Reference Specialist

Stanford University
Closing date
Jul 18, 2033

Job Details

Reference Specialist

Stanford University

Job Number:

Are you interested in being part of a growing and dynamic team? The Hoover Institution at Stanford University is seeking qualified candidates for the full-time position of Reference Specialist for the Hoover Institution Library & Archives.

Please submit a cover letter and resume along with your online application for full consideration.

About Stanford University's Hoover Institution: The Hoover Institution on War, Revolution, and Peace is a public policy research center devoted to the advanced study of economics, politics, history, and political economy—both domestic and foreign—as well as international affairs.

Founded in 1919 by Herbert Hoover before he became the thirty-first president of the United States, the Institution began as a repository of historical material gathered at the end of World War I. The library and archives have grown to be among the largest private repositories of documents on twentieth-century political and economic history. Over time the Institution expanded its mission from collecting archival material to conducting advanced research on contemporary history and economics and applying this scholarship to current public policy challenges.

With its eminent scholars and world-renowned library and archives, the Hoover Institution seeks to improve the human condition by advancing ideas that promote economic opportunity and prosperity while securing and safeguarding peace for America and all humanity.


The Reference Specialist performs a variety of complex duties within the public services unit of the Hoover Institution Library & Archives, reporting to the Research Services Manager. Applies specialized knowledge and/or subject expertise under minimal supervision, exercising a high degree of initiative. This position primarily supports onsite and remote reference operations as well as public-facing reading room operations. May supervise employees.


Reference, including job duties such as:
  • Manage majority of reference requests, referring more complicated inquiries to Research Services Manager
  • Instruct users in the use of library catalog and other informational resources
  • Manage duplication order process for reference requests, including handling payments, tracking orders to completion, maintaining order data, and facilitating shipment and electronic delivery of digital files
  • Evaluate the condition of archival material prior to reference duplication requests and consult with conservation staff about at-risk items
  • Perform select digitization to support remote reference requests

Public Interaction, including job duties such as:
  • Assist with reading room operations, staff the reference desk and enforce reading room rules and security
  • Provide reading room orientations and instruction in the proper use of rare materials
  • Support events, tours, and classes
  • Perform routine circulation functions such as charges, discharges, holds
  • Apply public service skills to resolve circulation problems and promote patron satisfaction
  • Opening and closing activities

Collection Maintenance, including job duties such as:
  • Perform a full range of acquisition activities (e.g. pre-order searching, ordering, payment, receiving, handling complex serial records, checking bibliographic record for accuracy); screen and evaluate circulated materials for a variety of treatment options (i.e. repair, bindery); evaluate the condition of items prior to duplication and consult with conservation staff about at-risk items
  • Help to maintain library and archive statistics

Computing Support, including job duties such as:
  • Use on a daily basis common computer programs such as word processing, spreadsheets, Web browsers, and email
  • Monitor library email account and reports
  • Edit library web pages as needed; monitor and update links

Materials Processing, including job duties such as:
  • Compile basic container lists or indexes of archival materials
  • Perform routine catalog maintenance, receiving and/or copy cataloging

Supervision, including job duties such as:
  • Supervise lower level staff and students

* The job duties listed are typical examples of work performed by positions in this job classification and are not designed to contain or be interpreted as a comprehensive inventory of all duties, tasks, and responsibilities. Specific duties and responsibilities may vary depending on department or program needs without changing the general nature and scope of the job or level of responsibility. Employees may also perform other duties as assigned.


Education & Experience:
Two-year college degree plus three or more years of experience in an academic library, or equivalent combination of education and relevant experience. Bachelor's degree in a related field of humanities or social sciences preferred. Preference for work experience in a large special collections or archival repository.

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities:
  • Experience with direct interaction with patrons
  • Demonstrated computer literacy with word processing, spreadsheets and communication software such as email
  • Demonstrated interpersonal and organizational skills
  • Able to apply judgment in choosing procedures and evaluating alternatives
  • Demonstrated ability to perform detailed tasks accurately and efficiently
  • Possess strong communication skills in English
  • Demonstrated ability to be flexible and work well under pressure
  • Record of excellent attendance
  • Proven track record with handling complex procedures from beginning to end
  • Exhibit strong analytical and problem-solving skills
  • Experience using or ability to learn one or more library automated systems
  • Knowledge of or ability to learn Library of Congress call number systems
  • Demonstrated supervisory experience
  • Exhibit strong analytical and problem-solving skills

Desired/Preferred Qualifications:
  • Strong project management skills, with demonstrated ability to work independently on projects and as part of a team

Certifications and Licenses:
  • None

  • Must be able to stand for many hours.
  • Perform desk-based computer tasks.
  • Work with books and in places that may be dusty.
  • Frequently twist/bend/stoop/squat, grasps lightly/fine manipulation, grasp forcefully, sort/file paperwork or parts, lift/carry/push/pull objects that weigh up to 15 pounds.
  • Occasionally stand/walk, reach/work above shoulders, write by hand, kneel/crawl, climb (ladders, scaffolds, or other).
  • Occasionally use a telephone, operate hand controls.
  • Must be able to push and maneuver a fully-loaded cart weighing up to 650 pounds that requires an initial push force up to 50 pounds. Ability to lift 40 pound boxes or bundles.

* - Consistent with its obligations under the law, the University will provide reasonable accommodation to any employee with a disability who requires accommodation to perform the essential functions of his or her job.

  • May work in confined spaces and at heights 4-10 feet; be exposed to dust and mold; work extended hours, evenings and weekends.

  • Interpersonal Skills: Demonstrates the ability to work well with Stanford colleagues and clients and with external organizations.
  • Promote Culture of Safety: Demonstrates commitment to personal responsibility and value for safety; communicates safety concerns; uses and promotes safe behaviors based on training and lessons learned.
  • Subject to and expected to comply with all applicable University policies and procedures, including but not limited to the personnel policies and other policies found in the University's Administrative Guide,

The Hoover Institution at Stanford University is an equal opportunity employer and all qualified applicants will receive consideration without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law.


Location: Hoover Institution, Stanford, California, United States
Classification Level:

To be considered for this position please visit our web site and apply on line at the following link:

Stanford is an equal opportunity employer and all qualified applicants will receive consideration without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law.

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