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The University of Minnesota Libraries is hiring a Library Assistant 3 to work in the Wangensteen Historical Library of Biology and Medicine.

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The University of Minnesota Libraries is hiring a Library Assistant 3 to work in the Wangensteen Historical Library of Biology and Medicine (WHL).

The WHL curators and staff work closely with faculty and students in the Academic Health Sciences and the Program in the History of Medicine among others to inspire broad and creative use of those collections among existing and as-yet untapped audiences. The WHL also welcomes visiting scholars and other non-affiliated researchers from around the world.

We invite individuals with diverse backgrounds, experiences, and abilities to be a part of our team. The WHL and the University Libraries are a values-based organization with a strong commitment to inclusion, diversity, equity, and inclusion in every aspect of our work — across our spaces, services, collections, and workforce ( 

The WHL seeks an innovative, collaborative, and user-centered Public Services Supervisor as a member of a dynamic team within the WHL, as part of Health Sciences Libraries, and in coordination with Archives and Special Collections and other Libraries units across campus. Together with the Curator, Assistant Curator, and student staff, the Public Services Supervisor works collaboratively to provide convenient and timely access to library resources, materials, services and spaces; information, reference, and referral services; orderly collection maintenance, including development and supervision of new materials acquisition and shelving workflow; high impact teaching assistance; and special projects such as exhibit development. The Public Services Supervisor will manage the new library space and will supervise student staff and support user research needs. 

As part of a team, the Public Services Supervisor will receive close mentorship and training from the Curator and Assistant Curator to support the specialized skills and knowledge required for working with a special collection. The WHL values the unique perspectives and skills of each team member.

Work hours: The position will be a fixed position, meaning that the work will be completed onsite and on a regular schedule. 8:00am - 4:30 pm M-F, occasional evenings.

Salary Range: $42,307.20 - $43,992 DOQ

Minimum Qualifications

  • Five (5) years of relevant library or other relevant experience. Up to three (3) years of college education can be substituted for experience.
  • Demonstrated strong written communications skills (as evidenced by cover letter and resume).
  • Ability to work independently and in cooperation with colleagues and library users in an innovative, service-oriented, and collaborative environment.
  • Commitment to fostering diversity in the workplace.
  • Ability to work independently and collaboratively to complete multiple short-term tasks and long-term projects.
  • Must be able to lift 50 pounds, ascend and descend rolling warehouse ladders and push heavy carts in order to retrieve and shelve materials.

Preferred Qualifications

  • Experience supervising or managing staff.
  • Reading knowledge of a language represented in the WHL’s collection, Japanese or Chinese, Latin, French or German.
  • Educational and / or research background in the humanities or social sciences.
  • Facility with and / or willingness to learn and apply new software and technologies to support work, including graphic design, data collection and analysis, and online exhibits.
  • Experience coordinating events, teaching, or working with large groups.
  • Experience developing physical or virtual displays and exhibits; including exhibit research for physical and digital exhibits that interpret and integrate collections, and ability or willingness to learn how to write exhibit labels, design graphics, install exhibitions, and create artifact mounts for physical exhibits.

The Employer retains the right to change or assign other duties to this position.

Essential Functions

Supervisory 25%

  • Train and supervise 3+ student employees, assign work, monitor performance and activities, assist with problem solving.
  • Direct students in routine collection management activities (shelving, shifting, and straightening collection materials, and shelf-reading to ensure collection materials are properly placed).
  • Develop and deliver customized training for student staff in functions (e.g., customer service training, collection management); develop training tools and documentation using multiple methods of delivery (e.g., online, in-person).
  • Provide ongoing guidance and communication to ensure that students are aware of changes in policies and procedures.
  • Complete special projects as assigned.

