Harvard Library jobs open to public. Let’s not apply selectively. (AMENDED)

EDITED Again on March 21, 2012: As Alison Scott points out in the comments below, the Charles Warren Bibliographer for American History is obviously not a NEW position, but it is a vacant position. My intent here was to try to lend some support to those Harvard Library staff members who seem to have been put in the position of applying for their own job. My understanding is that many of the Harvard Library jobs that have now been opened to external applications are jobs that have been created through the restructuring process, and that in many cases they are very similar to jobs held by one or more current library employees. In other words, some current library staff are in the position of competing with colleagues, bosses, and subordinates for one of the restructured jobs because they don’t yet know if their own job is one of the ones that will be eliminated. I thought it would be nice if those folks didn’t also have to worry about competing with a bunch of external candidates as well. Clearly, I bungled it all around. I’m tempted to just delete the entire post, but that doesn’t seem very transparent. So, I leave it here, in all my misguided glory, with these edits attached. I was wrong, and I’m just going to “stand here in my wrongness.”

EDITED on March 15, 2012, 2:05 PST: Some dear colleagues at Harvard have kindly informed me that there are some jobs at Harvard Libraries that are actually new jobs, where a national search and applications from qualified external candidates would be awesome. An example is the Charles Warren Bibliographer for American History. So it would appear that my knee-jerk suggestion below is perhaps ill-advised. Wouldn’t be the first time I have been wrong, and that kinder and smarter colleagues have set me straight.

So, my amended suggestion would be to apply selectively if you so desire, and wish all of our colleagues at Harvard continued support and good luck in their own journeys.

On February 28, Harvard Libraries announced (middle of page, link behind Harvard authentication) that “new roles that provide opportunities to contribute to the design of the new Harvard Library were posted today, and preference will be given to internal candidates during the hiring process.” The positions are now open for external applications. I think this quick search on Higher Ed jobs captures most of them, but no guarantees.

Current Harvard Library staff are in the position of competing with their colleagues for a diminished number of jobs, creating a Lord of the Flies or Hunger Games kind of scenario in Cambridge. I suggest that the rest of us should show our support by not applying selectively. Sort of Not much at all like the Marriage Equality pledges, but without the rings.

I know this is merely symbolic on my part — I’m very happy and relatively secure (right, boss?) exactly where I am. But short of sending care packages and/or cheering for Harvard during March Madness, I’m not sure how else to show solidarity and support for our colleagues at Harvard.

For those of you who might be late to this story, see:

And just in case anyone thinks this is inappropriate, please realize I mean it as a gesture of support only, I don’t really mean to discourage anyone who wants to work at Harvard Libraries from applying. Also, please see the About Chris page, especially this part:

NOTE: The views and opinions in this blog are purely my own and do not represent the views, opinions or policies of my employer.

2 Responses to “Harvard Library jobs open to public. Let’s <del>not</del> apply selectively. (AMENDED)”


  1. 1 Alison Scott March 21, 2012 at 6:35 am

    Harvard has had a Charles Warren Bibliographer for American History for more than 50 years, most recently me (see http://reviews.libraryjournal.com/2012/01/blogs/eviews/adieu-to-alison-scott/, though this post does not spare my blushes), so the position announcement is not for a new position, but a vacant one.


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