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Technical Services Assistant, Harvard College Library, Cambridge, MA

Job Code: 50106BR


Job Description

Reporting directly to the Technical Services Librarian, this position occupies a crucial role in physical security of library collections.

The incumbent is responsible for the shelf-ready preparation of a very high volume of rare and valuable books, other printed material, unique audiovisual items, and other library holdings.

This staff member collaborates with preservation staff, curators, public services staff, and Harvard Depository staff in providing access to and care for collections.

This staff member trains, supervises, and schedules work duties for student employees who perform many tasks for which this position is responsible.

This position serves as Technical Services' primary contact for day-to-day operations with Harvard Depository.

The incumbent serves as primary recipient of library mail and incoming Technical Services supplies. This staff member opens, logs, and notifies curators of newly-received collection material. In tandem with the receiving function, this position is responsible for maintaining the inventory of all supplies related to Technical Services physical processing of rare books and manuscripts.


Duties and Responsibilities

  • Responsible for the end-processing of all rare books and printed material, audiovisual objects, and other materials: prepares book tabs, spine labels, and ownership labels; selects and affixes donor bookplates, all according to Houghton security and preservation policies; collects and maintains weekly statistics.

  • Trains and supervises student assistants in the performance of end-processing, protective case assembly, electronic records editing, and HD transfer duties.

  • Evaluates material received from catalogers for additional physical treatment, including casing and preservation needs. Liaises with preservation staff regarding material in need of conservation review and treatment.

  • Oversees the measurement and construction of protective cases for printed, audiovisual and other materials; liaises with other departments and with CMI vendor and Widener Phase Box assemblers in the creation of cases.

  • Edits and corrects bibliographic, holdings, and item records in Alma to ensure access and discovery by colleagues and researchers; utilizes appropriate technology in the processing of material.

  • Serves as primary liaison with HD for Technical Services, and arranges for the safe transfer of rare books and other material to HD, including packing and labeling materials for transfer and storage. Schedules pickup with HD, and coordinates outgoing shipments for books and manuscripts with departmental stakeholders. Arranges for receipt of shipping containers and supplies.

  • Receives twice-daily incoming mail and packages. With another staff member sorts mail for delivery to the Librarian's Office; opens and verifies contents of packages, logs incoming collection material, and notifies curators of receipt of new collections material for their inspection and approval.

  • Receives daily delivery of supplies, including heavy and unwieldy packages; unpacks and verifies contents for the Technical Services Librarian (TSL), and then dispatches supplies to storage; maintains an online inventory of supplies; notifies TSL of supply needs in a timely manner.

  • Maintains inventory of all end-processing supplies, including boxes, cases, binders, folders, and all other supplies necessary for the security of library materials. This position also maintains the supply of donor bookplates, and other security and preservation-related supplies.

** See Additional Information section for a continued list of duties and responsibilities.


Basic Qualifications

  • Prior library experience required.

  • Experience working with library materials.

  • Experience working with Microsoft Office suite and Windows operating system required.


Additional Qualifications

  • BA preferred.

  • ​Experience working in an academic library technical services setting. 

  • ​Familiarity with Alma strongly preferred.

  • Able to perform repetitive work accurately with attention to detail. 

  • Alert to the protocols for handling rare and fragile materials.

  • Adaptable in working with frequent interruptions.

  • Able to evaluate workflows and manage multiple tasks and deadlines.

  • Able to liaise with colleagues and peers collegially and promptly.

  • Able to delegate responsibilities to student employees effectively and thoroughly.


Additional Information 

  • Serves as an active and engaged member of the section, departmental, and library staff. Serves on standing and ad hoc committees and working groups as needed.

  • Contributes to library Public Services by providing ongoing Reading Room reference assistance in a rotation with stacks maintenance assistance. Collaborates closely with collection management staff in HD shipments, and in shelving collection materials.  Is the essential contact for materials in end-processing queues for reference retrievals.



  • The incumbent trains and supervises student employees.

Physical Demands

  • Position requires regular lifting and moving of materials from bookcases and storage areas at a variety of heights, including materials weighing up to 40 pounds and pushing heavily loaded book trucks through multiple doors.

  • The employee must have a high tolerance to library-related allergens.


Diversity at the Harvard Library

Across the Harvard Library, our work is enriched by our diverse campus community. Our unique and wide-ranging abilities, experiences, and perspectives are integral to achieving Harvard University's mission of excellence in research, teaching, and learning for our patrons, our collections, and our workplace. We believe that an inclusive environment that cultivates and promotes understanding, respect, and collaboration across our diverse workforce enables our success.
We invite individuals with diverse backgrounds, experiences and abilities to be a part of our community of over 700 staff members. Our work with faculty, students and researchers to explore answers to intellectual questions, enduring and new, and to seek solutions to the world's most consequential problems, requires that we not only reflect, but also champion our diverse society.

Harvard Library inspires collaboration, reflection, experimentation, and discovery connecting users to related disciplines and to University-wide teaching resources. The Library engages users through curated discovery, digital collections, reimagined physical space, and specialized research support.  Today, Harvard Library's holdings range from traditional print collections to rapidly expanding access to digital resources. Harvard Library provides the University's faculty, students, and researchers--now and in the future--with exceptional experiences and comprehensive access to these materials.
Learn more about our contributions to the academic enterprise by visiting us at and about the Harvard University community at
The Harvard Library is a proud member of the Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL) Diversity Alliance.

To apply, please use the following link. 

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