Conservation Manager

Position Title: Conservation Manager
Department: John M. Kelly Library
Compensation: $60,000 – $65,000 depending on qualifications
Hours: 35 Hour Work Week
Terms: Full-time
Posting Date: 02-Mar-17
Closing Date: 23-Mar-17
Apply to:
Attention: Human Resources Officer
(please include position title in subject line of email when submitting resume and cover letter)
Applications should address the selection criteria with a letter of interest and curriculum vitae that includes the names and contact information for three references. Please submit these items as a single PDF with a file name that begins with applicant’s last name. Closing date is midnight on Thursday, March 23, 2017.



This position reports to the Chief Librarian and is responsible for establishing, maintaining, and leading the conservation and preservation program for the circulating, rare book, and archival collections of the John M. Kelly Library and the University of St. Michael’s College Archives.



The Kelly Library is the largest federated college library at the University of Toronto. It is also one of more than 40 libraries at the university. The Collection is strong in the humanities, including Catholic theology, the Middle Ages, book history and media, Celtic Studies, and English, French, Italian, Slavic and German literature.

The Kelly Library Archival Collections house the University of St. Michael’s College’s specialized collections. The archival holdings focus on the areas of Catholicism, Christianity, Christian spirituality, and Literature & Language. Highlights include the archives of spiritual writer Henri Nouwen (The Henri J.M. Nouwen Archives and Research Collection), material related to Jean Vanier (1928- ) and L’Arche including, the L’Arche Daybreak fonds, the Faith and Light fonds and more than 2000 tapes of talks given by Vanier and others in the L’Arche movement (L’Arche International/L’Arche Internationale fonds). Other significant collections include the fonds of Canadian writer Sheila Watson (1909-1998), the papers of Irish politician Patrick O’Neill (1875-1938), microfilm copies and originals of the papers of G.K. Chesterton, a 19th Century theatre collection with significant material by and about André Antoine, and the Zola Research Program fonds, including more than 5000 photocopies of letters to and from Émile Zola. These collections actively support the teaching, learning and research needs of USMC students and faculty from all disciplines, and the wider scholarly community. The holdings of the Archival Collections are complemented and supplemented by rare books housed in the Kelly Library Rare Book Collection, including first editions of G.K. Chesterton, John Henry Newman and the personal library of Sheila Watson and her husband and poet Wilfred Watson.


Reporting to the Chief Librarian, the incumbent performs duties related to the conservation and preservation of library materials, particularly book and paper conservation, using specialized techniques to restore, repair and conserve rare and precious material. The position is responsible for contributing to and carrying out conservation policies, implementing treatment procedures, assessing, evaluating, and prioritizing items for treatment. Maintains and monitors proper storage and handling of materials. Ensures adherence to rules for the access to and use of rare materials. Acts as resource person and instructs others.


  1. Oversees the daily operations of the conservation studio (newly built 1,032 square foot studio, ready for use March 13, 2017);
  2. Develops and implements policies for internal staff use of the conservation studio;
  3. Working closely with the Chief Librarian and staff from Finance, assists in the development and implementation of a business model for the conservation studio for rental use and for repairing/restoring materials from external institutions;
  4. Uses specialized techniques to repair, bind, clean and preserve materials, including leather, cloth and paper;
  5. Conducts all aspects of book and paper conservation;
  6. Determines and executes appropriate physical treatment of items, assessing and evaluating materials to determine whether repair work can be completed internally or requires an external expert;
  7. Maintains and monitors proper storage and handling of materials;
  8. Manages adherence to applicable health and safety regulations and guidelines in the studio space.
  9. Acts as resource person, resolving problems, providing information, and instructing others on matters related to conservation, preservation, handling & display of library materials, including digitization plans;
  10. Assesses and monitors collections and their physical spaces;
  11. Prepares and delivers presentations about the Library’s Conservation activities;
  12. Maintains close working relationships with the special collections staff;
  13. Assists with the Exhibit Program, advising on best practices for access and exhibits and assisting in mounting physical materials for exhibitions;
  14. Manages and trains staff including full-time and part-time staff members, students, volunteers and other assistants;
  15. Use performance management techniques to monitor and demonstrate achievement of agreed service levels and to lead on improvement;
  16. Maintains Kelly Library Disaster Plan for the collections and provides leadership during emergency or disaster situations and disaster preparedness activities;
  17. Establishes and maintains a record-keeping system;
  18. Maintains supplies and equipment for conservation and preservation;
  19. Develops and maintains efficient workflow patterns;
  20. Documents in writing and with photographs the current condition of rare and intrinsically valuable material;
  21. Responsible for own professional development and is active at the regional and local levels; keeps up-to-date on state of the art practices and new developments;
  22. Performs other conservation and preservation functions as required.



General Qualifications:

  • Master’s degree in Conservation from a recognized university or college.
  • Excellent written, verbal and presentation communication skills
  • Technical and ethical knowledge of conservation issues relating to the conservation of books and paper;
  • Adaptable, flexible, and able to work with a team;
  • Minimum of 1 year supervisory experience.

Experience Requirements:

  • Experience working in an academic environment;
  • Minimum of three years’ experience with book and paper conservation work post degree;
  • Experience working with a wide variety of staff and faculty.

Physical Requirements:

  • Excellent hand-eye coordination and manual dexterity;
  • Able to work standing up for many hours;
  • Able to operate light machinery (board shear, backing press, standing press);
  • Able to lift and carry moderate (12 kilos) weight;
  • Must wear personal protective equipment (PPE) when required.


We thank all applicants for their interest. Only those considered for an interview will be contacted.


All qualified candidates are encouraged to apply; however, Canadians and permanent residents will be given priority. The University of St. Michael’s College is committed to equity in employment and diversity. If you require accessibility accommodation, please contact the Human Resources Officer at 416-926-7118 or