About that AFS Job


The Library of Congress serves the Congress in fulfilling its duties and preserves and promotes knowledge and creativity for the benefit of the American people. It is the nation’s oldest federal cultural institution and the world’s largest library, with more than 145 million items in its physical collections (including books, manuscripts, prints, photos, film, video, and sound recordings) and almost 20 million items online. Located on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., the Library is the home of the U.S. Copyright Office, the Congressional Research Service (CRS), the Law Library of Congress and the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped.

As division chief of the AFC and principal officer for folklife in the Library, the director has full managerial and professional responsibility for the development and growth of research programs, collection development, public and scholarly service, preservation and custodial management, interpretive and other special programs of education and presentation (including publications, exhibits, and events) of the AFC. The Director is also responsible for managing the AFC gift and trust funds and for raising private funds to support AFC objectives. The Director is responsible for the management of the Folklife Reading Room to carry out AFC’s custodial responsibility for the AFC Archive collections, including significant oral history and born-digital collections (e.g. the Veterans History Project Collection, the StoryCorps Collection and the Civil Rights History Project Collection).


As 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. Provides professional, technical and administrative direction for all activities of the AFC. Plans AFC’s annual program and activities within the Library Services performance budget, and determines short-term and long-range goals and objectives. Determines 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. Coordinates the AFC’s security, preservation, and collection and space-management programs. Determines digitization project priorities in consultation with other Library managers. 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.

Performs the full range of human-resource management functions relative to the staff supervised. Hires and assigns staff as required. Establishes performance expectations for staff members, which are clearly communicated, and oversees performance-management principles in accordance with Library regulations, procedures and collective-bargaining agreements. Provides informal feedback and periodically evaluates staff on job performance. Resolves informal complaints and grievances. Initiates personnel actions as necessary.

Develops, conceives, plans, and implements policies and guidelines affecting broad, emerging, and/or critical agency programs. Translates new legislation and/or Library strategic goals into program goals, actions, and policies and interprets the impact of new legislative or strategic planning requirements on agency programs.

Establishes and maintains effective working relationships with the AFC Board of Trustees and facilitates board meetings to ensure continuity of efforts toward the fulfillment of national goals and objectives. Establishes and maintains effective working relationships with various high-level individuals, including members of Congress and their staffs, other legislative and executive agencies, members of the Madison Council, executives of major corporations, and distinguished members of the public, including scholars, in order to advance the mission of the AFC and the mission of the Library of Congress and in furtherance of the Library’s strategic goals.

Qualifications and Evaluations


The Director of the American Folklife Center (AFC) serves as the Library’s primary expert on folklife and cultural heritage collections, and directs staff in the delivery of public programs and reference services related to folklore and folklife.

A candidate’s resume must show a proven record of accomplishment that clearly demonstrates he or she:

(1) Has the ability to build coalitions.** The successful candidate has represented, presented, negotiated, defended, explained, advocated and expressed facts and ideas in a convincing manner in order to negotiate with individuals and groups in a manner that influences them to support a position and achieve results.

(2) Has skills in business management. ** The successful candidate has experience applying regulation and principles of business management, including entrepreneurial skills through fundraising and collaborative partnerships.

(3) Has the ability to lead people and inspire change. ** The successful candidate has led people effectively and inspired change in developing and implementing an organization’s vision that integrates key goals, priorities and values.

(4) Has knowledge of folklife, ethnomusicology or related fields represented in the American Folklife Center. ** The successful candidate has extensive knowledge of primary and secondary research in the fields of folklife or ethnomusicology in order to administer folklife programs and collections.

Your resume is important to this application process.  It will be reviewed to determine whether you possess the qualifications referenced above. All applicants are required to submit a resume that provides specific information (to include accomplishments, work experience and education/training) that clearly describes what you would bring to the position.


The Library of Congress will evaluate applicants using the information provided in your resume. ┬áReviews are intended to explore applicants’ experience, knowledge, and training directly related to the job in order to identify the best qualified applicants for selection.

For Executive Schedule positions, applicants do not need to respond to specific competency questions but will be requested to answer one question related to how they became aware of this job opportunity.