Head of Preservation and Conservation


Library, The New York Academy of Medicine


The New York Academy of Medicine advances solutions that promote the health and well-being of people in cities worldwide.

Established in 1847, The New York Academy of Medicine continues to address the health challenges facing New York City and the world’s rapidly growing urban populations. We accomplish this through our Institute for Urban Health, home of interdisciplinary research, evaluation, policy and program initiatives; our world class historical medical library and its public programming in history, the humanities and the arts; and our Fellows program, a network of more than 2,000 experts elected by their peers from across the professions affecting health. Our current priorities are healthy aging, disease prevention, and eliminating health disparities.

The Library of The New York Academy of Medicine dates from the Academy’s founding. It opened its collections to the general public in 1878, and remains the only specialized research library in New York City offering access to medical and health information to members of the public. The Library’s collections include over 500,000 volumes—including approximately 32,000 rare books, 275,000 portraits and illustrations, and around 400,000 pamphlets. The collection comprises primary and secondary materials in the history of medicine, public health, science, and other health-related disciplines, as well as an extensive reference collection. The Library supports a number of activities, including two residential research fellowships, an active Friends program, and professional development workshops and meetings. 

The Gladys Brooks Book and Paper Conservation Laboratory was established in 1982 to care for the collections of the Academy Library. In addition to its preservation and conservation mandate, the Lab plays an important role in training future generations of conservators through its internship and volunteer programs, and offers educational opportunities through professional workshops and lectures.

The Center for the History of Medicine and Public Health, established in 2012, is the Library’s programming arm, mounting an extensive lecture program in the history of medicine, as well as public workshops, reading groups, performances, and other events.

Summary and Description

The New York Academy of Medicine seeks qualified candidates for the permanent, full-time position of Head of Preservation and Conservation. Reporting to the Associate Director of the Library, the Head of Preservation and Conservation will provide leadership and direction for all preservation and conservation initiatives in the Library; oversee the work of staff in the Gladys Brooks Book and Paper Conservation Laboratory; and serve on the senior management team of the Library. 

Duties and Responsibilities

  • Oversee the full range of Library preservation and conservation efforts aimed at ensuring the longevity and usability of the collections at The New York Academy of Medicine: undertake strategic planning; set priorities; establish and implement preservation and conservation activities; oversee workflows; develop and implement policies and procedures; establish training programs; develop and manage budgets; and collect and report statistics on work and activities;  
  • Manage the three permanent employees in the Gladys Brooks Book and Paper Conservation Lab—a full-time book conservator and two part-time collections care assistants—as well as contract/grant conservators, interns, and volunteers;
  • Serve on the Library’s senior management team; lead and participate in Library working groups; represent the Library on Academy committees and task forces;
  • Seek out appropriate grant opportunities, and plan and write grant proposals to fund preservation and conservation projects;
  • Work with the Academy administration and particularly the facilities management team, oversee the Library’s disaster response and environmental monitoring programs and all other issues relating to the care of the collections;
  • Oversee the conservation assessment and physical preparation of materials for digitization, exhibition, and loan;
  • Plan and participate in outreach via social media, public tours, lectures, workshops, and other activities on preservation, conservation, and the history of the book;
  • Keep abreast of recent developments and maintain a professional presence in the field through a combination of publication, presentation, membership, and service in professional organizations;
  • Perform other duties as required.


  • Ability to lead a preservation or conservation program supporting rare books or special collections;
  • Knowledge of current preservation theory and practice, including knowledge of the nature of library and archival materials, as well as the factors leading to their degradation and deterioration, and knowledge of the history of books, bookbinding, and papermaking;
  • Experience working with a wide range of conservation and preservation treatments and interventions;
  • Ability to initiate and adapt to change, analyze and solve problems, be flexible, and work well collaboratively and collegially in a small, dynamic organizational setting, as well as independently;
  • Success in grant-writing;
  • Strong planning and organizational skills; excellent interpersonal, oral, and written communication skills; and demonstrated technology skills; 
  • Knowledge of digital preservation.


  • An MLS degree from an ALA-accredited library program with a focus on preservation and conservation; or a graduate degree in conservation with a specialization in books or paper; or an equivalent combination of experience, education, and training.
  • Eight to ten years’ experience working in preservation or conservation supporting the collections of a research library, archives, or similar institution, with three to five years of this experience in management. 

To Apply

Please forward cover letter and resume to hr@nyam.org. Please include Head of Preservation & Conservation in the subject line of the email.

The New York Academy of Medicine is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.