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Rare Book Collection Assistant

Position Title: Rare Book Collection Assistant
Supervisor: Curator of Rare Books
Department: Garden and Landscape Studies
Grade: 52, Non-exempt, Union
Hours: Full-time, 35 hours per week Monday-Friday



Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection, an institute affiliated with Harvard University and located in Washington, DC, seeks a full-time Rare Book Collection Assistant to support the Curator of Rare Books in the use and maintenance of the Rare Book Collection and Garden Archives. The successful candidate will assist with processing, conservation, reference questions, and exhibition work, as requested; identify and provide documentation on collection items for purposes of research, preservation, processing, and cataloging; and monitor climate control and condition of items in the collection.

Duties and Responsibilities

• Reviews requests for rare book materials, retrieves materials from the Reading Room and Rare Books Stacks, re-shelves materials, and assists with handling; maintains Reading Room statistics and paperwork.
• Supervises readers in the Reading Room; responds to routine queries; refers more complex queries to Curator of Rare Books and reference librarians as appropriate.
• Processes newly catalogued items by preparing labels, providing housing, and entering information into library systems.
• Monitors and maintains the Rare Book Stacks by organizing and optimizing storage facilities; ensures proper handling, shifting, conservation, and tracking of collection items; performs maintenance operations as necessary.
• Assists with coordinating photographic orders and digitization shipments.
• Coordinates transfers of rare book materials between the Reading Room, Rare Books Stacks, and Technical Services; keeps records of these transactions.
• Assists with inventory of rare books holdings, including the scanning of acquisition records.
• May facilitate tours, workshops, and class visits; participates in special projects, such as exhibitions, as assigned.



• At least two years of experience working in a library or archive department required, rare book collection experience strongly preferred


• Bachelor’s degree in art history or related discipline preferred
• Reading knowledge in at least one foreign language preferred
• Computer literacy with ability to learn library-specific software applications; experience with bibliographic databases; experience with Alma is desirable
• Strong written and verbal communication skills; basic clerical skills, including data entry, sorting, and filing
• Service-oriented, with good organizational skills and attention to detail; ability to work with a minimum of supervision

Physical Demands

• Ability to bend, stoop, and reach to retrieve library materials; handle heavy items (up to 30 lbs.); and push fully laden book trucks

To Apply

The position remains open until filled. Please forward résumé and cover letter detailing relevant qualifications by clicking the link below.

Dumbarton Oaks is an Equal Opportunity Employer (EOE).