Northwestern University Library is offering an advanced post-graduate conservation fellowship for a two year appointment, September 1, 2012 – August 31, 2014. The conservation fellowship allows a conservation professional the opportunity to work on diverse special collections, including rare books, paper, and parchment documents. The conservation fellowship includes a research component ideally leading to publication or presentation at a national conference. The fellowship also offers the unique opportunity to visit and interact with conservators at other Chicago-area conservation labs that work with a broad range of material including paintings, works of art on paper, objects, textiles, and natural history specimens.
The conservation fellowship provides practical experience in a busy academic library conservation lab balancing treatment responsibilities with professional research activities. The Conservation Fellow will develop an understanding of the functions and responsibilities of a research library conservation lab working with special collections materials. There will be the opportunity to gain bench experience, develop skills in treatment decision making, and participate in the management of a complex workflow.
In addition, Northwestern’s unique holdings allow the possibility to gain experience in assessing and evaluating a variety of library and museum objects including paintings, ethnographic objects and textiles. Research topics will be developed in consultation with the Special Collections Conservator at the beginning of the fellowship and could include treatment techniques, materials identification, or historical studies. In addition, there is the potential for project work including needs assessment surveys and other preventive preservation activities.
Recent Conservation Fellowship projects have included the treatment and rehousing of a collection of 10th century parchment documents, the repair of a 19th century atlas, and the rebinding of a set of early 20th century photo albums from western Africa. The current Conservation Fellow’s research project focuses on identification and treatment of photoreprographic processes and will be presented at the American Institute for Conservation’s 2012 Annual Meeting. Anticipated projects for the 2012 Conservation Fellow will include repair of a collection of early 20th century scrapbooks related to the Brazilian coffee trade, a book illustrated by Joan Miró, and board reattachments on a 1669 volume of Katherine Philips’ poetry.
Working in the Preservation Department under the supervision of the Special Collections Conservator, the Conservation Fellow evaluates and treats special collections materials.
In consultation with librarians, curators, and archivists, the Conservation Fellow examines and develops treatment specifications for special collections materials. The Conservation Fellow performs a broad range of conservation treatments on rare books, manuscripts, prints, drawings, maps, and other unbound archival and special collections materials on paper and vellum. Treatment includes the preparation of condition and treatment reports with an appropriate level of photo documentation.
The Conservation Fellow conducts condition surveys and assists in the development of action plans for special collections.
The Conservation Fellow stays current with new developments in the field of library conservation and conducts research related to an area of interest identified at the beginning of the fellowship. Research should be of a quality that would result in a publishable paper or presentation at a national conference and would ideally include collaboration within Northwestern or with staff at one or more of the many Chicago-area conservation labs.
The Conservation Fellow may assist other professional staff in the department, including the Department Head, Preservation Librarian, and Conservation Librarian, with additional surveys, preservation education and outreach initiatives, exhibits-related projects, and disaster response initiatives.
Required: Master’s degree in library science or associated field, with an emphasis on conservation training, or equivalent combination of education and relevant experience. Knowledge of current conservation principles and practices, materials science, and the history of bookbinding and conservation. Demonstrated ability to perform high quality conservation treatments on special collections materials, primarily book and paper, and to communicate effectively about treatment options and decisions. Applicants will be asked to submit a portfolio of recent conservation treatments.
Preferred: Work experience in a recognized research library conservation program.
Salary: Annual stipend of $45,000. Northwestern University offers a comprehensive benefits plan, including health care and tuition benefits.
Send letter of application including current research interests and resume, including names of three references, to Scott W. Devine, Head of Preservation, Northwestern University Library, 1970 Campus Drive, Evanston, Illinois 60208-2300 or s-devine [at] northwestern [dot] edu
Review of applications will begin immediately and continue until position is filled. Interviews may be scheduled at the AIC 2012 Annual Conference. Northwestern University is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer. Employment eligibility verification required upon hire.