Research Services Librarian – Cornell University Library – Ithaca, NY

Research Services Librarian – Cornell University Library
Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections (RMC)

Reporting to the Head of Research Services in the Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections, the Research Services Librarian has primary responsibility for managing and coordinating the provision of remote reference services, as well as providing in-person research assistance in a user-focused environment. In conjunction with their supervisor and public services colleagues, provides innovative, effective research support, proposes new services and workflows as appropriate, and participates in supervising reading room activity. The position requires a deep understanding of resources and strategies necessary to conduct primary source research and ability to communicate this knowledge to a diverse range of patrons, while working to create and maintain a user-centric environment.

The individual will demonstrate a nuanced understanding of user needs and experiences in offering appropriate services, teaching users how to find, use, and evaluate resources, while empowering individuals to conduct their own research. They should demonstrate a strong service orientation with the ability to interact positively and inclusively with students, faculty, and the public. Develops and maintains online guides and webpages designed to enhance the research experience.

The Research Services Librarian corresponds with researchers planning a visit and takes primary responsibility for all aspects of preparing for a researcher’s arrival to RMC, including monitoring relevant Aeon queues, explaining reading room policies and guidelines, providing research assistance, and determining and communicating collection restrictions. Works closely with curators in corresponding with and welcoming researchers to RMC.

Required Qualifications:
* Master’s degree in Library and Information Science from an ALA-accredited library school or equivalent accredited degree, with experience in archival theory and practice and/or rare books and manuscripts, and at least two years of public services experience in a special collections library. Detailed knowledge specific to the fields of Library and Information Science, archival practice, and rare books and manuscripts.
* Demonstrated ability to provide effective and efficient research services. Knowledge of best practices in virtual and in-person reference in special collection environment, familiarity with assessment of public services and related tools.
* Demonstrated ability to bring inclusive and engaging pedagogical approaches to the interpretation of materials held by the Rare and Manuscript Collections.
* Positive attitude, flexibility, and enthusiasm for working in a changing environment.
* Ability to work effectively both independently and collaboratively within a team, including with RMC colleagues, curators, and other library staff, communicating with diplomacy and tact. Strong oral and written communication skills.
* Demonstrated ability to complete multiple concurrent projects, set priorities and meet tight deadlines in a fast-paced environment.
* Familiarity with copyright and rights management.
* Ability to lift up to 50 pounds, use ladders and step stools, focus on a computer monitor, and sit for extended periods of time.

Preferred Qualifications:
* Subject knowledge of one or more areas of collecting focus in RMC such as history of science, British and American literature, LGBTQ+ history, Icelandic studies, contemporary popular music such as hip hop or punk, or University history.
* Experience leading instruction sessions or tours.
* Experience documenting and training other staff in reference procedures.
* Working knowledge of one or more foreign languages.
* Experience using Aeon, ArchivesSpace, and related collection management systems, as well as content management systems such as LibGuides and LibAnswers.

Visa sponsorship is not available for this position.

Duties and Responsibilities:

Research Services (50%)
* Facilitate access to Cornell’s holdings, providing detailed research assistance to the public at the reference or security desk.
* Supervise the reading room from the reference or security desk, using considerable judgment to ensure that all materials are handled properly, that reading room policies are consistently followed, and that proper security is maintained.
* Create and maintain appropriate online guides to RMC resource location and request directions. Promote and share this information with colleagues within RMC and across CUL as well as with researchers.
* Create training materials for reference desk staff and train new desk staff to provide research services.
* Participate in RMC’s instruction program by providing tours, general classroom instruction or other public presentations for RMC constituencies, working in consultation with RMC curators, staff, faculty, or others.
* Update and post announcements in Aeon to alert users to service changes.
* Provide research consultations and instruction on primary source research methods for RMC constituencies.
* Serve as primary backup at reference and security service points, and for remote reproduction requests.

