Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Conservation Post, University of Kansas

Assistant Conservator for Special Collections,University of Kansas

Conservation Services at the University of Kansas (Lawrence, KS) seeks
applicants for the position of Assistant Conservator for Special Collections

Application deadline: February 23, 2015
Apply at: <>

Departmental Program Summary

The Conservation Services Department provides leadership, coordination,
expertise, and services within a comprehensive, system-wide program to preserve
KU Libraries' paper-based collections.

Position Summary

The Assistant Conservator for Special Collections will serve a central role in
the Stannard Conservation Laboratory with primary responsibility for special
collections held by Kenneth Spencer Research Library. This position, under the
direct supervision of the Head of Conservation Services, helps manage and
undertake a range of mission-critical daily operations of the Stannard
Conservation Laboratory including: evaluating damaged collections; making
treatment decisions and performing conservation treatments on special
collections materials; providing exhibition preparation and support; undertaking
conservation assessments and surveys; and participating in emergency
preparedness and response operations.

Position Description

Conservation treatment—70%

Drafts treatment proposals and specifications, and provides basic time estimates
for work to be undertaken, for rare books, manuscripts, archival materials, and
other paper-based library collections.
Performs highly complex conservation tasks that require knowledge and expertise
in multiple techniques to solve unique problems. Treatments applied in
combination include but are not limited to conservation rebinding, rebacking and
board reattachment; surface cleaning; aqueous washing and alkalization
treatments; mending with various papers; lining; backing removal; tape and
adhesive removal; matting and encapsulation; and enclosure construction.
Carries out proposed treatments and repairs to library and archival materials
with minimal supervision and in accordance with accepted standards for
conservation practice.
Documents treatments using a range of written and photographic techniques
according to accepted standards for conservation practice.
Selects and uses appropriate specialized tools and equipment appropriate for the
treatment, including, but not limited to: hand tools, book presses, board shear,
guillotine, ultrasonic welder, and suction table; may also perform maintenance
on this equipment.
Designs and constructs both simple and complex, custom-fitting enclosures for
fragile materials bearing in mind the unique needs of those formats and their
chemical interactions with the materials available for construction.
Assists in the preparation of library materials for exhibition. Fabricates
simple and complex mounts. Assists with installation and de-installation.

Project management—15%

Develops and implements workflows for conservation projects.
Assists in training staff, students, interns, and volunteers, as necessary.
Provides technical advice on the housing, storage, handling and repair of
special collections.
Advises library staff on conservation principles and practices.

Departmental responsibilities—15%

Serves on the Collections Emergency Response Team and assists with disaster
preparedness and recovery operations following standard procedures.
Undertakes collection surveys to assess condition and prioritize conservation
treatments, as necessary.
Assists with preventive programs such as environmental monitoring and pest
management as needed.
Stays current with developments in the field of library and archives
Prepares, conducts, and participates in staff and public outreach and education
Participates in departmental meetings and planning activities, including
departmental goal-setting.
Compiles statistics and prepares reports as appropriate.
Assists with equipping the conservation laboratories to meet current and
anticipated future treatment needs. May order supplies, tools, and equipment as
Participates in the broader work of KU Libraries by serving on committees,
working groups, and task forces as appropriate.
Other duties as assigned.


B.A. degree
1 year relevant experience, including training in book or paper conservation.

M.A. degree from a recognized conservation training program or related field, or
demonstration of a similar level of education and training required for the
conservation of rare materials.
A portfolio of relevant work if selected for interview
Demonstrated knowledge of physical and chemical mechanisms of deterioration of
library and archives materials.
Demonstrated knowledge of the fundamentals, techniques, and history of book-
binding, paper treatment, and conservation.
Demonstrated knowledge of conservation ethics and practices relevant to research
library and archival materials; commitment to the American Institute for
Conservation’s Code of Ethics and Standards for Practice.
Excellent manual dexterity and sustained concentration with delicate and
occasionally repetitive tasks.
Basic computer skills including word processing and use of spreadsheets.

Competency in Adobe Photoshop and InDesign.
Experience working in an academic research library.
Experience managing conservation technicians or students.
Experience evaluating and treating materials for digital imaging projects.
Experience in exhibit preparation.
Demonstrated record of continuing education in conservation through workshops,
lectures, and conference attendance.
Ability to communicate effectively about treatment options and decisions.
Demonstrated ability to work independently.
Effective organizational skills.

For more information on Spencer Research Library’s collections, see:

Whitney Baker
Head, Conservation Services / Librarian
University of Kansas Libraries
1425 Jayhawk Blvd., #135
Lawrence, KS 66045

1 comment:

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