Position Overview Oversees processing of archival collections held by the Boston Public Library across all formats. Ensures that collections are arranged and described in accordance with established standards and best practices at an appropriate level of detail and effort. Leads development of the library’s processing policies and procedures for archival materials from basic initial control through full, detailed description. Establishes accessioning, deaccessioning, and processing priorities for archival collections and tracks and reports progress. Provides oversight of grant-funded archival projects and internship programs.
Reports to Head of Special Collections or delegate
Supervises Professional and support staff as assigned
Scope of Responsibility
Oversees the development and implementation of policies, procedures, standards, workflows, and best practices for archival materials, including collection analysis and management, selection, processing, description, housing, storage, security, and digitization.
Supervises archives department staff, including hiring, performance evaluations, scheduling, and staff training. Responsible for the training of staff and interns in processing methodologies and tasks according to local and national best practices.
Prioritizes workflows and develops processing plans for archival collections, including determining level of granularity at which to process, arrangement, housing, and writing and editing finding aids. Coordinates priorities and processing plans with curators and preservation staff as appropriate.
Leads the effort to reprocess and bring legacy finding aids for archival collections up to current descriptive standards. Oversees the encoding of finding aids for online publication.
Works closely with Preservation and Conservation staff to determine appropriate housing of archival materials and identify and recommend materials for conservation treatment. Participates in stacks maintenance and inventory projects.
Under the direction of the Head of Special Collections, oversees the selection, evaluation, and maintenance of new archival materials within established collecting areas and in alignment with the Library’s Collection Development Policy. This includes assisting with acquisition decisions, suggesting areas for future growth, and evaluating donations and gift proposals. Collaborates with curators and preservation staff as appropriate.
Participates in instructional and outreach programs and activities to promote knowledge and use of the archival collections.
In collaboration with curators, specialists, catalogers, and content discovery staff, establishes digitization priorities and designs and implements project plans to address those priorities.
Provides support for reference and research inquiries regarding archival collections.
Alternates with other staff members in supervising a special collections reading room in such a way as to maintain an atmosphere conducive to research while responsibly preserving and protecting materials. Instructs patrons in the proper handling of archival materials.
Contributes to cultivation and stewardship of prospective donors and identification of potential archival collections for acquisition.
Contributes to the development of initiatives using new technologies to encourage the use of primary sources by a broad scholarly and educational public.
Contributes as appropriate to the development of grant narratives, work plans, and budgets.
Prepares statistical and other reports and analyses, as assigned.
Performs other related and comparable duties as assigned.
Demonstrated knowledge of current archival theory and accepted best practices; comprehensive knowledge of descriptive standards for archival and manuscript materials, especially DACS and EAD, and familiarity with other relevant standards, such as DublinCore, EAC, MODS, METS, MARC, AACR2, RDA, LCNAF, and LCSH; familiarity with technologies and systems developed or adopted by the archival community for the management of and access to archives.
Strong organizational and analytical skills.
Successfully demonstrated leadership experience within a library or other educational institution.
Knowledge of current archival preservation principles and best practices.
Ability to plan and supervise the work of others.
Ability to demonstrate vision, strategic thinking, initiative, collaboration, flexibility and adaptability; and willingness to embrace change.
Ability to carry out detailed procedures with accuracy.
Ability to plan and prioritize job responsibilities and tasks.
Demonstrates initiative and appropriate independent decision-making skills.
Excellent oral, written, and interpersonal skills.
Communicates effectively and presents ideas clearly.
Demonstrated ability to work effectively with a diverse population of library users, staff, donors, and community members.
Ability to execute library policy.
Proficiency with Microsoft Outlook, Word, PowerPoint, and Excel.
Education Bachelor’s degree from a recognized college or university and a Master’s degree in library and information science with formal training and professional experience in archival theory and practice required. In exceptional instances specialized education, training, and/or experience may be substituted for a part or all of the educational requirements.
Five years of professional experience in archival processing and description in library, museum, or other similar cultural heritage institution. Supervisory and/or management experience required.
Technology skills appropriate to perform the duties of the job
Excellent public service skills
Reading knowledge of one or more foreign languages and the ability to deal with unfamiliar foreign languages preferred
Ability to exercise good judgment and focus on detail as required by the job
Residency - Must be a resident of the City of Boston upon the first day of hire
CORI - Must successfully clear a Criminal Offenders Record Information check with the City of Boston
Additional Salary Information: Salary level dependent upon experience.
Internal Number: 2019-17504
About Boston Public Library
Established in 1848, the Boston Public Library is a pioneer of public library service in America. It was the first large free municipal library in the United States, the first public library to lend books, the first to have a branch library, and the first to have a children’s room. As a City of Boston historic cultural institution, Boston Public Library today features a central library and twenty-five neighborhood branches, serving nearly 4 million visitors per year and millions more online. Boston Public Library is a department of the City of Boston, under the leadership of Mayor Martin J. Walsh.
The mission of the Library is focused on four core areas: reading and literacy, spaces and programs, reference and instruction, and special collections and cultural heritage. Our commitment to be ‘Free to All’ is carved into the façade of the Central Library in Copley Square, and we are proud to welcome everyone equally regardless of gender, race, national origin, sexual orientation, faith, or economic status.