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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. Please note that if you are considered for an interview, you may be asked to provide several professional references.

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 Librarian is responsible for the conservation of bound books, maps, documents, and other materials in the library’s special collections. The position has a primary focus of conservation treatment, preservation management, and research and outreach on current library conservation issues and practices. The Conservation Librarian coordinates with other conservation and library staff to manage and support the care, use, and exhibition of special collections. The scope of expertise is principally bound books and documents on paper including prints, drawings, maps, and manuscripts, but may have related expertise in the conservation of photographic materials, documents on vellum or papyrus, or other library/archive materials.

This position reports to the Head, Conservation and Book Repair.

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.


  • Plans, documents, and performs conservation treatments on materials held in the library’s rare and special collections.

  • Examines and executes analytical tests on collection materials and helps inform curatorial staff and researchers on their physical makeup or technology of production. 

  • Designs and constructs protective enclosures and exhibit supports. 

  • Works with curators in special collections to plan for the welfare of the collections and to select items for conservation treatment. 

  • Advises library staff on the condition of collections, collection storage, handling, and exhibition; performs on-site inspections, recommends appropriate action, and assists with its implementation.

  • Designs and executes special conservation projects and conservation aspects of exhibits, digitization, or loan preparations. 

  • Assists with emergency response and recovery of threatened or damaged library materials.

  • Stays informed on current library conservation issues and practice through professional reading, conferences, workshops, or similar activities and shares the acquired knowledge with colleagues.

  • May organize and present workshops in areas of expertise for unit staff, library staff, or external audiences. 

  • May train, supervise, or coordinate the work of others such as conservation technicians, student assistants, interns, volunteers, or staff from other units as needed or on a project basis.

Required Qualifications*

  • ALA-accredited master's degree, a master’s degree in conservation, or equivalent combination of advanced degree and experience; and at least two years of professional conservation experience.

  • Basic knowledge of the materiality and history of books, paper, and related library materials.

  • Understanding of relevant conservation theory and practice and adherence to professional ethical practice in conservation.

  • Excellent organizational, interpersonal, and communication skills, both oral and written. Ability to work independently and in a group environment as part of a diverse team. 

  • Experience with word processing, spreadsheets, database management, and image processing.

  • Demonstrated potential to contribute to the profession through service, teaching, research, and/or publication.

  • 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.

Additional Information

Appointment is anticipated at the Assistant Librarian or Associate Librarian rank. Salary and rank are dependent on the candidate's qualifications and experience. Librarian appointments carry with them increased expectations regarding professional development, professional engagement, research, and service, in keeping with the Library's process for librarian promotion and advancement.

The target salary ranges for the position are $54,000 - $59,000 per year for the Assistant Librarian rank and $62,000 - $67,000 per year for the Associate Librarian rank. The salary offered will be based on the qualifications and experience of the selected candidate. 

The University of Michigan offers excellent benefits and wellness opportunities. This position receives 24 days of vacation a year, paid sick leave with provisions for extended benefits, as well as opportunities for professional development and travel. TIAA-CREF and Fidelity Investments retirement options are available.

Physical Demands/Work Environment

The person in this position works in a laboratory setting and routinely moves through the library buildings. Must be able to move and/or transport materials that weigh up to 30 pounds. Must be able to wear a respirator and follow established safety procedures for working with chemicals, mold, and light shop machinery.

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.

U-M EEO/AA Statement

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