Archives and Reference Assistant

  • Volet de programme : Jeunesse Canada au travail pour une carrière vouée au patrimoine
  • Titre de l'emploi : Archives and Reference Assistant
  • Nom de l’organisme : RBSC
  • Lieu de l’emploi : Vancouver, Colombie-Britannique
  • Durée de l'emploi : 2017-09-05 à 2017-12-22 (20 semaines)
  • Salaire horaire : 22,60 $

Young Canada Works at Building Careers in Heritage (graduates)

Rare Books and Special Collections, University of British Columbia Library: Archives and Reference Assistant (20 week internship)

Rare Books and Special Collections (RBSC), at the University of British Columbia Library, houses significant collections of rare books, archival materials, historic maps, photographs, broadsides and pamphlets. RBSC supports primary research by scholars from UBC and around the world and our resources are also used extensively by members of the general public. We support teaching, research and learning across the UBC campus by working closely with a number of faculties on creating an acquisition program that is world-class and responsive to the need for new research and scholarship.

To join our dynamic team, we have an opening for an archives and reference assistant/intern to provide behind the scenes archival assistance and front of house reference/circulation services to our diverse research communities (faculty, students, staff and the public). This position will allow the intern to gain experience in all core archival functions, including appraisal, arrangement and description, preservation, and outreach.

As part of RBSC the archives and reference assistant/intern will:

• Assess unprocessed records to determine their informational and evidentiary values and make decisions as to what is to be retained and made accessible to researchers (archival appraisal)

• Arrange and describe archival fonds according to Canadian archival descriptive standards (the Rules for Archival Description)

• Physically process archival materials, including implementation of preventative preservation measures and work with the library's conservator when materials are at risk

• Provide in-person, electronic and over-the-phone reference services to patrons to assist them with navigating archival finding aids so they can learn how to identify materials they need to consult

• Work with archival description software, AtoM, to enter archival descriptions and name authority information.

• Complete general archival and reference duties as required

• Update and refine descriptive metadata from legacy database to current archival software

The expected archival tasks are high level and complex and are intended to allow the intern to put into practice the theory and methodology introduced in the classroom during their graduate archival programs in a robust archival organization.

The archives and reference assistant/intern is supervised by the RBSC archivist, who has over 19 years’ experience working in diverse archival organizations and extensive experience mentoring and training students and interns. The intern is encouraged to problem solve in consultation with RBSC professional staff and gain confidence in making their own decisions over the course of the internship. To facilitate this, the intern will receive regular positive and constructive feedback on their job performance as required as well as regular meetings with the supervisor to ensure projects are on-track.

One of RBSC’s fundamental goals is to provide primary resources for research to the university community and beyond and to care for the archival materials, maps and rare books in our collection to the highest professional standards. The intern is integral to helping us achieve this goal by making accessible unprocessed materials so they are available to researchers. The intern also plays an important role in providing high-level reference services to our users and ensuring effective access to the rare and special materials housed at RBSC.


Candidates should be recent graduates of a master's level archival degree program and enthusiastic about working in an academic library and archival setting. Previous archival work experience is an asset, but not required. Candidates must also meet Young Canada Works eligibility requirements as outlined on the YCW web-site ( YCW eligibility requirements for this position include graduating within 24 months of the position start date, be age 30 years or younger, and eligible to work in Canada.

Specific skills required:

• Confident in the use of the Rules for Archival Description [RAD], the Canadian archival descriptive standard

• Strong attention to detail and the ability to accurately follow instructions, guides and templates

• Strong time management skills and an efficient work ethic

• Basic preservation knowledge for a range of materials, including textual records, audio-visual materials and photographs

• Ability to appraise material for disposition, under guidance of the Archivist

• Ability to learn new technologies and databases such as AtoM descriptive software, or previous experience using AtoM

• Experience interacting with library patrons or in a customer service setting

• Working knowledge of, and experience with, word processing, spreadsheets and databases

At UBC equity and diversity are essential to academic excellence. An open and diverse community fosters the inclusion of voices that have been underrepresented or discouraged. We encourage applications from members of groups that have been marginalized on any grounds enumerated under the B.C. Human Rights Code, including sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, racialization, disability, political belief, religion, marital or family status, age, and/or status as a First Nation, Metis, Inuit, or Indigenous person.

Hours of work and availability requirements:

Start/End: October 2. 2017 to February 16, 2018 (20 weeks)

35 hours/week, M-F

Remuneration: $22.60/hour

How to apply: Please email resume and cover letter to by 5:00 pm PST on September 8, 2017. Please ensure you meet YCW eligibility requirements before applying (link under qualifications)

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