The Arts Department at Boston Public Library’s Central Library in Copley Square is responsible for the care of and access to unique and historically significant works of art, music, and documentary materials, including photographs, prints, drawings, sculpture, painting, musical scores, and related reference materials, spanning from the 15th century to the present day. The collections were assembled during the earliest days of the library to support the research needs of the Boston community by documenting local history and offering a view of the world outside its borders.
Strengths of the collections demonstrate the history and technology of printmaking and photography, book illustration, press photography, bound volumes of sheet music, and so much more. The mission of the Arts Department is to create public opportunities to discover and explore the collections by providing multiple forms of access to these materials. We uplift current holdings and select new collections that connect to and support the dynamic needs of our users, document the history of our time, and demonstrate the relevance and value of artistic practice in society. A selection of digitized holdings may be seen through BPL’s online portal: Digital Commonwealth.
Scope of Responsibility:
1. Participates in activities related to accessioning for all incoming materials (new and transferred) for the department.
2. Retrieves departmental materials for patron and staff requests. Assists in maintaining inventory control of each item retrieved from stacks, compares and matches tracking information, verifies reshelving of material, and checks shelves on a regular basis for misshelved items. Collects organizes, and files department tracking documentation.
3. Ensures that materials are refiled promptly and accurately after use. Responsible for the proper handling and security of rare, valuable, and fragile materials.
4. Performs regular sorting, shelving, straightening, and shelf-reading. Participates in departmental shifting and collection measurement, inventories, shelving of new material, and other stack maintenance work as assigned.
5. Prepares materials for delivery and transports trucks of materials between Central departments for reading room usage, digitization, exhibition, an d other purposes. Assists with the coordination/retrieval of off-site collections.
6. Prepares newly acquired materials for shelving by inserting bookplates, lettering, labeling, flags, etc.
7. Assists with rehousing of materials, printing of labels, and refoldering of items.
8. Assists with departmental clerical duties including maintaining statistics, compiling reports, and managing paper and electronic files.
9. Assists with coverage for Reception Desk as needed. Registers patrons and informs them of reading room policies and procedures. Answers general questions about the department and its collections.
10. Performs other related duties as required.