Conservation Assistant 2
Conservation & Exhibition Services
Yale University Library
Salary Grade: D
Schedule: Full-time (37.5 hours per week); Standard Work Week (M–F, 8:30-5:00)
Under the supervision of the Chief Conservator and/or Assistant Chief Conservator, performs a variety of tasks related to the conservation of books and other library materials from Yale’s general, circulating, rare, and special collections. This position’s primary assignment will be in Special Collections Conservation, working on Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library collections. Secondary assignment will be treatment for other special collections and unique holdings from the circulating collections.
Representative Job Summary
Repairs materials by returning them to a usable condition while retaining as much of the original information as possible.
- Determines methods, treatment proposals, time estimates, and photo documentation for work to be performed.
- Consults with users. Schedules work.
- Aids in instructing others in binding/conservation techniques.
- Treats paper by such methods as cleaning, washing, decidifying and mending, sizing, mylar encapsulation, mounting, matting, leaf-casting and enzyme treatment.
- Maintains and uses tools, equipment and supplies.
- Sets up, assembles, tests, repairs and operates machinery.
- Binds, disbands, repairs, restores and makes protective enclosures for books.
- Performs a variety of tasks related to the conservation of books and paper, rare books and research materials. Maintains records.
- Performs technical functions incidental to conservation activities.
- Handles complex conservation tasks that require knowledge and expertise in multiple techniques and tools. Uses skills and abilities to adapt techniques and knowledge to solve unique problems. Successfully carries out proposed treatments and repairs to library materials with conservator supervision and in accordance with accepted standards for conservation practice.
- Treatments applied in combination include but are not limited to conservation rebinding, rebacking and board reattachment; surface cleaning; aqueous treatment to wash and/or de-acidify; mending and/or lining; tape and adhesive removal; and matting and encapsulation.
- Examines materials through a set of visual techniques and as appropriate, using specialized equipment such as a microscope or ultraviolet light.
- Under the direction of a conservator, drafts treatment proposals or specifications, and provides basic time estimates for work to be undertaken. Documents treatments performed using a range of written, graphic and digital photographic techniques. Tracks personal work statistics via electronic spreadsheets and databases.
- Designs and makes complex, custom-fit enclosures for fragile materials bearing in mind the unique needs of those formats and their chemical interactions with the materials available for construction.
- Selects and uses appropriate specialized tools and equipment appropriate for the treatment task; this includes but is not limited to hand tools, book presses, board shears, guillotine, ultrasonic welder, board creaser, suction table and suction disc; may also perform maintenance on this equipment.
- Responsible for tracking materials of high value in the conservation lab, by maintaining the database log. Fields questions from Library staff about individual items, identifies exhibit, loan and other rush requests, and prepares required receipts.
- Safely handles, measures, and uses a limited range of chemicals to perform specific treatments when necessary and in accordance with University policies and laboratory guidelines.
- Assists with training for student assistants.
- Maintains awareness of current book and paper conservation techniques by reading and attending lectures/workshops.
- Assists with disaster recovery operations following standard recovery procedures.
- Performs other duties as assigned.
Required Education and Experience
Six years of directly relevant work experience, four of them in the same job family at the next lower level, and a high school level education; or four years of related work experience and an Associate degree or little or no work experience and a Bachelor’s degree in a related field; or an equivalent combination of education and experience
- One year directly related experience working in a book conservation laboratory or private practice under the direction of a professional conservator.
- Demonstrated knowledge of the fundamentals, techniques, and history of book-binding, paper treatment, and conservation. A portfolio of successful relevant work and documentation examples is required.
- Excellent manual dexterity and sustained concentration with delicate and occasionally repetitive tasks. Experience treating fragile and rare and/or high value books and other special collections materials.
- Experience with digital photography and creating accurate, clear written conservation documentation. Strong computer skills including experience and proficiency with word processing, spreadsheets, and databases.
- Good communication, interpersonal, and organizational skills. References must indicate reliable attendance and punctuality, accuracy, attention to detail and diligent performance, ability to balance multiple projects and deadlines.
Preferred Education, Experience, and Skills:
- Completion of a program of study or training in bookbinding.
- Experience directing or training student assistants or volunteers.
Ability to push a fully loaded book truck, lift boxes up to 30 lbs and to move pallets of board or other oversized supplies, using a hand
Background Check Requirements
All external candidates for employment will be subject to pre-employment background screening for this position, which may include motor vehicle and credit checks based on the position description and job requirements. All offers are contingent on successful completion of a background check. Please visit www.yale.edu/hronline/careers/screening/faqs.html for additional information on the background check requirements and process.
The intent of this job description is to provide a representative summary of the essential functions that will be required of the position and should not be construed as a declaration of specific duties and responsibilities of the particular position. Employees will be assigned specific job-related duties through their hiring departments.