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Public Services Instruction and Research Assistant, Houghton Library, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA


Houghton Library, Harvard’s world-class rare books and manuscripts library, is seeking a motivated library and information science graduate student to support our summer undergraduate fellowship program. Houghton is home to the world famous and the almost entirely unknown, the ancient and the contemporary, the enduring and the ephemeral. Papyrus fragments, Civil War board games, Black Panther posters, medieval books of hours, and theatrical costume designs all share room on our shelves.

The Instruction and Research Assistant will work with Houghton’s undergraduate summer fellowship program, a cohort of 7 students each working on an individual research project fueled by Houghton’s collections. Fellowship projects range from exhibitions to podcasts to works of art and fiction, all completed over a ten-week period from June 6 to August 12. The person in this role will work closely with the fellows’ supervisor on planning and administering the program, beginning in late spring. Along the way, the Instruction and Research Assistant will develop skills and experience in special collections librarianship, particularly primary source reference and teaching.

The Instruction and Research Assistant will also support Houghton’s Public Services Division in helping to welcome researchers into the library and making collections available to researchers in our busy reading room and for our many classes.


  • Assist with instruction preparation through activities like selecting collection material for workshops and creating resources for class use.
  • Participate in instruction sessions and research consultations.
  • Assist with logistics and coordination for workshops and other program events.
  • Greet and assist researchers in the use of the library, and explain library policies and procedures. Monitor researchers to ensure proper handling of collections in the reading room.
  • Additional duties in Houghton’s Public Services department may be possible depending on interest and availability.



  • A strong public services orientation and interest in developing reference and instruction skills
  • Experience with academic or creative research
  • Aptitude for detail, accuracy, and efficiency; good organizational skills


  • Interest in a career in archives and special collections work
  • Completion of courses in archives and special collections and/or reference


14 hours per week during the 9-5 workday; some flexibility on exact schedule


$18.00 – $20.00  / hour

How to Apply:

Please send resume and a brief cover letter to [email protected].