This article seeks to understand the current state of the field of special collections library administration in the United States. Using a dataset gathered through publicly available information about special collections directors from the Association of Research Libraries (ARL), Independent Research Libraries Association (IRLA), and the Oberlin Group institutional members, the authors explore the educational backgrounds of directors, the types of positions they held prior to taking on their current roles, and the effect of gender on leadership advancement. This article also discusses the similarities and differences between institution types as well as promotions within institutions and across types of institutions.

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This is the accepted final version of an article that is currently scheduled to be published in the September 2023 issue of College & Research Libraries. Once that is published, please cite that version of this article.