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How to Apply

A cover letter is required for consideration for this position and should be attached as the first page of your resume. The cover letter should address your specific interest in the position, and outline skills and experience that directly relate to this position.

Candidates selected for on-site interviews will be asked to bring a portfolio of samples of their handwork. This could include art work, craft work, or hobby work.

Job Summary

The University of Michigan Library is one of the world’s largest academic research libraries and serves a vibrant University community that is home to 19 schools and colleges, 100 top ten graduate programs, and annual research expenditures approaching $1.5 billion a year. To enable the University’s world-changing work and to serve the public good, the Library collects, preserves, and shares the scholarly and cultural record in all existing and emerging forms, and leads the reinvention of the academic research library in the digital age.

The Conservation and Book Repair units in the Department of Preservation and Conservation work in a well-equipped, full-service conservation lab on South Campus in Ann Arbor. A team of six conservators and technicians, assisted by students, interns, and volunteers, perform exacting handwork to conserve, repair, and care for the library’s print and manuscript collections. The lab aims at high standards of library conservation service while maintaining efficient production to support the preservation care of over eight million general collection and some 300,000 special collection books, as well as thousands of manuscripts, maps, and archival materials.

The University of Michigan Library is seeking a dedicated, detail-oriented person with excellent handwork skills in the position of conservation technician in the Department of Preservation and Conservation. As part of a dynamic and diverse team, the conservation technician is trained and performs a variety of tasks in order to preserve and protect fragile books and other materials from the library’s rare and special collections.

The library is committed to recruiting and retaining a diverse workforce and encourages all employees to fully incorporate their diverse backgrounds, skills, and life experiences into their work and towards the fulfillment of the library's mission.



  • Perform basic conservation treatments on library materials held in the Library’s rare and special collections.

  • Document treatments in written reports and digital photography.

  • Construct custom-made protective enclosures such as drop-spine boxes, window mats, and other housings for both bound and unbound library material.

  • Participate in the daily operations of the Conservation unit performing such tasks as:

    • prepare adhesives and chemical solutions.

    • monitor supply needs.

    • maintain equipment, supplies, and work space in clean and functional order.

    • understand and observe lab safety protocols.

    • maintain security for valuable library materials.

  • Assist senior Conservation staff with special projects such as condition surveys of collections and collections care operations such as environmental monitoring or mass rehousing projects.

  • Assist in providing disaster recovery services for library materials.

  • Assist in answering conservation-related questions from library staff and the public, including assistance in providing tours of the Lab.

  • Stay informed on relevant library conservation issues and practices through professional reading, conferences, workshops, or similar activities.

Required Qualifications*

  • Bachelor’s degree or equivalent combination of education and relevant experience. Especially relevant are degrees in fine art, chemistry, history of art, archeology, and similar disciplines.

  • Demonstrated ability to perform exacting handwork with care, precision, patience, and attention to detail in a production environment. Handwork includes the use of hand tools (knives, straightedges, probes, punches, brushes, etc.) and light machinery (paper cutter, drill, book press, etc.).

  • Good written and oral communication skills aligned with writing short reports, responding to questions, and giving tours.

  • Ability to work independently and in a group environment as part of a well-functioning and diverse team.

  • Understands and values diversity and the importance of inclusion as demonstrated through a commitment to apply and incorporate the differences, complexities, and opportunities that diversity brings to an organization.

Desired Qualifications*

  • Some work experience in bookbinding, paper conservation or comparable experience in a training program.

  • Coursework in chemistry, art, or related fields.

  • Computer skills: basic communications, word processing, spreadsheets, database management, and/or image processing.

Additional Information

Physical Demands/Work Environment

  • The person in this position routinely moves materials weighing up to 30 pounds.

  • The person in this position must be able to remain in a stationary position for periods of time.

  • The person in this position occasionally ascends/descends ladders.

  • The person in this position occasionally moves throughout the building to access files.

  • The person in this position occasionally works with dusty or mold-damaged materials and small quantities of chemicals. Must be able to wear a respirator.

Application Deadline

Job openings are posted for a minimum of seven calendar days.  This job may be removed from posting boards and filled anytime after the minimum posting period has ended.

Applications will be reviewed as received throughout the posting period and continue until the position is filled.


U-M EEO/AA Statement

The University of Michigan is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer.