The Boston Public Library is seeking an experienced, enthusiastic Rare Books and Manuscripts Cataloger to join our Rare Books and Manuscript Department. Working in a permanent, full-time position under the title of Rare Books and Manuscripts Librarian, the successful candidate will provide original and complex bibliographic description for a broad range of materials, including incunabula, early American imprints, fine press publications, medieval and early modern manuscripts, and print ephemera, among numerous other formats and genres. The cataloger will also work to shape local existing policies and procedures, contributing to the oversight of large-scale retrospective conversion projects, backlog cleanup, and database maintenance.
This is a great opportunity to join a newly reconstituted team, working closely with many of the BPL’s signature collections in a highly visible public institution. The incoming cataloger will have the opportunity to make significant contributions, both to the accessibility of rare materials at the BPL and to the many fields of scholarship that rely on these collections.
Recent renovations and new facilities
The BPL recently completed a multi-year renovation of many of its Special Collections spaces. The incoming cataloger will be working in the middle of this new, vibrant, state-of-the art facility.
About the BPL Rare Books and Manuscripts Department
The Rare Books and Manuscripts Department is the BPL’s primary repository for rare and historically significant books, manuscripts, and related materials. Strengths of the collection include 19th-century American abolitionism and anti-slavery movements; British and American literature and drama; Boston, New England, and early American history; and early European printed books and manuscripts, among many others.
Situated in the BPL’s Central Library in Copley Square, we work to support the overall mission of BPL Special Collections, facilitating discovery and fostering public engagement with library’s rare, distinctive, and culturally significant holdings.
Boston Public Library is committed to racial equity and to becoming an anti-racist organization and formed an action plan in 2020 in response to systemic racism, inequity, and injustice prevalent in our society. You can read more about the action plan and the steps BPL is taking to address diversity, equity, and inclusion here.
Scope of responsibility
1. Provides reference service which often includes difficult and complex queries; takes responsibility for developing and maintaining quality reference service within the Department.
2. In coordination with the Special Collections Cataloging Manager and according to the cataloging policies of the Library, performs original and complex descriptive and subject cataloging, classification, and authority work for rare books, manuscripts This work will require special language, subject, and technical knowledge.
3. Establishes new personal and corporate names and uniform titles, with appropriate cross references, for inclusion in the name authority file. Where appropriate, revises existing authority records.
4. Assists in retrospective conversion projects, including digitization projects, by facilitating an accurate conversion of data into appropriate machine readable forms, including MARC21, XML, or other formats as required.
5. Remains current with existing and emerging cataloging policies, practices, standards, schema and procedures including, but not limited to, MARC 21, DCRM suite, AACR2, RDA, LC Rule Interpretations, and OCLC bibliographic standards.
6. Works collaboratively with Content Discovery staff in order to resolve problems relating to item and bibliographic records.
7. Assumes responsibility for implementing the policies of the Library as they pertain to the Rare Books and Manuscripts Department.
8. Keep abreast of current trends in scholarship in order to match research needs with collection holdings.
9. Alternates with other staff members in supervising the reading room in such a way as to maintain an atmosphere conducive to research at the same time as preserving and protecting materials.
10. Contributes to cultivation and stewardship of prospective donors and identification of potential collections for acquisition.
11. Increases visibility of the collections through presentations, web-based projects, exhibitions, and public programs.
12. Suggests items or collections in need of conservation, makes recommendations for reformatting of materials, and instructs patrons and other staff in the proper handling of rare books and manuscripts.
13. Prepares statistical and other reports and analyses, as assigned.
14. Performs other related and comparable duties as assigned.
Please note that the city of Boston residency requirement applies to this position, which means that the successful candidates must be residents of the city of Boston on or before the date of hire.
Salary and benefits
- The salary range is $69,941-$91,224.
- This range is governed by the City’s pay scale and is divided into 8 steps. Step increases within the range come annually on the anniversary of date of hire. Additionally bargained cost-of-living raises typically take effect on January 1. Starting salary within the range will be based on total years of relevant experience. This position is a P3 (P grade 3) – the automatic annual step increase info can be found here: https://www.boston.gov/sites/default/files/file/2023/02/P_SALPLN_asof_2-10-2023.pdf
The position is part of the Boston Public Library Professional Staffing Association (PSA), one of two unions in the library.
- PSA members are entitled to up to one full year of parental leave (unpaid). The City offers 3 months of paid parental leave.
- PSA members receive 20 days of vacation per year, 3 personal days, and 2 swing days.
- All staff pay in to a pension program. More info can be found here: https://www.boston.gov/departments/retirement/how-boston-retirement-system-works. Additional benefits info can be found here: https://www.boston.gov/departments/human-resources/benefits-available-city-workers.
Special Collections has a particular commitment to growing the skills of our unit, and has funds both through the library and affiliate donors to draw on for training and conferences.
For further information and to apply to this position, please visit the City of Boston employment website. Please combine your cover letter and resume in a single PDF file and attach them together in the resume upload section of the website.