Position Summary: The Rare Books Conservator is responsible for the physical care and conservation treatment of rare books and bound manuscripts held in the special collections throughout the Princeton University Library. These materials are characterized by rarity, uniqueness, and complex technical problems. They inspire and support the research and teaching of students, faculty, and scholars.
Within this context, the Rare Books Conservator performs all aspects of book conservation designed to preserve the books' historical, artifactual, and intrinsic value while insuring their ability to be used. The Rare Books Conservator should be comfortable assessing, discussing, recommending, and performing treatment and stabilization of bound books and manuscripts across a spectrum of traditions. She or he should approach each treatment with sensitivity, and be versatile, calling upon their knowledge of materials and techniques drawn from deep experience with the craft.
The Rare Books Conservator works in close association with Preservation Office staff including the Head, Library Preservation and the Rare Books, Paper, and Collections conservators. As part of this team, and in close collaboration with curators throughout the library, she or he formulates preservation and conservation priorities and treatment, as well as housing strategies for Princeton University Library's rare and unique bound materials.
While the emphasis of this position is on single-item treatment, the Rare Books Conservator contributes to the overall preservation effort by advising our colleagues throughout the Library on care and handling of rare materials during use, collection storage and transport, exhibition, and digital imaging. In addition, she or he will be called upon to provide training to staff and/or interns. This position reports directly to the Head of Library Preservation.
An applicant who is chosen for an interview must present a portfolio of rare books conservation treatments, including treatment documentation, as well as samples of binding work.
Essential Qualifications: Advanced degree and four years' professional experience in rare books conservation in an academic or research library, or, six years directly relevant experience in rare books conservation in an academic and/or research library. Practical knowledge and understanding of the principles of book conservation, history of book structure, binding techniques, and materials science. Demonstrated ability and commitment to a treatment approach that marries the needs of the object and the needs of the curator, researcher, and faculty and, where applicable, the rigors of exhibition and reproduction. Demonstrated commitment to following the American Institute for Conservation's Code of Ethics and Guidelines for Practice. Demonstrated ability to perform a wide-range of book conservation treatments; to communicate and collaborate effectively with staff in a complex organization; to work as part of a team with preservation and conservation peers and colleagues; to work independently and to plan and structure one's responsibilities accordingly. Experience coordinating conservation treatment activities among several special collections constituencies.
Preferred Qualifications: Advanced degree in book conservation. Demonstrated knowledge of Western binding before 1600. Demonstrated knowledge of Coptic, Islamic, and/or East Asian binding traditions and treatment techniques. Experience training technicians and/or interns.
Education Required: Other-see essential qualifications
Application Deadline: Open Until Filled or See Position Summary.