Job Opportunity: Director of Conservation Services at the Newberry Library in Chicago

TITLE: Director of Conservation Services
DEPARTMENT: Conservation
SUMMARY: Reporting to the Roger and Julie Baskes Vice President for Collections and Library Services, the Director of Conservation Services leads and directs the library’s preservation and conservation program and provide support for Exhibitions and loan activities. The Director plans and manages the operations of the Conservation Services Department and supervises its staff. The Director is responsible for the physical care and treatment of books, papers, parchment, photographs, and all other Library materials.

Conservation at the Newberry
Conservation Services at the Newberry is charged with the care and preservation of the library’s collections. Conservation Services is located in well-lighted, ample space with state-of-the-art equipment. Preserving its collections has been part of the Newberry’s mission from the library’s beginning. When the building opened in 1893, it included a working bindery so that materials stayed onsite and quality standards for binding and repair could be set by staff. The library employed many skilled binders of the time. Paul Banks, the Newberry’s first conservator, was hired in 1964. He assisted in the recovery effort following the 1966 Florence flood; the practical knowledge he and others obtained through the disaster helped to establish modern book conservation.

• Hires, trains, supervises, and evaluates staff of the Department of Conservation Services and volunteers;
• Sets priorities and manages workflow;
• Manages environmental monitoring, pest control; and disaster preparedness, response, and recovery efforts;
• Participates in collection management and planning for offsite storage;
• Works with Director of Exhibitions and Assistant Registrar/Exhibition Specialist to coordinate and oversee schedule and workflow of conservation aspects of exhibitions;
• Works with Assistant Registrar/Exhibition Specialist, Vice President for Collections and Library Services, and curators on loan requests;
• Consults with curators and other staff to determine housing and treatment needs and priorities;
• Consults with curators and other staff on conservation aspects of digitization and other activities that affect care and handling of library materials;
• Plans and manages budget;
• Works with Development and other staff on grant proposals and donor relations;
• Promotes education of researchers and staff in proper preservation procedures through tours and training sessions;
• Represents Conservation Services within the Newberry, to donors, to the library and conservation communities, and to the general public;
• Stays informed of current developments in conservation, preservation, and related fields including new technologies for analysis and research;
• Sustains the Newberry’s leadership role in conservation education and development through hosting interns and participation in professional activities, and;
• Performs other tasks or activities needed for the achievement of departmental and library goals.

• Bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in Conservation (or equivalent)
• Three to five years as a conservator in a research library with experience in collections conservation and advanced skills in bookbinding and repair
• Supervisory experience;
• Advanced knowledge of conservation theory, current research, and best practices for conservation of books and works on paper, and;
• Excellent collaboration, management, oral and written communication skills.

SCHEDULE: This is a full-time, exempt position, working 35 hours per week, with normal hours generally from 9:00 AM-5:00 PM, Monday through Friday. Incumbent may work evening and weekend hours, as needed.
BENEFITS: The Newberry offers a comprehensive benefits package including a variety of health, dental, and vision insurances; generous paid time off (vacation time, sick leave, personal days, and paid holidays); a 403(B) retirement plan with an employer match; employer-provided basic life and long-term disability insurance; and much more.
TO APPLY: Interested candidates should email a cover letter and resume in a single PDF document to Please include “FirstName LastName – Conservation Director” in the email’s subject line. The PDF document should be titled in the format of lastname_firstname.pdf. Applications sent without a resume and cover letter will not be considered. Please, no phone calls.

The Newberry’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion is essential to our mission: providing free and open access to a collection spanning more than six centuries; building and sustaining communities of learning; advancing and disseminating knowledge; and acquiring and preserving materials that represent a range of perspectives and experiences—including those that historically have been underappreciated, marginalized, or silenced. As a civic institution that values the free exchange of ideas, it is the Newberry’s duty to ensure that attention to diversity, equity, and inclusion informs all that we do, internally and externally. This is an urgent priority for the staff and board of trustees as we shape our institution and outreach.

