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Thursday, March 11, 2010

F/T - Reference Librarian, Special Collections - Princeton University

Reference Librarian for Special Collections
Department of Rare Books and Special Collections
Princeton University Library
Princeton, NJ
Requisition #

The Princeton University Library, one of the world's most respected research institutions, serves a diverse community of 6,600 students and 1,100 faculty members with more than 6 million printed volumes, 5 million manuscripts, and 2 million nonprint items. The holdings in its central facility and 15 specialized libraries range from ancient papyri and incunabula to the most advanced electronic databases and digital collections. The Library employs a dedicated and knowledgeable staff of more than 300 professional and support personnel, complemented by a large student and hourly workforce. More information can be found at the Library's Web site:

The Special Collections Reference Librarian is responsible for reference services in the Rare Books and Manuscripts Department in Firestone Library and works closely with the Assistant University Archivist for Public Services at the Mudd Manuscript Library to coordinate public services for all of Special Collections. This person supervises the work of three support staff and coordinates the delivery of public services with many professionals and support staff who play part-time public service roles in the Department. The position reports to the Associate University Librarian for Rare Books and Special Collections. 
We seek a generalist with the ability and talent to provide reference services for the myriad subject areas the Department covers. The main reading room in Firestone serves more than 2,500 patrons annually from within and without the University community.  Our patrons consult more than 12,000 books, manuscripts, graphic materials, maps, and other items that span many languages and five millennia of recorded history. The Department’s public services staff at Firestone also handle approximately 2,500 reference inquiries annually from around the world, provide paper, microfilm, digital, and photographic copies for approximately 16,000 items annually, and gather materials for and host more than 100 classes for approximately 1,500 students during the academic year.
The successful candidate must be committed to and be an advocate for public services in the Department, as well as in the wider library system. The ideal candidate will enjoy working with researchers, take up the challenge of problem solving, and have a welcoming personality—qualities that will help patrons researching primary sources. The position may work occasional evening or weekend hours.

Specific responsibilities include:
  • Deliver reference services efficiently to researchers in the reading room; oversee security and proper handling of collections; supervise the reading room attendant, page, and photoduplication coordinator.
  • Assign all incoming reference inquiries to the appropriate curator or staff person; maintain a database to track those inquiries.
  • Coordinate class visits using Special Collections materials and refer inquiries to the appropriate curators; ensure the security of materials in classrooms when curators and their designated staff are not available; identify courses that might benefit from Special Collections materials in the classroom; inform new faculty of holdings relevant to their teaching and personal research; select materials and lead instruction sessions from time to time.
  • Develop an in-depth knowledge of Special Collections holdings and inform other library professionals about those holdings.
  • Schedule reference desk and paging coverage, train staff engaged in public services, handle course reserves and ILS responses, and maintain a policy manual relating to public services operations across the Department.
  • Handle the legal and business aspects of permissions to reproduce, publish, or broadcast library materials.
  • Work with the Assistant University Archivist for Public Services at Mudd Library to oversee the Department’s web pages, and public services macros and databases.
  • Contribute occasionally to on-site and virtual exhibitions
Broader responsibilities for the candidate will include:
  • Working with the Assistant University Archivist for Public Services at Mudd on policies and procedures, especially in the area of automating registration, circulation, tracking reference and photoduplication orders, and financial controls.
  • Addressing issues relating to security, use of digital cameras, and proper handling of materials.
  • Playing a role in the ongoing plans to renovate Firestone Library, especially in terms of the public service staff areas and reading room/reference/security design.
  • Taking the lead in evaluating how the Department can best deliver high-quality reference service.
  • MLS from an ALA-accredited library school or a graduate degree in the humanities.
  • Three to five years’ professional experience in an active public services operation of a major research library, preferably in a special collections environment.
  • Supervisory experience (hiring, managing, performance appraisals) involving professional or support staff.
  • Demonstrated commitment to reader services and an understanding of research use of special collections, especially manuscripts.
  •  As demonstrated by work or academic experience and a writing sample, excellent oral and written communications skills and excellent interpersonal skills, as well as subject research skills.
  • Must be eligible to work in the U.S.
  1. Course work in bibliography, rare books librarianship, archives (equivalent work experience will be considered).
  2. Reading proficiency in one or more major Western European languages other than English
  3. Demonstrated ability to build consensus, foster cooperation, and introduce change.
  4. A warm, welcoming personality with the energy and human relations skills necessary to handle the pressures of reference services with accuracy and poise.
  5. Ability to work well with busy colleagues and academic patrons, individually and in groups.
  6. Familiarity with desktop applications (integrated cataloging systems and EAD finding aids) and other applications related to the operations and use of special collections, as well as with emerging Web-based knowledge management systems.
  7. Experience with Web design and exhibitions.
Compensation and Benefits:
Compensation will be competitive and commensurate with experience and accomplishments. Twenty-four (24) vacation days a year, plus eleven (11) paid holidays. Annuity program (TIAA/CREF), group life insurance, health coverage insurance, disability insurance, and other benefits are available.

Nominations and Applications:
Review of applications will begin October 25, 2008 and will continue until the position is filled. Nominations and applications (cover letter, resume and the names, titles, addresses and phone numbers of three references) will be accepted only from the Jobs at Princeton website:
For information about applying to Princeton, please link to