City of Boston

Special Collections Pub Services Librarian

Posted Date 3 months ago(7/8/2021 1:22 PM)
Req ID
Boston Public Library
Regular Full-Time
Special Collections
Salary Min
Salary Max
Contact Email


Position Overview

Responsible for implementation of reference, instruction, access, and reading room services in accordance with professional standards and best practices for special collections. Provides specialized and complex reference services and promotes the use, care, and servicing of rare books and manuscripts material. Coordinates educational, programmatic, and promotional outreach to teachers, scholars, community groups, and others to support research and learning activities related to the library’s special collections.


Reports to

Manager of Rare Books and Manuscripts or delegate



Professional and support staff as assigned


Scope of Responsibility

  1. In coordination with special collections department heads and curators, researches and implements policies and procedures for special collections reference, access, and public reading room services in accordance with professional standards and best practices for public service, security, and preservation.

  2. Manages the special collections reading room and its operations, including creating and maintaining desk schedules, materials retrieval, and delivery. Monitors the use of the collections and adherence to departmental policies and procedures.
  3. Alternates with other staff members in supervising the reading room in such a way as to maintain an atmosphere conducive to research while responsibly preserving and protecting materials.
  4. Oversees the administration of reading room management software, including setting up new accounts, establishing workflows for requests, and instructing staff on appropriate use of software.
  5. Collaborates with special collections department heads and curators in creating training materials for special collections reference services and in training relevant staff on procedures.
  6. Performs difficult and involved reference service for rare books and manuscripts material which requires a high level of professional competence and specialized knowledge in locating materials and suggesting resources within the Library and in other libraries.
  7. Coordinates access for patrons whose research, teaching, communications, and learning activities benefit from engagement with the library’s special collections. Works with curators and other Special Collections staff to initiate new ways of engaging students and the academic community with primary source material.
  8. Participates in the development of new and innovative approaches for effective public outreach and reference services for rare books and manuscripts material including programs, classes, exhibitions, tours, presentations, resource guides, publications, and social media.
  9. Assists the Manager of Rare Books in the cultivation and stewardship of prospective donors and identification of potential collections for acquisition to the Rare Books and Manuscripts Department collections.
  10. Suggests items or collections in need of conservation, makes recommendations for reformatting of materials.
  11. Commits to keeping current in the best practices of the profession by taking advantage of training and development activities, by reading professional literature, and by participating in professional activities.
  12. Maintains up-to-date knowledge of major Boston Public Library special collections, including frequently used materials.
  13. In coordination with the Preservation team, instructs patrons and other staff in the proper handling of special collections.
  14. Participates in stacks maintenance and inventory projects as needed.
  15. Represents library at local and national conferences as assigned.
  16. Prepares statistical and other reports and analyses related to research, service, and outreach metrics, as assigned.
  17. Performs other related and comparable duties as assigned.



  • Knowledge and understanding of current best practices, standards, and trends relating to special collections libraries’ research, learning, and outreach.
  • Knowledge of subject areas relevant to Boston Public Library rare books and manuscripts collections.
  • Proven familiarity with rare books and manuscripts reference sources, databases, and research techniques for primary source materials.
  • Knowledge of specialized preservation and handling techniques for rare and fragile items.
  • Ability to work collaboratively and proactively with various advisory groups and levels of staff in a team environment.
  • Familiarity with reading room management software, such as Aeon.
  • Ability to carry out detailed procedures with accuracy.
  • Ability to work with minimal supervision.
  • Ability to plan and prioritize job responsibilities and tasks.
  • Demonstrates initiative and appropriate independent decision-making skills.
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills.
  • Communicates effectively and presents ideas clearly.
  • Ability to think creatively and innovatively.
  • Ability to execute library policy.
  • Proficiency with Microsoft Outlook, Word, PowerPoint, and Excel.

Minimum Entrance Qualifications:


  • Bachelor’s degree from a recognized college or university and a master’s degree in Library Science from an ALA accredited library school.
  • A second master’s degree in the Humanities or advanced coursework that would increase the knowledge of rare books is desirable. 
  • Relevant subject knowledge and/or specialized training required.
  • In exceptional circumstances, specialized training/experience may be substituted for all or part of the educational requirement.


  • Four years relevant experience working in a library, museum, or other similar cultural heritage institution, including two years’ experience working in a special collections reading room.  
  • Experience developing and implementing best practices for a special collections reading room.
  • Supervisory experience required.



  1. Excellent public service skills. 
  2. Some evening and weekend hours.
  3. Residency - Must be a resident of the City of Boston upon the first day of hire.
  4. CORI - Must successfully clear a Criminal Offenders Record Information check with the City of Boston.



Union/Salary Plan/Grade: PSA/P-3

Hours per week: 35


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