Book and Paper Conservator (Evanston, IL, USA)

  • Position: Book and Paper Conservator 
  • Work Group: Preservation 
  • Reports to: Chief Conservator 

Northwestern University Libraries seek a skilled, creative and collaborative Book and Paper Conservator to work in a comprehensive conservation program. The position balances treatment with project management responsibilities. The Book and Paper Conservator has a keen understanding of the functions and responsibilities of a research library conservation lab working with special collections, circulating collections materials, and the wide-ranging material found in archival collections. 

Under the supervision of the Chief Conservator, the Book and Paper Conservator will assist in the management of the Libraries’ conservation program, including responsibility for circulating-collection workflows and active participation in special-collections treatments, housings, exhibits, and other activities. Excellent communication skills and the ability to collaboratively set priorities are essential to these endeavors. A planned major building renovation creates further opportunities to help shape how collections are housed, managed, and made available to patrons. 

Key responsibilities

  • Performs conservation treatments on a wide-range of library and archival materials, including circulating and special library materials. Provides full written and photographic documentation in accordance with the AIC Code of Ethics and Guidelines for Practice. Works with private conservators and contract staff as needed for special projects. 
  • Manages the activities of the circulating collections repair workflow, including setting priorities, treatment methods, and procedures; and training staff and students. Assists in the development and implementation of workflow for conservation projects which may include exhibits, loans, digitization, or collection moves. 
  • Assists in coordinating the work of temporary and/or full time support staff and student workers. 
  • Provides technical advice on the housing, storage, handling and repair of both general and special collections. Advises library staff on conservation principles and practices. 
  • Maintains lab statistics. Maintains treatment records and reporting systems. Tracks and maintains supplies; evaluates and recommends tools and equipment. 
  • Participates and supports outreach and education initiatives. Participates in local and national professional activities. 
  • Participates in disaster response planning and recovery initiatives. 
  • Participates in collection surveys and multi-divisional and multi-institutional grant-funded projects. 
  • Assists with preventive programs such as environmental monitoring and pest management as needed. 
  • Stays current with developments in the field of library conservation; engages in appropriate professional development, continuing education, professional service, and research activities. 
  • Performs other related duties as assigned. 


  • Master’s degree in conservation or related field. 
  • Extensive knowledge of current conservation principles and practices, materials science, and the history of bookbinding. 
  • Demonstrated ability to perform high-quality conservation treatments on general and special collections materials, primarily book and paper. 
  • Ability to communicate effectively about treatment options and decisions. 
  • A strong service orientation is also required. 
  • Applicants invited for an interview will be asked to present a portfolio of recent conservation treatments. 

Preferred qualifications

  • One year of post-graduate work in a library, archive, or museum preservation department. 
  • Membership in the AIC, Professional Associate membership preferred. 
  • Experience working with photographs. 

Northwestern University, established in 1851, is one of the leading private research universities in the United States with an enrollment of approximately 19,000 students. Northwestern University’s libraries hold over 5 million volumes. With collections of international standing in Music, Transportation, and African Studies. Northwestern’s libraries are at the forefront of innovation in library technology and advanced user services. One of the top-ranked universities in the country, Northwestern combines innovative teaching and pioneering research in a highly collaborative environment that transcends traditional academic boundaries. Northwestern provides students, faculty and staff with exceptional opportunities for intellectual, personal, and professional growth. Northwestern is a member of the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) and the Big Ten Academic Alliance (BTAA). See more information about University Libraries at: 

Northwestern University is an Equal Opportunity, Affirmative Action Employer of all protected classes, including veterans and individuals with disabilities. Women, racial and ethnic minorities, individuals with disabilities, and veterans are encouraged to apply. Hiring is contingent upon eligibility to work in the United States. 

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Applications received by June 15, 2018 will receive first consideration.