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Book Conservation Technician
Art Institute of Chicago

The Art Institute of Chicago is seeking qualified candidates for a full-time position of Book Conservation Technician to join its dynamic Conservation and Science Department.

Reporting to the Senior Book Conservator, the Book Conservation Technician prepares book and archival collections for exhibition, installation, loans, storage, committee meetings and conservation examination.  The Technician is responsible for providing basic care for the collection including maintenance, proper handling, the construction of protective enclosures for book and archival collection materials, and environmental control in storage and exhibition.  Under direct supervision of the Senior Book Conservator, the Technician carries out basic conservation and object stabilization treatments of books and archival materials.  Maintains book conservation supplies and mounts inventory.

  • With mentorship by the Senior Book Conservator, performs a variety of specialized conservation and preventive conservation treatments on book and archival collection materials, including binding repairs and basic paper conservation techniques; constructs custom enclosures and other protective housing for collection items.
  • Participates in condition surveys of book collections as directed; assists Senior Book Conservator in organization of workflow for collection-level and item-level treatment.
  • Prepares book and archival collection material for exhibition, designs and constructs cradles and other supports, and prepares mats.
  • Participates in the temporary and permanent gallery rotation installations of book and archival collection materials throughout the museum.
  • Researches new applications of materials, equipment and techniques to carry out specialized tasks and to improve care of the collection.
  • Maintains all preventive conservation documentation pertaining to the collection in the department’s files and shares copies in the museum’s collection management database and digital asset management system in accordance with the highest archival and digital preservation standards.
  • Contributes to the day-to-day management of the conservation lab, maintains equipment and supplies used in daily operations.  Ensures the proper care and maintenance of tools and equipment.
  • Participates in other activities related to the care of book and archival collections, including environmental monitoring, pest management and disaster response and recovery, as assigned.
  • Supports the museum in its commitment to creating a diverse, inclusive, and equitable institution; treats colleagues and visitors fairly and respectfully, recognizing the value that diverse backgrounds and perspectives bring to our organization.

  • BA, BFA or BS degree preferred, or commensurate education and experience.
  • Expertise in a range of book conservation techniques and the construction of protective enclosures, with at least two years of experience, preferably in a library or fine arts setting.
  • Must have demonstrated ability and experience with the design and creation of various types of mounts for the display of books and archival materials.
  • Must have demonstrated fine hand skills.
  • Must be able to lift and/or move up to 30 lbs and to work comfortably and safely on ladders and lift equipment.
  • Fundamental math skills, including reading of rulers and working with fractions.
  • Strong communication, organizational, and multitasking skills.
  • Embraces the museum’s commitment to creating an inclusive and equitable institution.

We offer a competitive, comprehensive benefits package which includes:
  • Generous paid time off
  • Paid holidays (up to 14 days)
  • Medical, dental, and vision insurance
  • Generous parental, caregiver, and medical leave benefits
  • Competitive retirement plan (up to 9% matching contribution)
  • Tuition remission and Tuition Exchange Program
  • Great employee discounts
  • Complimentary general admission to participating cultural institutions

$25.55 per hour - $27.47 per hour
Monday – Friday, 35 hours per week

Candidates must submit a letter of interest, a CV, and contact information for three references through the following link or via the Employment page of the museum’s website.  Documentation must be saved and uploaded as a single pdf with only alphanumeric characters in the title.

The Art Institute of Chicago is an equal opportunity, equal access employer fully committed to achieving a diverse and inclusive workplace.  We believe in a staff culture that benefits from a wide range of experience, backgrounds, and career paths, and we encourage nontraditional candidates to apply.
Associate Conservator
Newberry Library
Regular Full Time

Salary Range:
$51,500.00 To 51,500.00 Annually
Interested candidates should attach a cover letter and resume, both as PDF documents, to their application in the Newberry Career Center. Applications sent without both a resume and cover letter will not be considered. To be considered for this role, applicants must be authorized to work in the United States without sponsorship.
The Newberry collection—some 1.6 million books, 600,000 maps, and 5 million manuscript pages—is a portal to more than six centuries of human history, from the Middle Ages to the present. We connect researchers and visitors with our collection in the Newberry’s reading rooms, exhibition galleries, program spaces, classrooms, and online digital resources.
Since its founding in 1887, the Newberry has remained dedicated to deepening our collective understanding of ourselves and the world around us. As individuals engage with Newberry collections and staff, they discover stories that bridge the past and present and illuminate the human condition.
The Newberry’s community of discovery is driven by a shared commitment to promoting research, inspiring learning, and using inquiry across the humanities as a tool to engage critically in a vibrant democratic society.
Reporting to the Director of Conservation Services, the Associate Conservator assists with identifying preservation priorities and performing treatment and rehousing of Newberry Library collection materials and assists the Director with coordinating general and special collections conservation workflows, conservation initiatives and other departmental activities.
In consultation with Director of Conservation Services, curators, and Reader Services staff, identifies conservation needs and performs and documents treatments on Newberry Library collection materials, which include a broad range of materials, such as books, archival documents, maps, manuscripts on paper and parchment, photographs and other materials.
Assists in planning and coordinating treatment workflows and preservation priorities; Assesses new acquisitions and collections for rehousing and treatment needs; Maintains disaster preparedness materials and information, and coordinates disaster preparedness training programs; Participates in loan activities, including serving as a courier; Participates in training department staff and volunteers in conservation and preservation activities; Trains and educates Newberry staff in the care and handling of materials; Monitors statistics for conservation workflow; Coordinates small-scale commercial library binding needs, as appropriate; Assists with surveying materials for grant proposals and conservation projects; Assists in managing and implementing environmental and pest monitoring programs; Participates in producing reports and statistics, and database management; Assists in monitoring conservation equipment and material supply needs; Participates in library committees; Participates in tours of the department and other forms of outreach; Stays informed of current research and developments in conservation, preservation, and related fields, and; Performs other tasks or activities needed for the achievement of departmental goals;
  • Graduate degree in the conservation of books and paper, or equivalent combination of training and experience.
  • Minimum five years of conservation experience in a museum or rare book library setting.
  • Extensive knowledge of paper-based works, including book history and structure.
  • Excellent hand skills and understanding of conservation theory, practice, and treatments for library and archival materials including books, paper, maps, bound manuscripts on paper and parchment, and photographs.
  • Demonstrated ability to work independently, collaboratively, and productively in a dynamic environment.
  • Demonstrated record of continued education in the field.
  • Demonstrated ability using productivity software including spreadsheets and databases.
  • Excellent written, oral, and interpersonal communication skills.
  • Excellent organizational skills and the ability to meet strict deadlines PHYSICAL REQUIREMENTS: Manual dexterity of hands and fingers to manipulate complex and delicate equipment with precision and accuracy. Physical ability to stand for multiple hours per day and to lift up to 50 pounds occasionally.
This is a full-time, exempt position, working 35 hours per week, with normal hours generally from 9:00 AM-5:00 PM, Monday to Friday. The incumbent may work evening and weekend hours, as needed. While remote work is possible, the incumbent will work primarily onsite.
The Newberry offers a comprehensive benefits package including a variety of health, dental, and vision insurances; generous paid time off (vacation time, sick leave, personal days, and paid holidays); a 403(b) retirement plan with an employer match; employer-provided basic life and long-term disability insurance; paid parental leave; and much more.
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