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Access & Outreach Librarian, Providence Public Library, RI


This position increases access to historic materials in the collections and provides exhibition support, while also having the opportunity to design and facilitate creative and high-impact learning opportunities through community-building, instruction, and innovative outreach.

This individual will be the primary rare book cataloger and provide exhibition support by creating custom supports and exhibition labels. Depending on interest and skills, this individual will have the opportunity to foster rich relationships and collaborations throughout the community, and provide outstanding reference and instruction services for our patrons.

Reporting to the library’s Head Curator of Collections, this position also works with the Programs & Exhibitions department, but must exercise initiative and follow through without direct supervision. This is a full-time position with benefits; requires daytime and occasional evening hours.

Primary Duties & Responsibilities:
Collections & Programs Support and Outreach (40%):

  • Produce catalog records through copy cataloging and/or original cataloging for published, rare, and manuscript materials, depending on experience
  • Occasionally process and describe manuscript or archival collections, depending on experience
  • Ensure that materials are in proper enclosures and are sufficiently stable for shelf storage and use; build or order custom enclosures when necessary
  • Occasionally promote and highlight collections materials through social media, including Special Collections blog
  • Increase the visibility and reach of Special Collections through innovative outreach and the creation and maintenance of strong community connections
  • Act as liaison to artists and designers, promoting and facilitating artists’ use of PPL collections. Promote access for non-traditional and non-academic researchers.
  • Check email daily and respond to emails in a timely manner.
  • Support and practice PPL’s stated values and demonstrate and share PPL’s commitment to being an all inclusive organization, including full participation in the implementation of PPL’s diversity, equity, and inclusion roadmap.
  • Cultivate practices of diversity, equity, and inclusion within the organization that serves the public and each other.
  • Collaborate with External Relations to ignite and activate a community of support for PPL and to amplify the Library’s message and work.
  • May participate as a co-selector to contribute to the general collection, pending the approval of both the Head of Information Services and the employee’s supervisor.
  • Other duties as assigned

Reference, Research, and Teaching (40%):

  • Design and teach class sessions, integrating collections materials with contextual information for young adults, college students, and graduate students from local schools and other organizations; foster relationships with local educators
  • Oversee all aspects of PPL’s annual research-based creative fellowship, including promotion and selection; act as primary point of contact and research support during the eight-month fellowship
  • Monitor the Special Collections reading room in regularly-scheduled shifts; provide users with guidance on handling fragile and rare materials
  • Provide reference services via email, phone, and in-person to a broad range of researchers with varied ages, education levels, and research interests; act as primary contact for artists, visual researchers, and creative researchers, providing specialized reference and instruction

Exhibition Design & Management (20%):

  • Work with Special Collections staff, General Collections Librarians, and Programs & Exhibitions Director to develop exhibition themes and choose materials for display, including building custom supports, writing and editing exhibition labels and promotional copy, and working with graphic designers and other outside agencies
  • Coordinate materials and artifacts borrowed from and lent to other institutions and individuals
  • Collaborate with Digital Producer to create accompanying online exhibitions and social media promotion

Additional Skills:

  • Excellent verbal and written skills.
  • Strong attention to details and strong organizational skills.
  • Comfortable working with various technologies (i.e., Google Workspace, Slack, AirTable, ArchivesSpace).
  • Perform quality work within deadlines with or without direct supervision.
  • Work independently while understanding the necessity for communicating and coordinating work efforts with other employees and organizations.
  • Interact professionally with other employees, patrons, and suppliers.
  • Work effectively as a team contributor on all assignments.
  • Other duties as assigned.

Education & Experience Required:

  • MLIS or ALA-accredited graduate degree in library science required
  • Basic cataloging training or experience required; knowledge of DCRM(B), RDA, and MARC21 preferred
  • History of rare book or archival experience through coursework or professional practice preferred
  • Excellent project management skills; ability to undertake large-scale projects, work collaboratively, and stay organized
  • Strong communication and writing skills
  • Strong research skills, as well as experience in reference or a proven ability to guide others in their research
  • Teaching or instruction experience preferred
  • Experience working with a library collection, an archival collection, or a book collection within a museum setting
  • Graphic design experience and familiarity with Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator and similar design software, or similar equivalent knowledge preferred

Additional Requirements:

  • Driving/Travel requirements – 0-10%
  • Position Location – Providence, RI
  • Physical requirements – ability to occasionally lift/move up to 25 lbs.

How to Apply:

Please submit cover letter and resume by October 16, 2023.
Posting Date: October 3 – open until filled

Submit Cover Letter and Resume to:
E-mail: [email protected]

The Providence Public Library
Attn: HR
150 Empire Street
Providence, RI 02903
Fax: 401-455-8002