections policy, and representing the Joint Archives in the community. 

  • Provide reference and research assistance to students, faculty, staff, alumni, and outside researchers using archives and rare book materials.

  • Provide course-integrated instruction to college classes and collaborate with faculty on the integration of special collections into the college curriculum.

  • Develop processing priorities for the archival collections of Hope College and Western Theological Seminary and oversee their principle processing and management.

  • Work with potential and past donors to collect archival materials and evaluate potential gifts of rare books. 

  • Provide access to archival collections through archival management software.

  • Work closely with other librarians to preserve original materials, digitize and provide access to digitized content.

  • Hire, train, and supervise staff, student assistants and volunteers.

  • Write or identify writers for Joint Archives publications, design and implement archival material displays, civic and educational presentations.

  • Work with Hope College academic departments to collect and preserve college records.  

  • Maintain an active program of professional development and scholarship through participation in seminars, workshops and conferences.




  • ALA-accredited MILS/MLS with a specialized archival training component. 

  • Three years of experience in an academic library and a combination of experience or course work with archival processing, cataloging, electronic records, digitization, teaching or reference services. 

  • Excellent oral and written communications skills, demonstrated ability to work as a part of a team

  • Ability to understand diverse perspectives and acknowledge the significance of differences and complexities in background, cultures, values and viewpoints as the foundation for an inclusive environment

  • An understanding of and commitment to the undergraduate liberal arts college, the Mission of Hope College, and the historic Christian faith.




  • Demonstrated knowledge of computer applications including digital audio and visual software tools and current archival software systems. 

  • Demonstrated history of supervisory experience and strong interest in supervising or mentoring others.


Hope College is committed to creating a diverse, ecumenical Christian academic community that invites all its members into a holistic and robust engagement with the historic Christian faith. The college’s board, faculty, administration and staff are committed to the Christian faith as expressed in the ecumenical creeds of the ancient church. Individuals interested in this position must demonstrate a commitment to the character and goals of a liberal arts college with a Christian perspective, including a mature understanding of and commitment to the historic Christian faith.


Application Instructions

As part of the online application candidates will upload a cover letter, curriculum vitae, transcripts (unofficial transcripts accepted for the initial application). Applicants will also submit a statement describing their fit to the mission of Hope College ( As it may not be addressed elsewhere in the application, applicants should devote particular attention to the ecumenical Christian aspect of the mission statement and their personal engagement with faith and/or a faith community.

Also included in the application will be a section to add the names and email addresses for three references. References will be contacted for a top subset of candidates at a later date. The references will be provided a link to upload a letter of recommendation.

Applications received by Nov 1, 2021, will be assured of receiving full consideration.


About Hope

Hope College is a four-year liberal arts college where academic excellence and vibrant Christian faith join together in a supportive and welcoming community. Hope offers an academically rigorous, co-educational and residential education to more than 3,050 students from 37 states and territories and 30 countries. Affiliated with the Reformed Church in America since its founding in 1866, Hope College is known for its invitational ecumenical Christian atmosphere, friendly campus community, and well-balanced academic and co-curricular offerings.
Hope's beautiful campus is located just steps from award-winning downtown Holland, Michigan, and fewer than seven miles from Lake Michigan. At Hope College, accomplished faculty and staff mentor students to recognize the interconnectedness of the world and cultivate the skills, perspectives and habits that help them flourish inside and outside the classroom. Recognized as a national leader in undergraduate research and scholarship, Hope provides exceptional professional preparation and life-changing educational experiences that equip students for success after graduation. The college has consistently ranked among the nation's top liberal arts colleges and is featured in the book Colleges That Change Lives.
Hope College is financially sound, with an endowment of over $200 million and no deferred maintenance, and over $140 million invested in the construction of new facilities during the past 12 years. Since 2015, the college has completed four new buildings – the Kruizenga Art Museum (2015), the Jack H. Miller Center for Musical Arts (2015), the Jim and Martie Bultman Student Center (2017), and the van Andel Huys der Hope home for the college's Campus Ministries programs (2019). In 2015, Hope College launched its 10-year strategic plan, Hope for the World: 2025, which consists of six goals, focused on: academics; Christian formation; global engagement; community; reputation and influence; and value. Developed by the campus community, the strategic plan supports the college's mission, "to educate students for lives of leadership and service in a global society through academic and co-curricular programs of recognized excellence in the liberal arts and in the context of the historic Christian faith."
Hope College is a community that aspires to be faithful, welcoming and transformational. Accordingly, the college is committed to being a place where all experience a sense of belonging. Students of all faiths -- and no faith -- are welcome at Hope, as are students of all racial and ethnic backgrounds. During the 2019-20 academic year, 18 percent of the student body identified as a race other than white. On Hope's campus, there is broad understanding that, in order to best prepare students for lives of leadership and service in a global society, the college must have diversity among its faculty and staff. Twenty-four percent of Hope's tenure-track faculty are from underrepresented groups, coming from both the U.S. and abroad.
Holland, Michigan is located in the heart of West Michigan, on the shores of Lake Michigan and Lake Macatawa. The city is known for being a friendly college town, a beautiful vacation destination, and annual host of both the Tulip Time Festival and Tulipanes Latino Art and Film Festival. With a city population of 33,000, Holland resides within the greater Holland-Zeeland area populated by 100,000 -- 30 minutes from Grand Rapids, 2.5 hours from Ann Arbor and Chicago and 3 hours from Detroit. Holland features a picturesque downtown just steps from the Hope College campus -- home to restaurants, cafés, shops and a popular farmer's market -- as well as miles of sandy beaches, nationally ranked school districts and charming parks throughout the surrounding area. In recent years, Holland has earned recognition for being one of the "Best Beach Towns to Live In" (WalletHub, 2018), "Prettiest Towns" (Architectural Digest, 2018) and "Best Cities for Global Trade" (Global Trade Magazine, 2017) as well as the #1 "Best Small City to Start a Business" (WalletHub 2018). The City of Holland has also earned several top honors for the "America in Bloom" competition, including awards for "Environmental Efforts" and "Coolest Downtown." The Holland area is strengthened by its diversity, with people of color comprising 33% of the city's population. The Latino community is particularly vibrant, accounting for 24% of Holland residents. For more about neighborhoods, recreation, businesses and life in Holland, visit the city's "Live in Holland Michigan" website.
Hope College seeks to be a community that affirms the dignity of all persons as bearers of God's image. It is Hope College policy not to discriminate on the basis of age, color, disability, family status, genetic information, height, national origin, pregnancy, race, religion, sex, or weight, except in the event of a bona fide occupational qualification. Hope College is an equal opportunity employer.