Conservator for Special Collections (New York City, NY, USA)

The Columbia University Libraries invites nominations and applications for the Conservator for Special Collections.

Reporting to the Head of Conservation, the Conservator for Special Collections will plan, document and perform complex conservation treatments on ancient, medieval and modern library materials, including rare books, bound and unbound manuscripts, prints, maps and drawings on paper or parchment. Under the general direction of the Head of Conservation, the incumbent will work with liaisons in special collections libraries to select items for treatment and to set annual priorities for conservation of collections; will co‐ordinate workflow of treatments through the Conservation Department and participate in planning for exhibits and loans; will participate in environmental monitoring, testing and ordering of materials and supplies, staff supervision; will participate in management of the disaster response program; and will carry out other duties relating to the preservation of the Libraries’ collections. The incumbent will participate in teaching and training interns and junior staff. The Conservator for Special Collections will assist the Head with developing and documenting procedures for the conservation of rare library materials, and will keep abreast of professional literature and new developments in the field, cooperating with other conservators in performing research and development toward the advancement of conservation.

Minimum Requirements: MLS or PhD or equivalent (such as MA in Conservation).

Further details:

  1. Graduate degree in conservation of books and/or archival library materials or equivalent training and experience (e.g. formal apprenticeship).
  2. Minimum of two years post‐internship professional experience, or an equivalent combination of experience and education, preferably in a research library or similar institution.
  3. Demonstrated ability to identify causes of damage, select appropriate treatments, perform and document the full range of conservation treatments of library materials, including bookbinding of historic significance.
  4. Knowledge of a wide range of conservation practices and procedures.
  5. Knowledge of chemistry as it applies to the conservation of library and museum collections.
  6. Knowledge of the history of the book, the history and techniques of bookbinding and papermaking, and the history of manufacture of other library materials.
  7. Knowledge of environmental monitoring techniques and optimal collection storage environments.
  8. Knowledge of and adherence to professional ethical practice in conservation.
  9. Strong organizational, interpersonal and communication skills (verbal and written).

 Preferred Qualifications:

  1. Minimum 3 years of professional conservation experience within a research library or similar academic setting.
  2. Experience using electronic data loggers and software.
  3. Experience using database software and digital imaging software to document treatments.
  4. Demonstrated successful project management experience.
  5. Demonstrated ability to contribute to the profession through formal teaching, research and/or publication.

Compensation: We offer a salary commensurate with qualifications and experience.

Location: New York City

To Apply:

Applications will be accepted until the position is filled.  Applications received on or before February 15, 2018 will receive priority consideration.

Potential applicants with questions about the position are encouraged to contact Alexis Hagadorn: ah333_at_columbia_edu

Organizational Information
Columbia University Libraries is one of the top five academic research library systems in North America. The collections include over 13 million volumes, over 160,000 journals and serials, as well as extensive electronic resources, manuscripts, rare books, microforms, maps, and graphic and audio-visual materials. The Libraries employs more than 400 professional and support staff and hosts over 4.7 million visitors each year.  The website of the Libraries is the gateway to its services and resources:

Columbia University has a longstanding commitment to diversity rooted in values of inclusion and social justice, a commitment reflected in the curriculum and throughout University life. Columbia welcomes applications from candidates who share these values and who will foster their contribution to the University’s educational mission. We invite applicants who have demonstrated creative approaches to empowering and mentoring staff, leading projects, solving problems, and developing user-centric programs, services, or collections. We offer salary and benefits commensurate with qualifications and experience.

Columbia University is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer.