Conservator for Special Collections - Columbia University Libraries/Information Services

Job Information


Conservator for Special Collections
Columbia University Libraries/Information Services


Columbia University Libraries seek a Conservator for Special Collections in the Preservation and Digital Conversion Division of the Libraries.

The Conservator for Special Collections will plan, document and perform complex conservation treatments on ancient, medieval and modern library materials, including rare books, bound and unbound manuscripts, prints, maps and drawings on paper or parchment. Under the general direction of the Head of Conservation, the incumbent will work with liaisons in special collections libraries to select items for treatment and to set annual priorities for conservation of collections; will co‐ordinate workflow of treatments through the Conservation Department and participate in planning for exhibits and loans; will participate in environmental monitoring, testing and ordering of materials and supplies, staff supervision; will participate in management of the disaster response program; and will carry out other duties relating to the preservation of the Libraries’ collections. The incumbent will participate in teaching and training interns and junior staff. The Conservator for Special Collections will assist the Head with developing and documenting procedures for the conservation of rare library materials, and will keep abreast of professional literature and new developments in the field, cooperating with other conservators in performing research and development toward the advancement of conservation.


  • Graduate degree in conservation of books and/or archival library materials or equivalent training and experience (e.g. formal apprenticeship).
  • Minimum of three years required of post‐internship professional experience, or an equivalent combination of experience and education, preferably in a research library or similar institution.
  • Demonstrated ability to identify causes of damage, select appropriate treatments, perform and document the full range of conservation treatments of library materials, including bookbindings of historic significance.
  • Knowledge of a wide range of conservation practices and procedures.
  • Knowledge of chemistry as it applies to the conservation of library and museum collections.
  • Knowledge of the history of the book, the history and techniques of bookbinding and papermaking, and the history of manufacture of other library materials.
  • Knowledge of environmental monitoring techniques and optimal collection storage environments.
  • Knowledge of and adherence to professional ethical practice in conservation.
  • Strong organizational, interpersonal and communication skills (verbal and written).


  • Experience using electronic dataloggers and software.
  • Experience using database software and digital imaging software to document treatments.
  • Demonstrated successful project management experience.
  • Demonstrated ability to contribute to the profession through formal teaching, research and/or publication.

Applications will be accepted immediately and until the position is filled.  Applications received on or before August 15, 2014 will receive priority consideration.

Submit an application HERE.

One of the world's leading research universities, Columbia provides outstanding opportunities to work and grow in a unique intellectual community. Set in the Morningside Heights academic village, Columbia also presents the unmatched dynamism, diversity and cultural richness of New York City. The University Libraries, grounded in collections of remarkable depth and breadth, are also building extensive electronic resources and services. The Libraries at Columbia are committed to collegiality, professionalism, innovation and leadership. We offer a salary commensurate with qualifications and experience.

Columbia University is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action employer.



Starts On
July 18, 2014, 2:32 p.m.