SLIS Jobline Your Source for Professional, Pre-Professional, and Internship Positions

Reader Services Assistant, Boston Athenaeum, Boston, MA

Are you the sort of person strangers stop on the street or in stores to ask for help because you have a friendly, approachable aspect?  Do you have experience working with the public?  Then we have the position for you.

The Athenaeum seeks a Reader Services Assistant to help provide the access services functions of the library and welcome all members, visitors, and researchers. The Reader Services Assistant reports to the Head of Reader Services.

The Reader Services Department welcomes everyone as part of the Front Desk Team with the Membership Department; together both create the primary focus of caring for the overall welcoming experience. The Front Desk Team is charged with enhancing guests’ interactions with the Athenaeum in a friendly and knowledgeable way and can answer questions, direct guests to the appropriate person, and offer information about membership and entry. 

Regular Schedule: This is a 35-hour per week, full-time non-exempt position, Tuesdays through Saturdays.  The schedule is adjusted every semester and an example of a schedule is Tuesday – Thursday, 12 pm – 8pm, Friday & Saturday, 9 am – 5 pm.

Public Service Skills

  • Provides a front-line service point offering a welcoming and seamless experience for members and visitors alike
  • Serve as primary point of expert contact at the service desk, projecting an image of helpfulness, efficiency, and professionalism
  • Ability to collaborate in effective working relationships with colleagues, supervisors, members, and the public

Circulation Responsibilities

The Reader Services Assistant  helps provide the access services functions of the library.

Duties include assisting in  all aspects of circulating books: checking out and renewing library materials, placing holds, sending overdue notices, retrieving, reshelving, generally assisting library members in finding materials, and helping to maintain order and provide access in a complex system with materials that inhabit multiple physical locations and classification systems

  • Reliable, flexible, collegial, welcoming, efficient, service-oriented
  • Able to lift boxes and books, push carts, climb ladders, sit or stand at desk for long periods
  • Understands and enforces the library policies and procedures while safeguarding confidential and restricted information.
  • Run circulation reports and compile statistics
  • Maintain the stacks through regular shifting, labeling, and deaccessioning projects  in collaboration with entire Reader Services department
  • Offer library orientation tours
  • Help with book mailing to members and for interlibrary loan
  • Manage locker rentals to members
  • Direct members to locations of books on shelves or to the reference desk for more in-depth assistance

Reference and Readers’ Advisory Responsibilities

  • Schedules physical spaces and zoom meetings for discussion groups for members
  • Answers ready reference and readers’ advisory questions in person, by telephone, by email as quickly as possible and directs more in-depth questions to reference librarians
  • Assists in overall promotion of the library and reading
  • Assists in the development of the Library’s social media through contributing posts
  • Performing other duties as required

Professional Qualifications

  • Bachelor’s or equivalent degree

Preferred Qualifications

  • Experience working or volunteering in a library or bookstore
  • Experience working in customer service
  • Avid reader

Research shows that women and people from underrepresented groups often apply to jobs only if they meet 100% of the qualifications. We recognize that it is highly unlikely that someone meets 100% of the qualifications for a role. If much of this job description describes you, then please apply for this role.


Schedule regularly includes evenings and Saturdays

Working Conditions

Physical requirements include:

  • Moving book trucks
  • Climbing stepstools and ladders to shelve and retrieve books
  • Occasional to frequent lifting up to 30 lbs.
  • Requires long periods of work at computers

The Boston Athenaeum – a unique combination of library, museum, and cultural center in a magnificent landmark building.

We are one of the country’s oldest and most distinguished independent libraries, with a circulating collection of over half a million books, from works published in the 1800s to the latest best sellers. Special collections include active research holdings of 100,000 rare books, maps and manuscripts, and 100,000 works of art, from paintings and sculpture to prints and photographs.  Members, visitors, and the community enjoy a year-round schedule of cultural programming – author talks, book clubs, exhibitions, concerts, social gatherings, and opportunities for connection.

Salary: $22/hr

Why work at the Boston Athenaeum?
The Boston Athenaeum is seeking to engage a wider and more diverse audience. To make that possible, we have begun a variety of new initiatives including a major expansion project with a reimagined children’s library. We are looking for a colleague who will be excited by the opportunity to reshape the Athenaeum’s future as a central part of Boston’s cultural landscape.

Beyond the opportunity to work amongst the collections at one of the most distinguished libraries in the nation alongside a passionate and welcoming team, working at the Boston Athenaeum comes with plenty of other perks. Some of our benefits include:

  • Paid time off and sick days.
  • Competitive 403b package
  • Paid parental leave.
  • Comprehensive medical and dental insurance
  • Life Insurance         
  • Commuter benefits

 To Apply: Please submit a Cover Letter and Resume using the following link:

The Boston Athenæum is an equal opportunity employer. We welcome candidates who will increase our diversity; we encourage candidates of color and all diverse candidates to apply and are committed to hiring individuals who value a diverse and inclusive work environment. The Boston Athenæum is also committed to providing access, equal opportunity, and reasonable accommodation for individuals with disabilities in employment. To request a reasonable accommodation, please contact HR Generalist Nora Conley at 617-720-7630 or [email protected]