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Library Assistant I – Circulation, Massachusetts Historical Society, (Boston, MA)

Purpose: The Library Assistant I – Circulation (LAI-C) provides direct service to researchers
seeking access to MHS collections ensuring both access to and the security of the library’s
holdings, primarily through staffing the Society’s circulation desk and paging materials from the
closed stacks. The position is essential in promoting the Society’s public image and in
maintaining the security of the building and collections.

Reporting Relationships: This position reports to the Reference Librarian – Researcher
Services (RSL)

Supervisory Responsibility: None

Schedule: This is a part-time position, up to 21 per week, during regularly scheduled library
hours, which include Saturdays and Tuesday evenings. Individual schedules are determined by
their supervisor and the Director of the Library with input from the staff member. Schedules are
re-evaluated at regular intervals (typically September, January, and June) and may be adjusted to
suit the needs of the department and the LAI-C. As a public facing role, this position does not
allow for a remote or hybrid work schedule.

Major Responsibilities:

  • Provides all researchers, onsite and remote, courteous, equitable, and effective service*
  • Retrieves, circulates, and reshelves collection materials, including both properly routing
    items through the Aeon system and ensuring secure, timely movement of items through the
  • Ensures preservation and security of collection materials used in the Society’s reading room
    through direct supervision of all individuals in the reading room and explaining,
    demonstrating, and enforcing library policies and procedures as needed
  • Completes opening and closing routines to prepare for providing access to and to ensure
    overnight security of library spaces and collection materials
  • Responds to routine reference queries in person, on telephone, and via email/chat in
    LibAnswers software suite; refers non-routine inquiries to appropriate reference librarian or
  • Assists patrons in locating reference materials and in using library equipment (microfilm
    readers, OPACs, printers, etc.) in the reference area
  • Serves as a role model and instructor on the circulation and back-up desks to assist in the
    training of newly hired staff
  • Assists in breaking down library technology and workstations and moving furniture within
    the library spaces to support extra-departmental use of the space
  • Assists with other library projects and routine clerical tasks as needed
  • Regularly handles large and/or heavy loads up to 50 pounds, with frequent lifting, bending,
    carrying, walking, pushing and pulling throughout the workday



  • Bachelor’s degree or current enrollment in a Bachelor’s program required
  • Current enrollment in a Master’s degree program, with coursework in American history,
    public history, archives, library science, or a similar program, preferred
  • Experience working with a diverse public in a customer service or similar position
  • Experience in library, archives, or public history organization preferred
  • Experience working with Aeon or similar special collections circulation system preferred
  • Experience working with user interface of Voyager or similar ILS preferred
  • Ability to clearly and effectively communicate, orally and in writing, with staff and members
    of the public
  • Ability to work with the public with tact, patience
  • A high level of comfort working with the public and meeting new people
  • Ability to assess and anticipate needs and be a flexible problem solver
  • Ability to consistently enforce policies and procedures
  • Ability to identify matters of urgency or requiring supervisory/management assistance
  • Ability to confidently work with technology, including learning new software/hardware and
    performing basic troubleshooting
  • Proficiency with Microsoft Office Suite
  • Ability to work as part of a team
  • Strong research skills
  • Ability to comply with all MHS policies and procedures, including emergency, health, and
    safety protocols
  • Ability to read 18th-, 19th-, and 20th-century handwritten manuscripts, preferred

How to Apply

Application Procedure: Please send by email a single PDF that includes a cover letter, résumé,
and the names of three professional references to Director of the Library Elaine Heavey at
[email protected]. Applications that do not comply with this process cannot be considered.
Applications received by August 21, 2023 will be given preference; position open until filled
Compensation and Benefits: The payrate for this position is $18.00/hour. Benefits include paid
sick time, paid holidays, a public transit subsidy, and the opportunity to participate in the MHS
retirement plan, and Reciprocal entrance to local education and cultural institutions
Pre-Hire Requirements: MHS requires proof of a vaccination and up-to-date boosters for
COVID-19 for all employees. As part of its offer process, MHS will conduct a reference and
criminal background check for any finalist. We are not able to sponsor visas.

Equal Opportunity Statement:
The Massachusetts Historical Society aims to be a diverse workforce that is representative, at all
job levels, of the citizens we serve. Candidates of all backgrounds are welcomed and encouraged

to apply. We are committed to creating a work place free from harassment and discrimination on
the basis of race, color, ancestry, religious creed, gender identity and expression, national or
ethnic origin, sex, sexual orientation, pregnancy, age, genetic information, disability, military or
veteran status, or any other category protected by law (also known as membership in a “protected
class”). Candidates in need of accommodation in the application process should reach out to our
human resources department with inquiries.

Nothing in this job description restricts management’s right to assign or reassign duties and
responsibilities to this job at any time.