City of Boston

Rare Books and Manuscripts Librarian

Posted Date 2 months ago(1/30/2023 12:07 PM)
Req ID
Boston Public Library
Regular Full-Time
Special Collections
Salary Min
Salary Max
Posting End Date
Contact Email


Position Overview

Is responsible for providing specialized and complex reference services, performing complex and original cataloging and classifying of rare books and manuscripts, and promoting the use, care, and servicing of the Rare Books and Manuscripts’ collections.


Reports to

Manager of Rare Books and Manuscripts or delegate



Professional and support staff as assigned


Scope of Responsibility

  1. Provides reference service which often includes difficult and complex queries; takes responsibility for developing and maintaining quality reference service within the Department.
  2. In coordination with the Special Collections Cataloging Manager and according to the cataloging policies of the Library, performs original and complex descriptive and subject cataloging, classification, and authority work for rare books, manuscripts This work will require special language, subject, and technical knowledge.
  3. Establishes new personal and corporate names and uniform titles, with appropriate cross-references, for inclusion in the name authority file. Where appropriate, revises existing authority records
  4. Assists in retrospective conversion projects, including digitization projects, by facilitating an accurate conversion of data into appropriate machine readable forms, including MARC21, XML, or other formats as required.
  5. Remains current with existing and emerging cataloging policies, practices, standards, schema and procedures including, but not limited to, MARC 21, DCRM(B),  FRBR, AACR2r, LC Rule Interpretations, OCLC bibliographic standards, Dublin Core, MODS, EAD, TEI, CDWA, GILS, and CORC.
  6. Works collaboratively with Content Discovery staff in order to resolve problems relating to item and bibliographic records.
  7. Assumes responsibility for implementing the policies of the Library as they pertain to the Rare Books and Manuscripts Department.
  8. Keep abreast of current trends in scholarship in order to match research needs with collection holdings.
  9. Alternates with other staff members in supervising the reading room in such a way as to maintain an atmosphere conducive to research at the same time as preserving and protecting materials.
  10. Contributes to cultivation and stewardship of prospective donors and identification of potential collections for acquisition.
  11. Increases visibility of the collections through presentations, web-based projects, exhibitions, and public programs.
  12. Suggests items or collections in need of conservation, makes recommendations for reformatting of materials, and instructs patrons and other staff in the proper handling of rare books and manuscripts.
  13. Prepares statistical and other reports and analyses, as assigned.
  14. Performs other related and comparable duties as assigned.




  • Proven familiarity with standard rare book and manuscript reference sources and databases.
  • Knowledge of current conservation principles and practices.
  • Demonstrated experience and superior knowledge of DCRM(B), FRBR, AACR2, LCSH, LC classification, and MARC 21 coding (all formats).
  • Demonstrated working knowledge and recent hands-on experience cataloging on OCLC.
  • Working knowledge of current and emerging library catalogs, online and print cataloging resources and bibliographic tools.
  • 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 execute library policy.

Minimum Entrance Qualifications:




  • A 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.



  • Four (4) years recent professional experience in a Rare Book /Manuscript Dept.
  • Four (4) years recent experience performing original cataloging using DCRM(B), FRBR, AACR2, LCSH, LC classification, and MARC 21 coding.
  • One year recent experience maintaining name, subject, and uniform title authority control MARC records.
  • Reading knowledge of Latin and fluency in at least one additional language other than English. Ability to deal with other unfamiliar foreign languages.



  1. Residency -Must be a resident of the City of Boston upon the first day of hire.
  2. 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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