Job Listings

Head of University Archives Reference Services

Harvard University
Job Location:
Cambridge, 02138
Harvard Library


Job Summary

Although the position will remain posted until filled, applicants are strongly encouraged to apply by end of day on October 20, 2023. 

The Harvard University Archives (HUA) seeks an innovative, collaborative, and dynamic individual to manage the Harvard University Archives team responsible for providing reference services for the Harvard University Archives.  This position is a key, public-facing position, serving all sectors of the constituency of the University Archives: faculty, students, Harvard administration, alumni, outside scholars and peers in the Harvard Library, Harvard College Library, Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Harvard Graduate Schools and related programs at the University. The Harvard University Archives is the largest archives and manuscripts collection at Harvard, and the oldest and largest university archives in North America.

Reporting to the Director of Public Services for Archives and Special Collections, and in close consultation with the University Archivist, the Head of Harvard University Archives Reference Services has principal responsibility for overseeing the team responsible for providing reference services for the records and collections held by the Harvard University Archives, delivering front-line reference services for the institutional records, manuscript and image collections, born digital content, scholarly output, websites, historical materials, objects and research data that comprise the collections of the Harvard University Archives. 

Responsibilities encompass daily management of the University Archives physical Reading Room and reference desk, including supervision of research services for a wide variety of stakeholder communities and circulation of archival materials from the collections of the Harvard University Archives; and overseeing and executing judgement calls on provision of mediated access to administrative and academic records to authorized University staff and researchers.  Other responsibilities include managing remote reference services and providing access to mediated digital content; reviewing collections for access and coordinating the retrieval of materials in preparation for research visits by researchers and University staff; providing individualized research instruction for Harvard faculty, students, staff and administrators; and contributing to other HUA programmatic activities supporting the entire Harvard community including faculty, staff, administrators, students, alumni, scholars and the general public.

The ideal candidate must be able to handle - maturely and confidently - confidential University matters and materials and be cognizant of reputational risk for the University while simultaneously making archival materials as accessible as possible for researchers both inside and outside the University. In addition, a successful applicant to this position must have a demonstrated ability to communicate and work well with a wide range of individuals, including University administrators, faculty, and students at both undergraduate and graduate level, as well as with outside scholars and the general public. Sensitivity to and support for issues relating to Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, Belonging, and Anti-racism are imperative.

Houghton Library and Harvard University Archives are in the process of creating an integrated Public Services department that will provide research and teaching services for patrons of both units. The Head of University Archives References Services will be a key leader in this new unit and will participate actively in the creation of a holistic approach to public services activities, which may involve shifts in responsibilities over time. 

Position Description
  • Manages the work of the HUA reference services team; monitors workflow, quality, and productivity for the unit by setting goals and benchmarks and making adjustments as needed. Manages the HUA reading room shift schedule, providing reference desk coverage when needed; provides backup support for staff assisting researchers working in the Reading Room as needed.

  • Accesses information resources and identifies specific content, as needed, to respond to highly complex and sensitive research needs across the full range of research disciplines covered by the University Archives' collections. Maintains knowledge of authoritative information resources on the history of Harvard and its community.

  • Leads the development or enhancement of information tools to support HUA's research and reference activities. Identifies issues or problems with reference and information services, gathers requirements to address these issues, and liaises with stakeholders regarding incorporation of these requirements into new or enhanced reference and information services customized to HUA stakeholder needs and requirements.

  • Oversees team response to remote research inquiries and provides responses to highly complex research inquiries and/or document requests, reviewing collections for access and preparing for researcher visits.

  • Serves as a liaison for collaboration between the HUA and University offices, responding to requests for information and records access, and manages University office authorization protocols to access confidential or internal University records.

  • Supervises the development of research guides, applying current and emerging tools and technology. Oversees the preparation of and/or prepares instructions on how to locate, use and interpret widely used research resources, including web archives and born digital content.

  • Establishes and maintains policies and documentation for HUA's reading room and upholds Harvard University records policies for managing and providing access to University records, student records, and other confidential materials in the physical and virtual reading room.

  • Provides individualized research instruction to students and faculty and participates in instructional orientation sessions.

  • Hires, trains, supervises staff, temporary employees, and student workers.

  • Works with the Associate University Archivist for Community Engagement to keep information current about reference services, reading room and access policies, and the reading room availability on the Library website in other communication mediums.

  • Manages reading room equipment, reference collections, and documentation for researchers.

  • Contributes to curriculum and instructional support for courses at Harvard and beyond.

  • Develops and maintains proficiency as an expert in reference and research services by keeping abreast of current developments in the field and by participating in relevant professional activities.

Basic Qualifications
  • ALA accredited master's degree in library science/information science/archives or equivalent education with a concentration in archival studies or equivalent education or work experience.

  • Minimum of 7 years of professional experience providing reference and research services in archives or special collections.

