Head of Collections

  • Job Reference: WHL060122
  • Date Posted: 6 January 2022
  • Recruiter: The Wiener Holocaust Library
  • Location: Central London, WC1
  • Remote Working: Some remote working possible
  • Salary: £38,000 to £42,000
  • Sector: Public Libraries
  • Job Type: Permanent

Job Description

Job Description: Head of Collections

Permanent, full-time post based in Central London, WC1

Responsible to: Director

Salary: £38-£42k


The Wiener Holocaust Library is Britain's largest archive on the Holocaust and Nazi era and modern genocide. Founded in 1933 in Amsterdam, the Library's holdings span a wide range of resources, focusing on the Holocaust, its causes and consequences. The collections are continuing to grow through donations and acquisitions.


In the past five years, the Library has undergone major transformation and expansion. Our digital collections have grown dramatically and our outreach and research activities have also expanded. The Head of Collections will provide strategic vision in a role where digital technology, digitised archive materials, web and social media marketing and outreach and research activities are closely integrated with collections work.


The strategic goal of The Wiener Holocaust Library is to serve as Britain's Holocaust Archive. We want to give people the tools they need to engage successfully with this critically important but difficult subject. The collections of the Library must be developed in such a way as to promote the institution's reputation as the nation's premier specialist collection for research and learning about the Holocaust and other genocides.


The Library's Head of Collections will need to support, sustain and shape the growth of the Library's collections accordingly, both physical and digital.


Organisational relationships


The Head of Collections reports to the Director of The Wiener Holocaust Library. Together with the Director, the Deputy Director and Head of Research, and the Senior Curator and Head of Education, the Head of Collections is part of the Senior Management Team (SMT).


The Head of Collections manages a key team within the Library, including direct reports from:

  • Senior Archivist
  • Reader Services Librarian
  • Printed and AV Collections Manager.


The Head of Collections would also jointly supervise the Digital Asset Manager (with the Director) and our Project Cataloguer and Periodicals Librarian (with the Printed and AV Collections Manager).


Main objective of the post


The Head of Collections is responsible for the management, development and preservation of all collections at The Wiener Holocaust Library and making them accessible to readers. The objectives are to be reached within the framework of the Library's management structure and strategic goals.


Specific responsibilities


Collection management

The Head of Collections is responsible for the management and future

development of the Library's books, archives, photographs and other collections.


  • Set and maintain collection management strategies, policies and procedures, including budgets, establishing best practices and efficient, integrated workflows within the Library's cataloguing software, Soutron, using workflow software.
  • Lead the wider team in terms of the efficient deployment and management of collection storage space, both onsite and offsite. This includes actively contributing to any plans to enhance, maintain or upgrade available space.
  • Support the Director with facilities management, in particular in the following areas: air handling, water management, security (particularly collections security), fire safety.
  • Oversee management of external loan arrangements and policies

    NB: The Head of collections has historically served as Fire Safety Officer for the Library, and is therefore expected to undergo relevant training in order to fulfil this responsibility)



    Collection development

  • Lead on the development of the collections, identifying areas for enhancement and acquisitions in line with the Library's strategic plan, priorities of the SMT, and relevant policies.
  • Ensure that collections are housed, packaged and handled according to recognised preservation standards.
  • Ensure that the creation and enhancement of metadata are carried out to agreed standards.
  • Ensure that plans to systematically reduce and ultimately eliminate backlogs are in place and running efficiently.


    As a member of the Library's SMT, the Head of Collections contributes to the strategic planning for the whole organisation.


    Strategic management tasks include:

  • Participating in resource enhancement activities, including identifying funding or grant sources to support the department's work and projects.
  • Leading on writing applications to grant givers regarding collections management activities and development.
  • Ensuring that key strategic goals are reflected and implemented in the day-to-day work of the Collections Team.
  • Developing key partnerships and stakeholder relationships, including with potential funders, to ensure that overall collections development strategy is understood and supported outside the organisation where relevant
  • Setting high standards of professional conduct and coaching individuals and teams to achieve their full potential;
  • Taking initiative to lead change and take decisions that have a positive impact across the organisation.
  • Contributing to preparation of organisational budgets with regard to collections-related areas of the Library’s work.


    Team management


    The post holder will supervise and coordinate the work of the Collections Team to ensure maintenance of standards and efficiency.


  • Maintain a high level of continuing professional development to update your awareness of relevant external developments and best practice for similar organisations.
  • Monitor developments and innovations in technology likely to impact on the work of the Library.
  • Liaise with the Education and Research teams regarding the use of collections in exhibitions and other outreach efforts.


Selection criteria



  • Qualification in archive or library studies, collections management, museum studies or equivalent.
  • Fluent or advanced reading knowledge of German.
  • Significant experience of staff management with the ability to lead and manage effective teams, motivate and develop colleagues, and manage organisational change.
  • Significant collection management experience.
  • Experience with digital asset management.
  • Demonstrated ability to take initiative in developing new practices and procedures.
  • Excellent people management skills and the ability to apply policies and procedures appropriately.
  • Strong demonstrable knowledge of the Holocaust.
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills including the ability to be able to write reports, policies and procedures.



  • A degree in a relevant subject, such as modern European history or Jewish studies.
  • Knowledge of other European languages.
  • Experience of managing projects to high standard, on time and on budget.
  • Experience of mixed resource collections.
  • Experience of working with volunteers.


You may be asked to carry out other duties as may arise from time to time. You will be required to act in accordance with the provisions of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 to take reasonable care for the health and safety of any person who may be affected by your acts or omissions at work.


Applicants must be prepared to demonstrate their legal right to work in the United Kingdom.


Please note that The Wiener Holocaust Library is unlikely to be in a position to apply for a Certificate of Sponsorship for this post under Tier 2 of the UK Border Agency's Points Based System. We will, however, be happy to have a conversation with potential candidates to explore any options that could be available for suitably qualified candidates.


How to Apply


Please send your CV and a cover letter outlining your relevant experience to:

Olivia Oakley

Office Coordinator

The Wiener Holocaust Library,

29 Russell Square,

London WC1B 5DP or




The closing date for applications is 5 February 2022. Applications must be

received by 5.30pm. Applications submitted before the closing date are welcome.


For an informal talk about this position, please contact the Director, Dr Toby Simpson, on 020 7636 7247 or tsimpson@wienerholocaustlibrary.org