City of Boston

Manager of Research Services

Req ID
Boston Public Library
Regular Full-Time
Special Collections
Salary Min
Salary Max
Posting End Date
Contact Email


Position Overview

The Manager of Research Services leads efforts in developing and providing effective research support and integrated public access to research and special collections and services across the Central Library’s reading rooms, service desks, and remote reference activities. This position oversees teams and services responsible for reference, research, instruction, access, and other public services connected to discovery and use of the library’s research and special collections.  


Working collaboratively across the department and throughout the library, this position supports active, welcoming, and inclusive public engagement with the library’s research and special collections in accordance with professional standards, ethics, security guidelines, and best practices in the field.  Primary responsibilities include the management and coordination of all reference, reading rooms, and remote research and reference activities and the development of instruction and outreach services that build and strengthen users’ connections with BPL’s collections. Core functions include performing analyses of existing research services and usage patterns, developing workflows, setting priorities, training staff, and fostering a culture of data-informed continuous improvement.


The Manager of Research Services leads stakeholders in the creation and delivery of educational and programmatic outreach to teachers, students, scholars, community groups, and the public to support broad research and learning activities. This role is responsible for identifying opportunities for innovative expansion of reference and research services that are sustainable and responsive to the communities that BPL serves.


About the BPL’s research and special collections: Collected since the library’s founding in 1848, the research and special collections represent the BPL’s ongoing commitment to providing free and open access to specialized materials primarily held by private or academic libraries. As a founding member of the Association of Research Libraries (ARL), the Boston Public Library is one of only two public libraries to hold this distinction.  The library’s exceptional special collections include rare books, artwork, manuscripts, archives, photographs, music, maps, and sculpture. The research collections total more than 16 million items and include monographs, serials, periodicals, pamphlets, journals, illustrated portfolios, newspapers, maps, government documents, audiovisual materials, and microfilm, among other formats. All of these collections represent materials deemed to be of enduring value to researchers and the general public.


Reports to

Director of Research & Special Collections and the Manager of the Central Library



Staff, as assigned


Scope of Responsibility

  • Develops, refines, and implements procedures and workflows for reference, collections access, and public reading room services that promote access and center user experience in accordance with professional standards and best practices for public service, security, and preservation.
  • Oversees reference services for research and special collections and ensures coordination, integration, and commitment to high-quality customer service in-person and remotely. Ensures that all reference and access services for research collections are evaluated, designed, and reviewed regularly for quality, equity, inclusion, and accessibility.
  • Directly supervises public services staff in special collections and research services. Assumes responsibility for supervising, training, developing, and evaluating staff.
  • Oversees the scheduling and staffing of public service desks dedicated to reference functions and other service points staffed by the team at the Central Library.
  • Oversees the management of the library’s special collections reading rooms and operations, including creating and maintaining schedules and workflows. Develops processes and procedures for materials requests, collections movement, and tracking in adherence to departmental policies and procedures.
  • Serves as the primary administrator for various request and workflow management software programs, including account management, data collection, vendor coordination, statistics gathering, training, and process refinement.
  • Provides leadership in the development of discovery tools and resource guides online and developing content for the web.
  • Oversees the development of new and innovative approaches for effective public outreach and reference services for research and special collections material including programs, classes, drop-in sessions, tours, presentations, resource guides, publications, and social media.
  • Encourages broad engagement with students and educators on the use of BPL resources for research and teaching. Encourages active collaboration across special and research collections staff to support coursework, digital scholarship, publications, and fellowships to increase capacity and reach.
  • Works with relevant departments to develop procedures and workflows for patron-driven, on-demand digitization. Works collaboratively with staff and stakeholders to develop and support larger digital initiatives for library collections.
  • Prepares statistical and other reports and analyses related to circulation, research, service, and outreach metrics. Analyzes data to propose adjustments, improvements, and innovations in service.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Represents library at local and national conferences as assigned.
  • Performs other related and comparable duties as assigned.


  • Knowledge and understanding of current best practices, standards, and trends relating to research, learning, and outreach in special collections and research library settings.
  • Strong understanding of the role of and opportunities for utilizing primary source materials in research, teaching, and learning.
  • Knowledge of subject areas relevant to major holdings in Boston Public Library research and special collections.
  • Proven familiarity with current 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.
  • Experience 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. 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.


Seven (7) years relevant experience working in a library or similar institution, including experience developing and implementing best practices for special and research collections public service, reading room policies and practices, and instruction. Two years (2) supervisory and/or management experience required. Proficiency in a second language other than English desirable.



  • Excellent public service skills.  Some evening and weekend hours.
  • 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 / 5

Hours per week: 35


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