  • Minimum three years supervisory/managerial experience in a library or archives setting.

Additional Qualifications and Skills
  • Demonstrated commitment to equity, diversity, inclusion, belonging, and anti-racism.

  • Demonstrated understanding of trends, principles, and practices in reference and research services.

  • Preference for professional experience in a university or college setting.

  • Experience with university, college and/or institutional archives is preferred.

  • Demonstrated discretion in handling confidential information.

  • Ability to work effectively and collegially in a complex and dynamic environment.

  • Ability to plan, manage, and complete multiple, concurrent projects, and communicate issues that affect plans, policies, and procedures in a timely fashion.

  • Strong analytical skills and demonstrated flexible problem-solving abilities.

  • Excellent interpersonal, oral, and written communication skills.

  • Experience providing access to born digital content and/or using virtual reading room instances.

  • Experience with archival collection management software, such as ArchivesSpace and Aeon.

  • Capacity to thrive in an environment of change.

  • General knowledge of issues in records management preferred.

Physical Requirements
  • Must be able to regularly lift 40 lb records storage boxes.  

  • This position requires bending, squatting, stretching, and climbing small step stools when needed to retrieve boxes. 

Working Conditions
  • This position will primarily work onsite at our campus in Cambridge. 

  • Work location is responsive and subject to change based on business needs.  

  • Requests for flexibility will be considered consistent with Harvard University flexwork policies. 

  •  Interacting with collections that may contain dust, mold, or other contaminants. 


We invite you to visit Harvard's Total Rewards website to learn more about our outstanding benefits package, which may include:

  • Paid Time Off: 3-4 weeks of accrued vacation time per year (3 weeks for support staff and 4 weeks for administrative/professional staff), 12 accrued sick days per year, 12.5 holidays plus a Winter Recess in December/January, 3 personal days per year (prorated based on date of hire), and up to 12 weeks of paid leave for new parents who are primary care givers.

  • Health and Welfare: Comprehensive medical, dental, and vision benefits, disability and life insurance programs, along with voluntary benefits. Most coverage begins as of your start date.

  • Work/Life and Wellness: Child and elder/adult care resources including on campus childcare centers, Employee Assistance Program, and wellness programs related to stress management, nutrition, meditation, and more.

  • Retirement: University-funded retirement plan with contributions from 5% to 15% of eligible compensation, based on age and earnings with full vesting after 3 years of service.

  • Tuition Assistance Program: Competitive program including $40 per class at the Harvard Extension School and reduced tuition through other participating Harvard graduate schools.

  • Tuition Reimbursement: Program that provides 75% to 90% reimbursement up to $5,250 per calendar year for eligible courses taken at other accredited institutions.

  • Professional Development: Programs and classes at little or no cost, including through the Harvard Center for Workplace Development and LinkedIn Learning.

  • Commuting and Transportation: Various commuter options handled through the Parking Office, including discounted parking, half-priced public transportation passes and pre-tax transit passes, biking benefits, and more.

  • Harvard Facilities Access, Discounts and Perks: Access to Harvard athletic and fitness facilities, libraries, campus events, credit union, and more, as well as discounts to various types of services (legal, financial, etc.) and cultural and leisure activities throughout metro-Boston.

Job Function

Department Office Location
USA - MA - Cambridge

Job Code
386058 Library Manager

Work Format


Salary Grade

Harvard University Archives

00 - Non Union, Exempt or Temporary

Time Status

Pre-Employment Screening
Criminal, Education, Identity

Commitment to Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging

Across the Harvard Library, our work is enriched by our diverse campus community. Our unique and wide-ranging abilities, experiences, and perspectives are integral to achieving Harvard University's mission of excellence in research, teaching, and learning for our patrons, our collections, and our workplace. We believe that an inclusive environment that cultivates and promotes understanding, respect, and collaboration across our diverse workforce enables our success.

We invite individuals with diverse backgrounds, experiences and abilities to be a part of our community of over 700 staff members. Our work with faculty, students and researchers to explore answers to intellectual questions, enduring and new, and to seek solutions to the world's most consequential problems, requires that we not only reflect, but also champion our diverse society.

Harvard Library inspires collaboration, reflection, experimentation, and discovery connecting users to related disciplines and to University-wide teaching resources. The Library engages users through curated discovery, digital collections, reimagined physical space, and specialized research support.  Today, Harvard Library's holdings range from traditional print collections to rapidly expanding access to digital resources. Harvard Library provides the University's faculty, students, and researchers-now and in the future-with exceptional experiences and comprehensive access to these materials.

Learn more about our contributions to the academic enterprise by visiting us at and about the Harvard University community at

The Harvard Library is a proud member of the Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL) Diversity Alliance.

EEO Statement
We are an equal opportunity employer and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability status, protected veteran status, gender identity, sexual orientation, pregnancy and pregnancy-related conditions, or any other characteristic protected by law.
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