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Position Summary

The Senior Conservation Technician repairs materials primarily from circulating collections, creates custom enclosures for general and special collections, and manages the work of student assistants. Responsibilities also include lab management tasks, disaster planning and recovery support, and environmental monitoring program support.


Conservation and Custom Enclosures (75%)

  • Performs basic, intermediate, and advanced repairs primarily on circulating collections materials.
  • Constructs custom enclosures for library materials from circulating and special collections.
  • Prepares items for the shelf including binding pamphlets, making pockets, inserting tip-ins, creating and inserting replacement pages, ordering and applying shelf labels, etc.
  • Recognizes that the use and value of objects from different regions, cultures, and religions vary, and is sensitive to these issues when making treatment decisions and during handling. Acknowledges where gaps in understanding of these differences may exist, and strives to close those gaps through readings, workshops, classes, etc.
  • Follows established guidelines and procedures.

Workflow Management (10%)

  • Retrieves and triages materials according to established guidelines; returns completed items.
  • Makes daily assignments and provides training and technical assistance for student assistants; conducts quality assurance of student work.
  • Provides technical assistance to interns and volunteers.
  • Identifies materials for replacement and/or potential transfer to special collections.

Lab Management (5%)

  • Equipment and space management: Maintains specialized bookbinding and office equipment; organizes quarterly lab maintenance activities; submits and tracks facilities repair requests for the lab and vault spaces.
  • Lab and safety documentation: Keeps lab documentation updated including lab manual, SDS notebook, chemical hygiene plan, etc.; understands and follows safe laboratory practices and  demonstrates safe practices to staff and student assistants; tracks chemical inventories, ensures proper labeling on chemical containers, stays current on Duke University chemical lab requirements and training schedules, and reports required changes to department; organizes respirator fit testing through OESO for current and new employees.

Disaster Planning and Recovery/Environmental Monitoring (5%)

  • Participates on disaster response team in the event of a collections emergency.
  • Helps inventory, restock, and maintain disaster recovery supplies and equipment.
  • Assists the Department Head with environmental monitoring program; responds to reported issues as needed.

Departmental Support (5%)

Supervisory Responsibilities

  • Assists Head of Conservation Services Department in recruiting and supervising student assistants.


It is the expectation that all Duke University Libraries staff members will demonstrate exceptional workplace behaviors in the execution of their specific position responsibilities. These behaviors are customer focus, collaboration, creative problem solving, continuous learning, and a commitment to creating a culture of inclusion that values and respects diversity of perspective, background, and experience. 


Required: Bachelor’s degree or equivalent combination of relevant education and experience.


Required:  Two years of library experience to obtain a specialized knowledge of library systems and procedures; excellent interpersonal, oral and written communication skills; able to work independently and as a member of a team; high proficiency using computer based technology and ability to adapt to new technologies; ability to effectively organize and prioritize daily work; demonstrated commitment to providing outstanding customer services.



  • Prior experience working in an academic research library.
  • Prior student supervisory experience including training and quality control of student work.
  • Experience providing conservation or book repair services with evidence of progressively increasing acquisition of skills, knowledge, and responsibility.
  • Demonstrated manual dexterity required to perform assigned tasks with a high level of quality, accuracy, and productivity.
  • Demonstrated knowledge of current book and paper conservation and bookbinding techniques.
  • Demonstrated knowledge of the construction of a variety of custom enclosures including drop spine boxes, corrugated drop- and telescoping-boxes, phase boxes, four-flap boxes, encapsulation, etc.
  • Demonstrated knowledge of the repair of 19th to early 20th Century library materials including books bound in leather, paper, and/or cloth.
  • Ability to manage multiple projects and priorities simultaneously.

Working Conditions

  • Routinely moves library materials weighing up to 25 pounds
  • Normal office environment
  • Routinely works in an environment in which exposure to materials containing dust and mold is possible
  • Occasional weekend shifts required
  • Occasional travel required

These statements are intended to describe the general nature and level of work being performed by the employee in this position. They are not intended to be construed as an exhaustive list of all responsibilities, duties, and skills required of a person in this position. This description is subject to change at any time.


Salary and Benefits

Salary dependent on qualifications and experience; anticipated salary range $50,000-$60,000. Comprehensive benefits package includes 15 days vacation, 14 holidays, 12 days sick leave;   health, dental, disability and life insurance and support for professional development and training.


Since its founding in 1924, Duke University has grown into one of the most prestigious private universities in the world and its medical center ranks annually among the top in the nation. The Duke University Libraries are the shared center of the university's intellectual life, connecting people and ideas. The Libraries consist of the Perkins Library, Bostock Library, Rubenstein Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Lilly Library, and Music Library, and the library at the Duke Marine Laboratory in Beaufort. Duke's library holdings of 6.2 million volumes are among the largest of private universities in the United States.

Duke is a diverse community committed to the principles of excellence, fairness, and respect for all people. As part of this commitment, we actively value diversity in our workplace and learning environments as we seek to take advantage of the rich backgrounds and abilities of everyone. We believe that when we understand, celebrate, and tap into our uniqueness to creatively solve problems and address shared goals, our possibilities are limitless. Duke University Libraries value diversity of thought, perspective, experience, and background and are actively committed to a culture of inclusion and respect.

Duke's hometown is Durham, North Carolina, a city with vibrant research, medical and arts communities, and numerous shops, restaurants and theaters. Durham is located in the Research Triangle, a growing metropolitan area of more than one million people that provides a wide range of cultural, recreational and educational opportunities. The Triangle is conveniently located just a few hours from the mountains and the coast, offers a moderate climate, and has been ranked among the best places to live and to do business.

Duke offers a comprehensive benefit package which includes both traditional benefits such as health insurance, leave time and retirement, as well as wide ranging work/life and cultural benefits. Details can be found at:


An electronic resume, cover letter, and list of 3 references should be submitted at - Search for Requisition ID # 245970. Review of applications will begin immediately and will continue until the position is filled.

Applications which are missing any of the components listed above will not be reviewed.

Duke aspires to create a community built on collaboration, innovation, creativity, and belonging. Our collective success depends on the robust exchange of ideas-an exchange that is best when the rich diversity of our perspectives, backgrounds, and experiences flourishes. To achieve this exchange, it is essential that all members of the community feel secure and welcome, that the contributions of all individuals are respected, and that all voices are heard. All members of our community have a responsibility to uphold these values.

Duke University is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer committed to providing employment opportunity without regard to an individual’s age, color, disability, genetic information, gender, gender identity, national origin, race, religion, sexual orientation, or veteran status. The Duke University Libraries have a strong commitment to Affirmative Action and is actively seeking to increase the racial and ethnic diversity of our staff.