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Research Services Librarian - Harvard University

Location: USA - MA - Cambridge

Harvard University's Houghton Library, the primary repository for Harvard's rare books and manuscripts, seeks an innovative, collaborative, and user-centered Research Services Librarian. Reporting to the Associate Librarian for Public Services, this position has primary responsibility for managing and coordinating all reading room activities, including staff training and scheduling. In conjunction with department colleagues, this position optimizes access systems and proposes new services and workflows as appropriate.

The Research Services Librarian works positively and inclusively with students, faculty, and the public, guiding users in discovering, using, and evaluating resources, explaining techniques, policies, and procedures, and empowering users to conduct research in Harvard's distinctive collections. The Research Services Librarian also participates in Houghton Library's teaching and learning initiatives, including classroom instruction, January-term classes, and outreach activities.

The Research Librarian works alongside colleagues and the Associate Librarian for Public Services to establish and maintain a welcoming and secure reading room, data driven operations, and a lively and inclusive special collections library.

  • Design and administer service model that delivers high-quality user-centered services; explore and implement changes to service model and supporting processes.
  • Manage the Houghton Reading Room and its operations, including assisting patrons, materials circulation, safe handling of collections, and reading room supplies.
  • Administer Houghton's system for registering patrons and tracking their requests for and use of collection materials; work with collections management colleagues and other staff to ensure collection material is onsite and ready for use when patrons arrive in the reading room.
  • Create and maintain training materials and manuals for desk staff and student assistants and provide training for consistent, courteous, efficient, and equitable patron service.
  • Coordinate, maintain, and analyze circulation, reference, and other use statistics; prepare annual reports on reading room operations.
  • Set and maintain schedules for reading room, reference, and lobby coverage; maintain hours on the library website.
  • Provide in-person and virtual reference assistance as needed, including 4-6 hours of weekly reference desk shifts, one evening shift (5-7pm), and a rotating 8-hour Saturday shift.
  • Ensure excellent service, friendly reception, and positive research interactions for researchers of all skill levels using Houghton collections.
  • Work across curatorial areas (Printing & Graphic Arts, Early Books and Manuscripts, Early Modern Books and Manuscripts, Modern Books and Manuscripts, and the Harvard Theatre Collection) to prepare and lead instruction sessions with primary source materials, including evaluating and selecting materials, developing class plans, and collaborating with faculty on assignment design and learning outcomes.
  • Promote inclusive teaching practices and a commitment to accessibility in the development and delivery of services and programs.
  • Build and foster collaborative relationships with Houghton departments and librarians and archivists across the Harvard Library.
  • Participates in ongoing learning and professional development relevant to position responsibilities and delivery of services and programs, as well as Houghton and Harvard Library committees and special projects. Collaborates with colleagues outside of Harvard and in national professional organizations.
  • Supervises a Library Assistant and a Public Services Assistant. Responsible for performance management, coaching, and workflow supervision. Manages students as needed.

Basic Qualifications:
  • Master's degree in library and/or information science or equivalent experience
  • Two or more years of professional experience in instruction and reference in an academic or research library environment
  • Experience in providing reference and instruction in rare books, manuscripts, or archives
  • Experience with research and teaching trends, methods, and best practices

Additional Qualifications:
  • Ability to manage complex projects and deliver to deadlines
  • 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
  • Strong customer service orientation and success in improving the user experience
  • Capacity to thrive in a changing working environment
  • Ability to develop and sustain effective collaborations with students, faculty, academic departments and/or academic support units, including working efficiently across disciplines and with diverse populations
  • Experience with assessment tools and methods
  • Excellent written and oral communication
  • High level judgment and discretion, and comfort with ambiguity
  • Strategic thinking, negotiation, and change management skills
  • Strong analytical and problem-solving skills
  • Commitment to positive, solutions-driven responses to challenges
  • Supervisory experience
  • Experience with or willingness to adopt new technologies and systems that expand access to collections and facilitate their use in research and teaching.
  • Record of engagement with professional groups and activities and/or contributions to professional or scholarly literature
  • Working knowledge of a language other than English including, but not limited to Spanish, French, Italian, Latin, or any Non-Roman script [or alphabet] language

Application instructions:

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