City of Boston

Conservation Officer

Posted Date 1 month ago(9/16/2021 7:57 AM)
Req ID
Boston Public Library
Regular Full-Time
Special Collections
Salary Min
Salary Max
Contact Email


Position Overview 

Responsible for the conservation treatment of rare and unique library materials, both paper-based and vellum-based; performs complex conservation treatment on rare book and special collections; keeps written records and photo-documentation of such work.


Reports to

Book Conservator



As assigned, professional and support staff


Scope of Responsibility

  1. Assists in planning and managing the services, operations, and staff of the Rare Books Department.  Assumes administrative responsibility for the day-to-day operation of the Conservation Lab in the absence of the Book Conservator or other ranking staff member.
  2. In consultation with the Book Conservator and Keeper of Special Collections, will perform complex conservation treatments on rare book and special collections materials including re-sewing; leather and vellum repair; rebinding and binding conservation; gold and blind tooling; conservation of paper and parchment, including aqueous and chemical treatment; creation of custom protective enclosures for a variety of rare and archival materials.
  3. In consultation with Book Conservator and Keeper of Special Collections, establish priorities for conservation treatment and coordinate the workflow of conservation treatments.
  4. Keeps written and photo-documentation of all conservation treatments.
  5. Participates in the planning of project goals and assists in establishing standards for implementation.
  6. Assists in the preparation of rare and special collections materials for exhibition, including condition reports and management of preventative care.
  7. Plans and conducts information, fundraising, orientation and training programs for library staff, librarians from other institutions, and members of the public.
  8. Participates in public presentations and fund-raising events.
  9. Assists in supervising, training, and developing conservation staff/interns.
  10. Initiates and maintains appropriate working relationships with staff within the Library and with other libraries, organizations, and agencies.
  11. Performs other related and comparable duties as assigned.


  • Ability to execute library policy.
  • Ability to plan and supervise the work of others.
  • Demonstrates initiative and independent decision making skills.
  • Communicates effectively and presents ideas clearly.
  • Ability to think creatively and innovatively.
  • Demonstrates flexibility and the ability to adapt to change.
  • Ability to work collaboratively and proactively with various advisory groups and levels of staff in a team environment.
  • Ability to work independently.
  • Willingness and proven ability to work with customers both internal and external; professional demeanor; tact, dependability, good judgment, empathy, and courtesy.

Minimum Entrance Qualifications:




  • Bachelor's degree from a recognized college or university and a master’s degree or other post graduate, professional certificate from a well recognized program of conservation/bookbinding. In exceptional circumstances, specialized education, training, and/or experience as evidenced by a conservation portfolio may be substituted for part or all of the educational requirements.



  • Four years appropriate experience in a conservation lab or bookbinding facility.



  • Extensive knowledge of current book and paper conservation principles and practices. Extensive knowledge of the history of books and bookbindings, including historic bookbinding structures. Demonstrated ability to perform complex conservation treatments on rare books, bookbindings, manuscripts and broadsides, as evidenced by a conservation portfolio.  Understanding of temp/RH, light issues, pest management, disaster recovery.
  • Residency – Must be a resident of the City of Boston upon the first day of hire.
  • 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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