Please visit our website at


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Working with Fire Professionals

The Consortium of Academic and Research Libraries (CARLI) Preservation Committee would like to invite MRCG members to the virtual lecture “Working with Fire Professionals” on January 25, 2022, at 2-3 pm Central time.

Working with Fire Professionals is an introduction to what fire departments do with a special look at Fire Prevention activities. The first step in fighting a fire is to prevent the fire from ever occurring.  Firefighters face a variety of hazards as they battle a burning building besides the heat and smoke. There are collapses of ceilings and walls, holes burned through the floors and live electrical and gas lines.

When a fire occurs, the results are often devastating to a family or business. Many items are not replaceable and for a business to be closed due to a fire can be a permanent closure.

People do not always understand how everyday items can help start a fire and how fast a fire can develop. This program will look at identifying fire hazards, how to prevent them, and how the fire department will respond to the call. The fire service goal is to protect life and property.

You can find more details and register here.

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New 2022 MRCG Board

Congratulations to our new president, Christina Bisulca; secretary, Jacinta Johnson; and news editor, Marissa Bartz. Also joining the board for a three-year term is a new position: webmaster, Rebecca Shindel. Our new officers were voted in at our 2021 business meeting and join MRCG VP Melina Avery and treasurer Rachel Freeman on the 2022 board.

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Job opportunity at Northwestern University Library

Conservation Technician

Position available to Non-librarians

The Conservation Technician is based in the Preservation Work Group, reports to the Chief Conservator, and has the primary responsibility of performing a broad range of conservation treatments as well as constructing or retrofitting housings for circulating and non-circulating library material. Assists with surveys, disaster planning and response, assessment and stabilization of new collections, internal and external preservation education initiatives, and other activities related to the day to day operation of the conservation lab. The Conservation Technician plays an important role in providing technical support for an active library exhibits program.

Please note: Duties mainly take place in a lab environment (library conservation lab), but infrequently will involve working for periods of time in the library stacks standing, and/or bending/kneeling completing collection surveys and assessments. Must be able to move and lift up to 30 pounds, and have the ability to push/pull loaded book trucks.

Please note: The target budgeted minimum starting salary for this position is $33,180. Offers will be based on candidate experience and education, as well as equity within Northwestern University.

General Information

Position Title: Conservation Technician
Job Title: Conservation Technician

Department: Preservation
Full Time
Job Status: Open
Available positions: 1
Posted: 11/11/2021

Job Details


Performs conservation treatments on paper, cloth, and leather bindings from the circulating collections

  • Treatments include re-sewing, re-backing, repairing damaged paper, repairing existing covers, and constructing new covers. Treatments are completed in accordance with established departmental guidelines
  • Constructs boxes, wrappers, and other protective enclosures. Assists as needed with shelf preparation and bindery preparation
  • Effectively manages time to complete deadline-driven work. Utilizes good communication skills to convey changes in scope of work that may affect project deadlines. Monitors conservation lab supplies to insure that materials for ongoing workflow as well as special projects are available when needed Maintains accurate statistics for all completed work

Performs a variety of higher level conservation treatments with an emphasis on non-circulating materials used for exhibition, teaching and research

  • Treatments include re-sewing, re-backing, repairing damaged paper, repairing existing covers, constructing new covers, washing paper, humidifying paper and parchment, deacidifying paper, and encapsulating brittle or fragile items. Treatments are completed in accordance with established departmental guidelines
  • Completes written and photographic treatment documentation to established standards
  • Constructs boxes, wrappers, and other protective enclosures for books and other three dimensional objects
  • Effectively manages time to complete deadline-driven work. Utilizes good communication skills to convey changes in scope of work that may affect project deadlines. Monitors conservation lab supplies to insure that materials for ongoing workflow as well as special projects are available when needed Maintains accurate statistics for all completed work

Assists with the installation of exhibits, including placement of materials, creation of labels, and construction of book cradles

Assists Chief Conservator to insure that materials are being handled according to established exhibition guidelines:

