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Public Services Asst. @ Harvard University

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    Posted: 20/Aug/2019 at 5:05pm
Harvard University

Public Services Assistant
Harvard College Library

Duties & Responsibilities

Houghton Library seeks a Public Services Assistant to support researchers in the Houghton Library Reading Room. This is an excellent opportunity for someone to gain reference experience in a premier rare book and manuscript library. This two-year position is designed to provide additional support to Houghton during a period of transition driven by a major renovation that will close the library for a year, August 2019- August 2020.

Reporting to the Associate Librarian for Public Services, while working closely with Public Services Division team members, the individual in this position will provide support in planning and coordinating the relocation of the Houghton Reading Room to an interim location and the reopening of the Reading Room in the renovated Houghton Library. The position will assist Public Services staff in the movement of collections, documenting public services workflows and policies, providing reference and public services to on-site and remote library patrons, and monitoring the operations of the reading room.

This position will work 9:00 am - 5:00 pm, Monday through Friday, with possible occasional evening and weekend shifts.

This is a two year term appointment. The end date will be based on the start date.


Assist the Associate Librarian and Public Services colleagues in planning circulation and reference workflows for interim and renovated reading rooms.
Develop moving checklists for reading room equipment and supplies. Advise and research potential purchase of new reading room tools and technology (such as lightboxes, document cameras, etc.).
Assist in documenting and updating public services policies.
Greet and assist researchers in use of the library. Explain library policies and procedures.
With the guidance of librarians, provide reference and public services to on-site and remote library patrons.
Assist patrons with library systems (including HOLLIS, HOLLIS for Archival Discovery, and HOLLIS Special Request)
Monitor the operations of the reading room
Provide instruction in the handling of archival, manuscript, and rare book collections.
As necessary and in coordination with the Circulation and Collections Manager, page and shelve materials from the closed-stacks.
Assist librarians and archivists in special collections instruction (paging collections, setting up collection materials, proctoring use, etc.).


This position may supervise student workers.

Basic Qualifications

•     High School diploma or equivalent required
•     Minimum of two years' experience in special collections, archives, academic libraries, or related institutions

Additional Qualifications

•     Bachelor's degree preferred, or equivalent combination of experience and education
•     A strong public service orientation
•     Familiarity and comfort with archival and bibliographic description.
•     Knowledge of basic preservation and conservation issues as they relate to rare books and archival collections.
•     Demonstrated initiative, flexibility, and ability to work collegially and creatively within and across organizations
•     A commitment to diversity and to serving the needs of a diverse population.
•     Excellent written and oral communication
•     High level judgment and discretion, and comfort with ambiguity
•     Aptitude for detail, accuracy, and efficiency; good organizational skills.
•     Ability to manage time and tasks and complete projects in a timely manner.
•     Ability to work independently and as part of a team.
•     Knowledge of general office applications. MS Word, Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint, and Google Suite

Additional Information

About Houghton Library

Houghton Library is Harvard's principal repository for rare books and manuscripts, literary and performing arts archives, and more. The library is a destination for students and scholars on campus and around the world, and each year welcomes thousands of researchers and students into its reading room and classrooms.

Houghton Library's collections represent the scope of human experience from ancient Egypt to twenty-first century Cambridge. With strengths primarily in North American and European history, literature, and culture, collections range in media from printed books and handwritten manuscripts to maps, drawings and paintings, prints, posters, photographs, film and audio recordings, and digital media, as well as costumes, theater props, and a wide range of other objects. Houghton Library has historically focused on collecting the written record of European and Eurocentric North American culture, yet it holds a large and diverse number of primary sources valuable for research on the languages, culture and history of indigenous peoples of the Americas, Africa, Asia and Oceania.

To learn more about the collections and Houghton Library, please visit our website at

To learn more about the upcoming Houghton Library renovation, please visit the renovation website at

Diversity and Inclusion at Harvard Library

Across Harvard Library, our work is enriched by our diverse campus community. Our unique and wide-ranging abilities, experiences, and perspectives are integral to achieving Harvard University's mission of excellence in research, teaching, and learning for our patrons, our collections, and our workplace. We believe that an inclusive environment that cultivates and promotes understanding, respect, and collaboration across our diverse workforce enables our success.

We invite individuals with diverse backgrounds, experiences and abilities to be a part of our community of over 700 staff members. Our work with faculty, students and researchers to explore answers to intellectual questions, enduring and new, and to seek solutions to the world's most consequential problems, requires that we not only reflect, but also champion our diverse society.

Harvard Library inspires collaboration, reflection, experimentation, and discovery connecting users to related disciplines and to University-wide teaching resources. The Library engages users through curated discovery, digital collections, reimagined physical space, and specialized research support. Today, Harvard Library's holdings range from traditional print collections to rapidly expanding access to digital resources. Harvard Library provides the University's faculty, students, and researchers-now and in the future-with exceptional experiences and comprehensive access to these materials.

Learn more about our contributions to the academic enterprise by visiting us at and about the Harvard University community at
Harvard Library is a proud member of the Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL) Diversity Alliance.

Job Function

Sub Unit

USA - MA - Cambridge

Harvard College Library - Houghton Library

Time Status

55 - Hvd Union Cler & Tech Workers

Salary Grade

Pre-Employment Screening
Criminal, Education, Identity

35 hours per week

EEO Statement
We are an equal opportunity employer and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability status, protected veteran status, gender identity, sexual orientation, pregnancy and pregnancy-related conditions, or any other characteristic protected by law.

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