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Reader Services Librarian, Boston Athenaeum, Boston, MA

Are you a trained librarian with experience working with the public?  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? Then we have the position for you.

The Athenaeum seeks a Reader Services Librarian to oversee the access services functions of the library (using Voyager from Ex Libris) to meet evolving needs of users. A  key component of the readers’ advisory responsibility is conceiving, organizing, and occasionally leading discussion groups for members. The Reader Services Librarian 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 exempt position, with regular evening and Saturday hours. The schedule is adjusted every semester and an example of a schedule is Monday, 12 pm – 8pm, Tuesday – Friday, 9 am – 5 pm.

Public Service Skills

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

Readers’ Advisory Responsibilities

  • Conceive, organize, and possibly lead discussion groups for members in concert with Head of Reader Services
  • Assists in overall promotion of the library and reading by acting as a “book concierge” 
  • Avid reader, who is knowledgeable in current trends in literature and able to make recommendations by both word-of-mouth and through displays (physical and online)
  • Selects materials for the collection and participates in collection evaluation and maintenance.
  • Assists in the development of the Library’s social media through contributing posts
  • 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.
  • Instructs and assists members and staff in the use of the library catalog and online resources

Circulation Responsibilities

The Reader Services Librarian oversees the access services functions of the library (using Voyager from Ex Libris) to meet evolving needs of users, including but not limited to circulation, stack management, readers’ advisory, and basic reference assistance.

Duties include overseeing 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
  • Assist head of reader services in hiring, training, and managing interns
  • Offer library orientation tours
  • Oversee book mailing to members and for interlibrary loan
  • Direct members to locations of books on shelves or to the reference desk for more in-depth assistance
  • Performing other duties as required.

Professional Qualifications

  • Master’s degree in information and/or library science from an ALA-accredited school, or equivalent degree.
  • Knowledgeable about book trends and helping readers find what to read next

Preferred Qualifications

  • Familiarity with Ex Libris’s Voyager  integrated library system
  • Experience assessing collections for weeding projects
  • Experience with reference interview or working in customer service

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 : $48,000-$58,000/year

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]