  • Reviews material scheduled for exhibition or loan and works with Chief Conservator to determine if conservation treatments is required
  • Reviews exhibit to insure compliance with established guidelines regarding light levels and placement of exhibit cases
  • Assists in the proper packing of materials going out on loan and prepares preservation paperwork, including exhibition instructions and documentation.
  • Effectively manages time to complete deadline-driven work. Utilizes good communication skills to convey changes in scope of work that may affect project deadlines. Monitors exhibit supplies; organizes and oversees inventory of exhibit cradles and mounts

Assists with disaster planning and response, assessment and review of new collections, and the implementation of collection surveys for preservation planning purposes

Participates in weekly conservation lab meetings (and/or training sessions) to discuss workflow and treatment decision making. Meets as needed with curators and other responsible parties to discuss treatment options and conservation needs

Performs other duties as assigned

Required Qualifications:

  • Bachelor’s degree or an equivalent combination of education and experience where similar knowledge, skills and abilities may be acquired
  • Excellent manual dexterity as demonstrated through previous bookbinding or conservation experience or other work requiring a high level of eye-hand coordination
  • Successfully uses multiple software programs independently. Experience with MS Office (Outlook, PowerPoint, Word, Excel) and web browsers. Knowledge of creating and maintaining spreadsheets and databases

Minimum Competencies: (Skills, knowledge, and abilities.)

  • Communicates effectively one-to-one, in small groups and in public speaking contexts; writes precise, well-organized emails, letters and proposals while using appropriate vocabulary and grammar
  • Facilitates open and effective communication, cooperation and teamwork within and outside of one’s own team; respects the needs and contributions of others
  • Effectively performs duties and responsibilities; displays attention to detail; follows a logical process/method for problem solving; supports organizational policies; anticipates demands/pressures of assignments and adjusts accordingly
  • Demonstrates ability to work on multiple projects simultaneously
  • Plans, organizes and schedules in an efficient, productive manner; anticipates contingencies and pays attention to detail; targets projects or initiatives that require special attention and focuses on key tasks when faced with critical deadlines
  • Demonstrates logic, rationality and objectivity; shows common sense; uses all available information to make educated decisions
  • Strives for excellence with work processes and outcomes, honoring University policies and regulatory requirements

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Proficient in conservation treatments including full range of circulation collection repairs (rebacking, recasing, pamphlet binding, drop spine box and wrapper construction, resewing paper repair, repair of leather bindings with tissue)
  • Demonstrated understanding of conservation principles
  • Experience using OCLC and ALMA library management system

Preferred Competencies: (Skills, knowledge, and abilities)

  • Experience with Adobe Suite and FileMaker Pro
  • Identifies opportunities to improve procedures and practices; shows imagination
  • Exhibits energy and desire to achieve; sets ambitious goals and acts decisively; takes action that no one has requested to improve or enhance job results and avoid problems

Information for Applicants

Job ID: 42688
Location: Evanston

Apply for this job online through the Office of Human Resource’s Careers Portal. You will need to locate this job to get started; conduct an advanced search of all jobs and enter the Job ID above in the “Job Opening ID” field.


Equal Opportunity

Northwestern requires all staff and faculty to be vaccinated against COVID-19, subject to limited exceptions. For more information, please visit our COVID-19 and Campus Updates website.

The Northwestern campus sits on the traditional homelands of the people of the Council of Three Fires, the Ojibwe, Potawatomi, and Odawa as well as the Menominee, Miami and Ho-Chunk nations. We acknowledge and honor the original people of the land upon which Northwestern University stands, and the Native people who remain on this land today.

Northwestern University is an Equal Opportunity, Affirmative Action Employer of all protected classes, including veterans and individuals with disabilities. Women, racial and ethnic minorities, individuals with disabilities, and veterans are encouraged to apply. Click for information on EEO is the Law.

In your application, please feel free to note which pronouns you use (For example – she/her/hers, he/him/his, they/them/theirs, etc.).

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2021 Conference final schedule now available

It can be viewed here. We look forward to seeing you in Indianapolis, virtually or in-person!

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