Reference, Collections, and Instruction Librarian for the Botany Libraries, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts

Details or description
Harvard University

Reference, Collections, and Instruction Librarian for the Botany Libraries
Harvard College Library

Job Summary

Although the position will remain posted until filled, applicants are strongly encouraged to apply by end of day on November 10, 2023.

The Botany Libraries seeks a service-oriented librarian to develop and maintain its collections, utilize these collections to address often-complex reference questions from a wide variety of users, and provide instruction and subject-specific class sessions. The Reference, Collections, and Instruction Library for Botany has a high level of responsibility, with decision-making authority in both public services and collection development areas. This position is not responsible for the archival collections of the Botany Libraries, which are managed by the Botany Libraries Senior Archivist.

The Botany Libraries staff is an integrated team dedicated to supporting the academic and research interests of the faculty, researchers, staff, and students in the Harvard University community as well as an international community of researchers.

The Harvard University Herbaria house five comprehensive, non-circulating research libraries and archives that are managed collectively as the Botany Libraries. The combined collections are rich repositories of rare books, manuscripts, field notes, and historical correspondence, as well as current monographs, journals, and electronic media.

The Botany Libraries collections are worldwide in scope and include many rare copies and unique special editions, and this position helps to maintain and grow them, while also providing access to the collections for users both on and off campus.

Position Description

Public services

• Manage access to materials held in the five botanical library collections.
• Oversee the daily operation and management of two reading rooms, all onsite use of materials, reserve activities, and all interlibrary loan activities.
• Hire, train, and supervise LHT/temporary public services staff.
• Train and schedule library staff in reading room duties. This position will work regular shifts on the Botany Libraries reading room desk.
• Contribute to and update the library procedures manual.

Collection development

• Select monographic and serial works in all formats essential to the collection, consulting faculty and curators, and/or the library director as necessary.
• Choose vendors and monitor performance.
• Manage the regular review of subscriptions to identify new opportunities to switch from print subscriptions to electronic subscriptions.
• Place orders, process invoices, and track payments; reconcile problems that arise in records, orders, and receipts.
• Create bibliographic records and order records in Alma.
• Monitor serials check-in procedures.

Research, Teaching, and Learning (RTL)

• Build relationships with faculty, students, and staff to support teaching, learning, and research.
• Advise users of appropriate research strategies and available resources (at Harvard and beyond), and provide technical training as needed.
• Oversee library research services and provide in-person and virtual reference and research consultation services including specialized research for in-depth inquiries.
• Coordinate and teach the course-integrated, subject-specific information literacy opportunities of the Botany Libraries, including the development of lesson plans and materials to be included for classes as requested by faculty.


• Represent the Botany Libraries in internal and external committees and organizations.
• Collect statistics and report on library use.
• Contribute to library strategic planning, policy, and procedure discussions.
• Supervise and enforce all library security protocols.
• Oversee the organization of the stacks and recommend shifting and collection management projects.
• Participate in special projects.
• May be required to assist with disaster recovery efforts and integrated pest management program.

Basic Qualifications

• MLS from an ALA-accredited school or equivalent education and/or professional work experience.
• A minimum of four years of professional experience in a library, preferably academic.

Additional Qualifications and Skills


• A degree in botany or a related science field.
• Knowledge of monograph and serials acquisitions functions.
• Demonstrated ability in research, teaching, and learning.
• Excellent oral and written communication skills.
• Ability to manage competing priorities in a positive, constructive, flexible, and cooperative manner.
• Experience with ExLibris’s Alma.
• Experience with Atlas Systems’ Aeon.
• Experience with online vendor systems, such as EBSCONET.
• Demonstrated proficiency with technology, including significant experience with integrated library systems and bibliographic utilities, and a working knowledge of Microsoft Office applications.
• Commitment to equity, diversity, inclusion, belonging, and antiracism.
• Must have excellent organizational, interpersonal, problem-solving and analytical skills, customer service orientation, initiative and flexibility to adapt to changing daily and strategic priorities.
• Ability to work productively and cooperatively in a team environment.
• Ability to work independently to perform complex tasks.

