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Welcome Ambassador, Harvard University / Harvard Library (Cambridge)

The Welcome Ambassador greets and orients researchers, students, faculty, and visitors to Houghton Library and its reading room, exhibition galleries, classrooms, and program spaces. They serve as the initial point of contact for the library and create and contribute to an inclusive and positive environment for members of the Harvard community and the general public. The Welcome Ambassador plays a critical role in promoting Houghton Library and connecting its collections of archives, manuscripts, rare books, and other materials to a diverse and multi-faceted group of library users and visitors. They focus on the patron and visitor experience to ensure that all visitors enjoy a positive encounter with the library.   

The Welcome Ambassador is an integral member of the Public Services Division and works closely with librarians, archivists, curators, and staff from other units to develop and enhance knowledge of the library’s collections, exhibitions, programs, and other activities. The Welcome Ambassador is responsible for prioritizing the patron and visitor experience to give all people coming to the building an exceptional encounter with Houghton Library. They should have a strong sense of hospitality, enjoy working with the public, proactively greet all visitors in a friendly way, and possess a sincere interest in libraries. They must exhibit flexibility and good judgment, and be able to resolve customer issues independently.

This position will work 9:00 am – 5:00 pm, Monday through Friday, with possible occasional evening and weekend shifts. 

About Houghton Library 

Houghton Library is Harvard’s principal repository for rare books and manuscripts, literary and performing arts archives, and more. The library is a destination for students and scholars on campus and around the world, and each year welcomes thousands of researchers and students into its reading room and classrooms. 

Houghton Library’s collections represent the scope of human experience from ancient Egypt to twenty-first century Cambridge. With strengths primarily in North American and European history, literature, and culture, collections range in media from printed books and handwritten manuscripts to maps, drawings and paintings, prints, posters, photographs, film and audio recordings, and digital media, as well as costumes, theater props, and a wide range of other objects. Houghton Library has historically focused on collecting the written record of European and Eurocentric North American culture, yet it holds a large and diverse number of primary sources valuable for research on the languages, culture and history of indigenous peoples of the Americas, Africa, Asia and Oceania. 

To learn more about the collections and Houghton Library, please visit our website at 

To learn more about the upcoming Houghton Library renovation, please visit the renovation website at 

Job-Specific Responsibilities

Create a warm and welcoming presence for Library researchers and visitors. Actively greet the researchers and visitors and provide information, wayfinding, and an orientation to Houghton Library. 
In coordination with the Public Services Division and Scholarly and Public Programs Department, share information with researchers and the public about Houghton Library mission, exhibitions, collections, programming, events, services, and classes. 
Answer routine and general inquiries about the Houghton’s collections, mission, and history, as well as questions about Harvard Yard and Harvard Square, including amenities, dining, and transit.  
In coordination with the Head of Teaching and Learning and other Houghton staff, welcome students and faculty to the library for classes and manage the flow of students to classrooms.  
Understand and communicate library policies and procedures to visitors and researchers, including health, security, and safety, coat/bag check, rules regarding food and drink, and reading room protocols. 
Coordinates scheduling and helps to ensure that the welcome position is regularly staffed when the Welcome Ambassador is at break or away from the library. Creates and updates documentation and guidelines for the role. May provide cross-training to other library staff or student workers. 
Receive visitors and staff arriving at the library for appointments with Houghton staff and direct accordingly. 
Answer incoming calls to the general Houghton Library telephone number and direct as appropriate. 
Confirm all digital and analog public signage is up-to-date, accurate, and functioning properly. 
Alert the Houghton Security Office of any security concerns, including self-observed issues and reported visitor concerns. 
May assist the Scholarly and Public Programs Department and the Woodberry Poetry Room with special events, including duties such as receiving caterers, directing A/V set-up, advising on facilities staff on furniture set-up, etc. 
Assist with administrative duties including updating departmental wiki, updating departmental documentation, helping with the library’s social media presence, and contributing to library goals by accomplishing related duties and special projects as required.
Other duties as assigned. 


Across 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 invite individuals with diverse backgrounds, experiences and abilities 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. 

Harvard Library inspires collaboration, reflection, experimentation, and discovery connecting users to related disciplines and to University-wide teaching resources. The Library engages users through curated discovery, digital collections, reimagined physical space, and specialized research support.  Today, Harvard Library’s holdings range from traditional print collections to rapidly expanding access to digital resources. Harvard Library provides the University's faculty, students, and researchers—now and in the future—with exceptional experiences and comprehensive access to these materials.
Additional Information

Our Commitment to Anti-Racism 

Harvard University aims to be the world’s recognized leader in sustainable inclusive excellence by fostering a campus culture where everyone can thrive.  

Working in close collaboration with offices across the University, Harvard Library is becoming one of the campus leaders in advancing equity, diversity, inclusion, belonging, and antiracism. We believe that an inclusive environment that cultivates and promotes understanding, respect, and collaboration across our diverse workforce enables our success. As well, we believe that 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 advance our diverse society. 

Harvard Library’s core values are the foundation upon which our antiracism agenda is being developed. Our values emphasize that we lead with curiosity, seek collaboration, champion access, aim for the extraordinary, and cultivate and celebrate diversity in our collections and our community to construct a more inclusive and just world. Our focus on antiracism is a commitment to live our values. It is about building not only a better organization, but a better research library – an exemplary antiracist research library. We aspire to be global leaders in expanding world knowledge and intellectual exploration, and that starts on our campus, where we are a center for knowledge supporting our faculty and students in pursuing antiracism through their research, teaching and learning. 

Harvard Library's commitment to antiracism is a commitment to addressing other forms of discrimination as well, such as those based on gender, sexuality, religion or ability. Our antiracism work will continue a strong record of diversity initiatives, ranging from targeted collection development and the design of inclusive spaces to a learning journey for staff and a focus on employee recruitment and retention. We are deeply committed to increasing diversity in the profession, through activities such as our longstanding membership in the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) Diversity Alliance. 

Read about our Values. 

Harvard Library is a proud member of the Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL) Diversity Alliance. 

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


Basic Qualifications

High school graduate or equivalent, preferably with some formal training beyond high school, such as two years of college coursework or Associate’s degree.  
One year of related experience – education beyond high school may count towards experience 

Additional Qualifications and Skills

A commitment to diversity and to serving the needs of a diverse population, including international researchers and visitors, and visitors of all ages. 
Bachelor’s degree preferred, or equivalent combination of experience and education 
One or more years customer service experience 
Ability to engage with visitors in a professional and courteous manner 
Team-oriented disposition with strong customer service skills. 
Interest in the libraries, museums, and/or other cultural institutions. 
Ability to multitask during periods of high volume 
Excellent oral communication 
Ability to work independently and as part of a team. 
Demonstrated initiative, flexibility, and ability to work collegially and creatively within and across organizations 
Knowledge of general office applications. MS Word, Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint, Teams, and Google Suite 
Working speaking knowledge of a language other than English including, but not limited to Arabic, Chinese, French, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, or Spanish 

Full/Part Time

Full Time



Salary Range

$36,819.00 - $55,473.00  / year

Closing Date

How to Apply

To view the complete position description and to apply, see here:


2021-09-01 |  Quick link to this job