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Public Services Student Assistant, Houghton Library (Harvard University), Cambridge, MA


The Public Services Student Assistant is intended to work over 4 aspects of Public Services at Houghton Library:

Welcome Assistant/ Lobby: The Student Assistant greets and orientates researchers, students, faculty, and visitors to Houghton Library and its reading room, exhibition galleries, classrooms, and program spaces during open hours.

Reading Room: The Student Assistant discharges and collects items from researchers in the reading room. They also monitor the use of materials and coach researchers on proper handling, while upholding library access and security requirements.

Consultation Room: The Student Assistant checks researchers into the reading room, and assists with in-person reference help to search for and select items to view. At this service point, the Student Assistant will also vet requests for immediate paging for use in the reading room.

Circulation & Stacks: The Student Assistant will be responsible for paging items from the closed stacks, and delivering them to the reading room. They will also be assigned regular reshelving shifts.

● Create a warm and welcoming presence for Library researchers and visitors.
● Actively greet the researchers and visitors and provide reference assistance and orientation to Houghton Library.
● Share information with researchers and the public about Houghton Library’s mission, exhibitions, collections, programming, events, services, and classes.
● Answer routine and general inquiries about the Houghton’s collections, mission, and history, as well as questions about Harvard Yard and Harvard Square, including amenities, dining, and transit.
● Understand and communicate library policies and procedures to visitors and researchers, including health, security, and safety, coat/bag check, rules regarding food and drink, and reading room protocols.
● Receive visitors and staff arriving at the library for appointments with Houghton staff and direct accordingly.
● Alert the Houghton Security Office of any security concerns, including self-observed issues and reported visitor concerns.
● Other duties as assigned.

● Bachelor’s Degree in any subject.
● Enrollment in an ALA-accredited Library and Information Science program.
● One or more years of customer service experience.


● A commitment to diversity and to serving the needs of a diverse population, including international researchers and visitors, and visitors of all ages.
● Ability to engage with visitors in a professional and courteous manner
● Team-oriented disposition with strong customer service skills.
● Interest in libraries, museums, and/or other cultural institutions.
● Ability to multitask during periods of high volume, stay calm, and direct groups of visitors, even when language barriers are present.
● Excellent oral communication
● Ability to work independently and as part of a team.
● Demonstrated initiative, flexibility, and ability to work collegially and creatively within and across organizations
● Knowledge of general office applications. MS Word, Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint, Teams, and Google Suite
● Knowledge of Library software including Alma, Aeon, Springshare products, and basic library catalog searching.
● Working speaking knowledge of a language other than English including, but not limited to Arabic, Chinese, French, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, or Spanish

For the Summer and Fall semesters, this position will work 14 hours a week, between 9 am and 5 pm.

When the library resumes Saturday hours, this position will be required to work Saturdays from 10 am-5 pm.

When the library resumes evening hours, this position will be required to work 4:00 pm – 7:00 pm, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays.



How to Apply:

Submit cover letter, resume, and references to Bridgett Pride, Reference Services Librarian, [email protected]