Virtual Reference (40%)
* Serve as administrator of remote reference service, responding independently to e-mail, telephone, and mail reference inquiries, using broad general knowledge of RMC’s collections, and assigning questions to other staff as appropriate.
* Perform complex subject searches which may require knowledge of a second language or subject expertise, using specialized databases or a variety of print and electronic resources for reference, ILS, or collection management purposes.
* Compose and maintain boilerplate responses for use by staff in responding to reference questions.
* Collect and update independent researcher contact information for inclusion on list provided to remote researchers.
* Maintain existing LibGuide pages relating to RMC research services, create new modules and guides as needed.

Professional Development (10%)
* Participate in CUL committees and groups.
* Participate in and represent RMC or CUL in the professional activities of appropriate archival, historical, library, information management, or scholarly organizations.
* Contribute to the professional and/or scholarly literature.

Benefits: Competitive in salary (beginning at $52,500), rank, professional development support, and benefits. Our comprehensive benefits package including 22 vacation days, 12 paid holidays, health insurance, life insurance, and university retirement contributions (TIAA-CREF and other options). Professional travel funding is available.

Environment: The Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections (Carl A. Kroch Library) includes more than 500,000 rare books and more than 80 million manuscripts, maps, photographs, prints and other visual media. The Division also houses the Cornell University Archives. Significant areas of concentration include medieval and Renaissance studies, 18th-century France and England, 19th- and 20th-century America, Anglo-American literature, sexuality and the history of science. Outstanding collections include: the largest collection on the French Revolution outside of Paris, the largest collection on the history of witchcraft in North America, the largest collection on Icelandic culture in North America, the world’s second largest collection on William Wordsworth, and one of the nation’s founding collections on slavery and the abolitionist movement. Other collections focus on ornithology, New York state, and architecture and city planning. Collections are located on the 2B level of the Carl A. Kroch Library, which features a secure, climate-controlled vault, an exhibition gallery, a reading room and classrooms. Library staff is dedicated to making original research materials available to the Cornell community and to the public through exhibitions, classes and public presentations.

Cornell University is an innovative Ivy League university and a great place to work. Its inclusive community of scholars, students, and staff imparts an uncommon sense of larger purpose and contributes creative ideas to further the University’s mission of teaching, discovery, and engagement. In addition to the main campus in Ithaca, NY, Cornell’s expansive global presence includes the medical college’s campuses on the Upper East Side of Manhattan and Doha, Qatar, as well as the new Cornell Tech campus being built on Roosevelt Island in New York City. The Ithaca campus sits on 2,300 acres in the heart of the Finger Lakes region. Ithaca, located roughly halfway between Manhattan and Toronto, offers a wealth of arts, culture, and activity while maintaining an eclectic college-town feel. Outdoor enthusiasts can take advantage of the multitude of rolling hills, breathtaking gorges, hiking trails, and lakes offering countless outdoor activities. The city has been named one of the top 100 places to live, a top 10 recreation city, a best green place to live, and one of the “foodiest” towns in America.

One of the leading academic research libraries in the United States, Cornell University Library is a highly valued partner in teaching, research, and learning at the university. With an operating budget of over $64 million and a diverse and innovative staff of more than 350, the Library supports 2,700 faculty, 22,000 students and 94 PhD fields. Its world class collections, expert librarians, responsive services in physical and virtual library spaces inspire and nourish scholarship and learning.

How to Apply: The application deadline is December 6, 2018. Candidates must apply via the Cornell University Careers site at:—Cornell-University-Library_WDR-00017084-1 . Please include one document that contains a cover letter, resume, and the names, phone numbers, and addresses for three references (pdf preferred).


Diversity and Inclusion are a part of Cornell University’s heritage. We are a recognized employer and educator valuing AA/EEO, Protected Veterans, and Individuals with Disabilities.

Notice to Applicants: Please read the required Notice to Applicants statement by clicking here: This notice contains important information about applying for a position at Cornell as well as some of your rights and responsibilities as an applicant.

About Melody Rood

Librarian at Central Piedmont Community College in Charlotte, NC

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