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Library Assistant I -- Circulation, Massachusetts Historical Society (Boston)

The Massachusetts Historical Society’s Reader Services team seeks a part-time library assistant (up to
21 hours per week) to provide service to researchers seeking access to MHS collections primarily
through staffing the Society’s circulation desk, providing remote reference support, and paging materials
from the closed stacks. 

Founded in 1791, the Massachusetts Historical Society (MHS) is an invaluable resource for the study of
American history, life, and culture. Its extraordinary collections tell the story of America through over
12 million manuscript pages, as well as extensive collections of early American imprints, newspapers,
maps, photographs, engravings, artifacts, and other research materials. The Reader Services team
provides researchers with direct access to this rich trove of primary source material with one goal: each
researcher comes away from the MHS closer to answering their research questions. To that end, the
team strives to provides a welcoming atmosphere for all through clear, consistent communication of our
policies; appearing approachable in all forms of communication; and facilitating a safe & respectful

Reporting to the Senior Reference Librarian – Researcher Experience and working closely with
the Reading Room Supervisor, the LAI-C provides courteous, equitable, and effective service to
researchers, ensuring both access to and the security of the library’s holdings. The LAI-C primarily
staffs the Society’s circulation desk and uses Aeon software to track the retrieval, internal circulation,
and reshelving of collection materials. In the reading room, the LAI-C directly supervises the work of
researchers ensuring proper handling for library materials and explaining, demonstrating, and enforcing
library policies and procedures. The LAI-C also provides remote reference service to researchers
around the globe via email and/or chat service via the LibAnswers software suite.

All LAI-Cs are cross-trained on Visitor Services functions and are called on to cover the Society’s
reception desk. This entails greeting, authorizing, and directing all visitors entering the Society,
including explaining an enforcing MHS policies and procedures, and directing incoming telephone calls.

The library is currently staffed Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday 8:45 AM to 4:45 PM;
Tuesday 8:45 AM to 7:45 PM; and Saturday 9:45 AM to 3:00 PM. The ideal candidate would have a
flexible schedule including Tuesday evening and Saturday availability.


The successful candidate will hold a bachelor’s degree; possess a demonstrated interest
in American history, with strong interest in Early American or Massachusetts/New England history a
plus; have experience working with a diverse public in a customer service or similar position; be
proficient with Microsoft Office applications; and possess strong research skills, excellent written and
verbal communication skills, strong planning and organization skills, and the ability to work well in a
team environment;.

Previous experience working in a library, museum, or other historical organization in a customer-service
capacity, and/or familiarity with user-end functions of an integrated library system, Aeon (or similar
circulation module), providing reference assistance, and best practice for handling archival materials is
strongly preferred.

Completion of some coursework in library and information science, American history, American
studies, public history, or an archives program is preferred.

This position requires the ability to lift boxes weighing up to fifty pounds and to transport materials
loaded onto wheeled carts.

The MHS requires proof of vaccination and booster for COVID-19 for all employees. Any job offer will
be contingent upon completion of a successful background screening.

Full/Part Time

Part Time




$18.00  / hour

Salary Notes

Benefits include paid sick time & holidays, public transit subsidy, and optional participation in the MHS retirement plan.

Closing Date

Applications received by Jan. 31 will be given preference; open until filled

How to Apply

Email application materials (cover letter and resume) as attachment(s) to Elaine Heavey, at

Applicants that advance to the interview stage will be asked to provide 3 professional references.


2023-01-18 |  Quick link to this job