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Public Services Assistant (Less Than Half Time), Houghton Library (Cambridge)

**This is a LHT (less than half time) position that will work 14 hours or less per week.**


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.

Reference: The Student Assistant will assist in answering virtual reference inquiries received via LibAnswers.


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.

Respond to a variety of online reference/research inquiries from the larger scholarly community. 

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.


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 a minimum of one evening shift a week. Evening shifts are 4:00 pm – 7:00 pm, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays.

EEO Statement 

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, pregnancy, and pregnancy-related conditions, or any other characteristic protected by law.



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

Full/Part Time

Part Time




$20.00  /  hour

How to Apply

To apply submit cover letter, resume, and references to Zoë Hill, Reference Librarian ([email protected]