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Public Service Librarian

Notice of Vacancy December 18, 2017. Applications should be received no later than 5:00 p.m., Friday, February 3, 2018.

The Libraries

Serving three campuses, the University of Washington Libraries is one of the largest and most innovative libraries in North America with collections exceeding 9 million volumes, over 500,000 electronic books, more than 120,000 currently received journal titles, as well as millions of scholarly resources in other formats. Beyond the strength of local collections and digital resources, the Libraries is recognized for its excellent service, innovative learning and research spaces, faculty partnerships, global reach, extensive assessment efforts and diverse award-winning staff. The Libraries plays a significant leadership role regionally as a member in the groundbreaking Orbis Cascade Alliance and throughout the profession as evidenced by the number of its staff selected for competitive leadership programs and honored by professional association lifetime achievement awards.

Special Collections

Drawing users from the campus, the community, the region, and the state, Special Collections also serves scholars from across the country and around the world. Our innovative, dedicated,user-focused staff engages with users in the reading room, the classroom, and other venues both physical and digital. We collaborate with others on campus, and in the community as well as through groups such as the OCLC Research Library Partnership, Orbis Cascade Alliance, and Northwest Digital Archives.

Special Collections’ strengths include Architecture, 19th-century American Literature,20th-century American and English Literature, Books Arts, Pacific Northwest History and Literature, Photographs and Moving Images, and Travel and Exploration.

The University’s Archives also reside in Special Collections. It contains permanent public records of the University of Washington that document the University's development; papers of teaching and research faculty and professional staff that reflect the academic and administrative life of the University; University publications and imprints and records of student life as well as guidance on recordkeeping and procedures for transferring records to the Archives.

The position

Under the direction of the Associate Director of Special Collections, the Public Service Librarian is responsible for providing and fostering consistent, excellent public service to researchers. Staffs the Special Collections Reference Desk, provides in-person, telephone and email reference service, follows up on complex reference questions, coordinates training of graduate reference assistants, retrieval students and staff at the Reference Desk, and assists the Head of Public Service in the coordination of the reference service and the management of the Reading Room. The Public Service Librarian is responsible for contributing to the achievement of Libraries’ objectives and the fulfillment of the Libraries’ strategic plan.

Specific responsibilities and duties:

  • Assist users with complex research-related questions at the Reference Desk, via telephone, and through QuestionPoint and email using specialized knowledge of both print and online reference sources in Pacific Northwest history and specialized collections.
  • Develop and implement standards, policies, and procedures for Special Collections reference; and process improvements for researchers and staff.
  • Serve as the Registrar for the unit, coordinating exhibit loans and other checkouts.
  • Select new local history monographs and related resources for addition to the collection, and coordinate processing of those materials.
  • Conduct classes and orientations and participate in other outreach activities to promote and facilitate use of Special Collections.
  • Edit and maintain Special Collections public web page and Staffweb pages.
  • Coordinate Special Collections social media presence.
  • May assist in contacting prospective donors and negotiating transfer and disposition of collections and deeds of gift.
  • Develop and maintain relations with a variety of clientele, including local and regional historians.
  • Maintain an awareness of current developments of digital information technologies and their uses in special collections. Participate in the development of digital collections.
  • Prepare grant proposals, reports, studies or surveys as required.
  • Understands and abides by the Libraries Personal Communication Responsibilities. Communicates appropriately, effectively and positively. Plays an active role in staying informed and participating in Libraries and unit meetings, activities and events.
  • Assume other responsibilities as assigned; perform other duties as required.



  • Graduate degree from a program accredited by the American Library Association or an equivalent graduate library/information studies degree.
  • Knowledge of history and current issues in public service in special collections.
  • Demonstrated commitment to diversity and understanding of the contributions a diverse workforce brings to the workplace.
  • Minimum one-year of experience working in special collections, or an archival setting.
  • Knowledge of techniques for local history research and genealogy reference.
  • Demonstrated public service experience.
  • Strong written, verbal, and interpersonal communication skills including demonstrated ability to work with staff and users.
  • Ability to work creatively in a rapidly changing complex environment and to set priorities.
  • Ability to work independently, communicate effectively, and work as part of a team.


  • Degree in a field related to Pacific Northwest, Western American, or public history.
  • Knowledge of the history of the Pacific Northwest.
  • Experience documenting procedures and policies.
  • Knowledge of research techniques for local history.
  • Familiarity with Microsoft Office, ArchivesSpace, and database management software.
  • Exhibit design or curation experience.
  • Experience with creating and maintaining a professional social media presence.


$50,000 minimum. Starting salary commensurate with qualifications and background.


Position will be at rank of Assistant Librarian, or Senior Assistant Librarian, depending on qualifications and background.


Librarians are academic personnel and participate in the University of Washington Retirement Plan on a matching basis. Vacation is accrued at the rate of 26 working days per year; sick leave at the rate of 12 working days per year. No state or local income tax.

Application process

To apply for this position, please submit the following information to libjobs@uw.edu:

  • Cover letter (addressed to Laura Lillard, Director, Libraries Human Resources)
  • Curriculum vitae or resume (include a telephone number, mailing address, email address and salary requirements)
  • List of three references who are knowledgeable of your qualifications for this position, one of which must be your current supervisor (include telephone numbers, mailing addresses, and email addresses)
  • Please use "Librarian Application: Public Service Librarian” in the subject heading.
  • Please submit all components in a single, multi-page PDF document. All submissions will be maintained in a secure, password protected online file space during the course of the search. Campus constituents may have access to some material, including CVs.


Application deadline

To ensure consideration, applications should be received no later than 5:00 pm, Friday, February 3, 2018.

University of Washington Libraries Home Page is http://www.lib.washington.edu

The University of Washington is an affirmative action and equal opportunity employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, age, protected veteran or disabled status, or genetic information.

In compliance with the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986, the University is required to verify and document the citizenship or employment authorization of each new employee.

For questions about this position, or questions regarding potential disability accommodations, please contact Laura Lillard at libjobs@uw.edu.