Working Conditions

• The position is based on onsite in Cambridge, MA. There may be the opportunity for a flexible or hybrid work model compliant with Harvard University remote work policies.
• Interacting with collections that may contain dust, mold, or other contaminants.

We invite you to visit Harvard’s Total Rewards website to learn more about our outstanding benefits package, which may include:

• Paid Time Off: 3-4 weeks of accrued vacation time per year (3 weeks for support staff and 4 weeks for administrative/professional staff), 12 accrued sick days per year, 12.5 holidays plus a Winter Recess in December/January, 3 personal days per year (prorated based on date of hire), and up to 12 weeks of paid leave for new parents who are primary care givers.
• Health and Welfare: Comprehensive medical, dental, and vision benefits, disability and life insurance programs, along with voluntary benefits. Most coverage begins as of your start date.
• Work/Life and Wellness: Child and elder/adult care resources including on campus childcare centers, Employee Assistance Program, and wellness programs related to stress management, nutrition, meditation, and more.
• Retirement: University-funded retirement plan with contributions from 5% to 15% of eligible compensation, based on age and earnings with full vesting after 3 years of service.
• Tuition Assistance Program: Competitive program including $40 per class at the Harvard Extension School and reduced tuition through other participating Harvard graduate schools.
• Tuition Reimbursement: Program that provides 75% to 90% reimbursement up to $5,250 per calendar year for eligible courses taken at other accredited institutions.
• Professional Development: Programs and classes at little or no cost, including through the Harvard Center for Workplace Development and LinkedIn Learning.
• Commuting and Transportation: Various commuter options handled through the Parking Office, including discounted parking, half-priced public transportation passes and pre-tax transit passes, biking benefits, and more.
• Harvard Facilities Access, Discounts and Perks: Access to Harvard athletic and fitness facilities, libraries, campus events, credit union, and more, as well as discounts to various types of services (legal, financial, etc.) and cultural and leisure activities throughout metro-Boston.

Commitment to Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging

At the Harvard Library, our work is enriched by our diverse campus community. Our unique and wide-ranging abilities, experiences, and perspectives are integral to achieving Harvard University’s mission of excellence in research, teaching, and learning for our patrons, our collections, and our workplace. We believe that an inclusive environment that cultivates and promotes understanding, respect, and collaboration across our diverse workforce enables our success.

We encourage individuals with diverse backgrounds, experiences and abilities to apply to be a part of our community of over 700 staff members. Our work with faculty, students and researchers to explore answers to intellectual questions, enduring and new, and to seek solutions to the world’s most consequential problems, requires that we not only reflect, but also champion our diverse society.
A global leader, the Harvard Library is a pre-eminent research library that acquires, disseminates, and preserves knowledge. Harvard’s Library holdings range from traditional print collections to rapidly expanding inventories of digital resources. It is the work of the Harvard Library to provide the University’s faculty, students, and researchers-now and in the future-with comprehensive access over time to all these materials.

Learn more about our contributions to the academic enterprise by visiting us at and about the Harvard University community at .

The Harvard Library is a proud member of the ACRL Diversity Alliance.

Job Function

USA – MA – Cambridge

Botany Libraries

Time Status

00 – Non Union, Exempt or Temporary

Pre-Employment Screening
Criminal, Education, Identity

Department Office Location
USA – MA – Cambridge

Work Format
Hybrid (partially on-site, partially remote)

Commitment to Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging
Harvard University views equity, diversity, inclusion, and belonging as the pathway to achieving inclusive excellence and fostering a campus culture where everyone can thrive. We strive to create a community that draws upon the widest possible pool of talent to unify excellence and diversity while fully embracing individuals from varied backgrounds, cultures, races, identities, life experiences, perspectives, beliefs, and values.

EEO Statement
We are an equal opportunity employer and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability status, protected veteran status, gender identity, sexual orientation, pregnancy and pregnancy-related conditions, or any other characteristic protected by law.

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