Harvard College Library, Houghton Library
00 – Non Union, Exempt or Temporary
Duties & Responsibilities
Reporting to the Associate Librarian for Technical Services, the Head of the Rare Book Section leads, manages, and supports Houghton Library’s efforts to catalog, preserve, and provide access to rare books, graphics, and other printed holdings in all formats and across Houghton’s curatorial areas. The incumbent will bring a progressive, flexible, and innovative approach to this work and will be responsible for developing and/or implementing strategies, technologies, and standards that facilitate researcher access to Houghton’s holdings. The Head of the Rare Book Section supervises section staff, plans and manages projects, and collaborates with staff and departments throughout Houghton Library, and participates actively within the broader Harvard special collections and cataloging community.
TYPICAL DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES include the following. Other duties may be assigned.
Provides leadership and management for the Rare Book Section by developing and articulating strategic vision, building and maintaining a team spirit, managing day-to-day operations and special projects, collaboratively establishing priorities, and coordinating work within the unit and with other library units.
Supervises a current staff consisting of 4.5 regular and project employees through delegation of tasks and projects, establishment of goals, performance reviews, and provision of training.
In collaboration with the Associate Librarian for Technical Services, Curatorial, Public Services, and Rare Book Section staff, sets cataloging priorities for Houghton print collections.
Trains staff and reviews catalog records and other descriptive output to ensure quality and adherence to standards.
Supports the creation, enhancement, and maintenance of authority metadata, both for local use and to contribute to the Name Authority Cooperative Program (NACO).
Collaborates with Houghton, Harvard, and/or external colleagues to explore, propose, and implement new technologies that promote and facilitate discovery and use of rare printed material.
Works collaboratively with the Harvard Library’s Information and Technical Services on cataloging projects, best practices and policies, and implementation of new tools and standards such as BIBFRAME and other linked data initiatives.
In concert with colleagues, develops and implements a long range and comprehensive plan to effectively process and catalog Houghton backlog collections.
Participates in grant writing efforts, creating work plans and developing budgets for cataloging projects.
Oversees the development and maintenance of documentation for cataloging, and other Section activities.
Working with the Head, Manuscript Section and the Technical Services Librarian, assists in planning and policy creation for the Technical Services Department.
Catalogs rare books, graphics, and other printed material.
Represents Houghton within the Harvard cataloging and library community, both informally through communication and collaboration, and formally by serving on committees and working groups.
Maintains an active presence in local and national professional organizations.
B.A., M.L.S. from an ALA-accredited academic program required.
Five years of professional experience with increasing responsibility in special collections, preferably in an academic or research library.
Extensive experience cataloging rare books and printed materials, including graphics.
Demonstrated knowledge of cataloging standards and principles, including but not limited to: RDA, DCRM, MARC21, LCSH, Library of Congress/PCC rules and authority control practices. Demonstrated knowledge of integrated library systems and bibliographic utilities (OCLC). Experience with Aleph/Alma and Aeon preferred.
Supervisory and managerial experience required, with the ability to communicate complex ideas to others of varying skill sets.
Demonstrated project management experience.
Demonstrated knowledge of descriptive bibliography and book history is essential.
Experience implementing new technologies and other techniques to improve work processes.
Knowledge of BIBFRAME and the principles of linked data.
Reading knowledge of one or more Western European languages required.
Exceptional interpersonal and communication skills and the ability to work creatively, collaboratively, and effectively as a section leader, team member, and independently.
Understanding of current developments within the Special Collections profession and d emonstrated commitment to engage in ongoing professional development and service to the profession.
Capacity to thrive in a changing working environment.
Record of engagement with professional groups and activities and/or contributions to professional or scholarly literature.
Appreciation and understanding of the issues involved in the preservation and use of digital collections .
This position requires lifting and moving of materials weighing up to 40 pounds and pushing heavily loaded book trucks.
Work is performed in an area with library materials that may contain allergens or irritants such as paper dust and/or mold.
The work is performed in an office setting within a library.
We are an equal opportunity employer and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability status, protected veteran status, gender identity, sexual orientation or any other characteristic protected by law.