American Folklife Center Seeks New Director

Professional Opportunities
a tree with American Follife Center The Library of Congress in a circle around it

The American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress is seeking a new director, following folklorist Elizabeth Peterson’s retirement after 10 years at the helm. Applications are due by February 14, 2022.

The director administers the AFC’s public programming, reference, processing, managerial and administrative staff to attain program goals and objectives; directs the AFC’s annual budget process and manages budget execution, for appropriated, gift and trust funds; and represents the AFC at professional and management meetings. They provide professional, technical and administrative direction for all activities of the AFC, including the Veterans History Project. They plan AFC’s annual program and activities within the Library Services performance budget, and determine short-term and long-range goals and objectives. They also determine research and collection development projects for staff, assuring that analog and digital collections are relevant to researcher needs and that they are served in a timely and efficient manner. They coordinate the AFC’s security, preservation, and collection and space-management programs and determines digitization project priorities in consultation with other Library managers. The director also develops and recommends policies governing the use of collection materials in the AFC’s custody, and the provision of reference and research services to meet the needs of Congress, scholars, publishers, and other research communities.

The director has overall responsibility, as well as delegated authority, for the oversight and administration of broad, emerging, and/or critical Library of Congress programs or operations. They are responsible for the direction and management of the AFC to efficiently achieve specified goals and objectives generally outlined in the Library’s strategic plan. They also evaluate current and proposed programs and operations and take actions to initiate, modify, or discontinue projects in accordance with the service unit’s performance budget.

In Peterson’s post on the Publore listserv for public folklorists, she wrote:

“If you are interested, please read the job description and please feel free to contact me. I am not serving in any capacity on the Selection Committee and  I am happy to answer any questions about the position.  If you feel hesitant about your qualifications or daunted by the job description, please email me (personal and work emails are listed below). I came to AFC with a background of working as a consultant and working in non-profits most of my life. I had not worked at this scale of organization before. Those are skills that can be learned.  But there are a few qualifications or characteristics that are essential:  most importantly, a commitment to the missions  of preservation and access; expertise in and understanding of the cultural traditions and communities represented in the collection; a focus on management and collaboration with staff, with the institution of the Library, and building relationships with communities, donors, and cultural organizations throughout the U.S. and beyond; and experience and commitment to thinking strategically in terms of national and international partnerships.

“I am excited to work with and assist the incoming Director as appropriate and possible.  For the right person, this will be a dream job.   It is also a position and program that is critical to the field of folklore, ethnomusicology, oral history and other fields with a stake in cultural heritage documentation.”

We sometimes make mistakes, and we are happy to correct any errors that you may come across on our site. If you find an error, please let us know using the “submit a correction” link.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Share your news

Have some important news to share? We can help you get it out there! Fill out the submission form and send it our way.