Direct Public Service and Instruction 35%

  • Provide assistance to researchers, on site and remotely, including scheduling and supervision of the reading room and staffing reading room shifts.
  • Answer questions from users about the collection, policies and procedures, duplication, and reproduction and permission requests, and resources and services provided by the WHL and across the University Libraries. Make referrals as appropriate.
  • Actively engage with in-person and remote users to help them locate materials and advocate for their needs. Assist with citations, publication and copyright questions, and discovery of additional resources within and beyond the University Libraries.
  • Provide reference service, or referral, teach research methods, including searching the catalog, primary source literacy, interpretative skills, and effective use of physical and digital resources, including sophisticated database search techniques.
  • Teach or assist with providing direct in-person or remote instruction to undergraduate or graduate students for classes, orientation sessions, and other related educational activities, including setting up and taking down class materials, documenting class resources, assisting in selection of materials for classes, and preparing and reporting instructional statistics. 
  • Actively contribute to multiple stages of the exhibit development and implementation process. Work with curators to integrate artifacts and books from the collections into exhibitions. Identify objects, images, media, and other resources to be used in exhibition projects.
  • Actively participate in community building by creating relationships, planning and participating in public outreach and engagement opportunities, making resources accessible and eliminating barriers to access by engaging a diverse community of users and members of University and broader constituencies, occasionally off site and outside of typical hours.
  • Monitor the WHL email account and refer emails as needed.
  • Oversee, collect and maintain monthly use statistics;, user demographics, reference transactions, reading room visits, collection use, online interactions, and exhibit use. 
  • Complete special projects as assigned.

Facilities/Operations Coordination 20%

  • Use standard catalog system (ALMA) in collaboration with WHL staff, rare book cataloger, and Health Sciences Collection Coordinator to clarify and suggest updates to WHL collections documentation; develop skills using books book and artifact records to create retrieval lists and manage the hold shelf; and apply knowledge to acquisitions workflow ensuring that materials are appropriately and effectively processed.
  • Open/close collection vault, reading room, and staff offices during open hours Monday - Friday. Maintain and update standard security procedures used in the storage, usage, and movement of materials in these spaces.
  • Monitor relevant equipment and supplies, ordering and replacing items as needed.
  • Ensure prompt and accurate retrieval and shelving of collection materials, and plan for necessary workflow changes.
  • Identify preservation and conservation needs of collection items needing repair, cleaning, enclosures, or other conservation work.
  • Maintain an artifact database and train all users on standards and best practices.
  • Coordinate exhibit loans (borrowing/lending) following University Libraries policies and procedures.
  • Coordinate with Facilities Management about building needs in WHL.
  • Complete special projects as assigned.

Acquisition Processing 10%

  • Establish basic physical, administrative, and intellectual control of new materials using standard catalog system (ALMA) to create records that verify receipt of materials, facilitate invoice payment, document gifts, and add information to internal collections database.
  • Complete special projects as assigned.

Non-­Essential Functions 10%

  • Participate in committees or working groups, as related to skills and/or work assignments; collaborate with others to help plan, problem-solve, create work procedures, and improve workflows.
  • Help coordinate and facilitate the work of volunteers and interns as needed.
  • Assist in learning about new scholarly trends, practices and user needs, participate in development of resources and services to meet needs.
  • Assist with research for instruction, for physical and digital exhibits, for traditional and virtual programming and services that interpret and integrate collections into public engagement and outreach programming. With WHL staff and the special collections exhibit/design specialist, write exhibit labels, design graphics, install exhibitions, and create artifact mounts for physical exhibits.
  • In coordination with WHL staff, create relevant content and contribute to the WHL and University Libraries blog posts, communications, and social media platforms. Post to social media or coordinate regular postings by student staff.
  • Prepare marketing materials for public programming and digital communications to expand connections with public audiences including digital signage, website content, or other activities as needed.
  • Maintain the WHL’s online digital exhibitions (primarily created with ESRI Story Maps). Create new online exhibitions to highlight WHL collections.

About the Department

The Wangensteen Historical Library of Biology and Medicine (WHL) has recently moved into a new location centrally positioned adjacent to the Health Sciences Education Center (HSEC). As an anchor in this new space, WHL staff work together to advance teaching, learning, and research using an impressive collection of materials and objects that broadly represent health, medicine, and biological sciences from 1430 to 1945 to deepen understanding of the history of health and its impact on current practices. The new library space brings opportunities to experiment with programming and processes to further the reach of the library and shape its work into the future. 

How To Apply

Applications must be submitted online.  To be considered for this position, please visit the University of Minnesota employment website and search for Job ID 341608.

Written by

Jordan Wagaman
Communications Specialist & Graphic Designer