Book Conservator

Durham, United Kingdom
£26,715 - £32,817
25 Feb 2021
End of advertisement period
18 Mar 2021
Contract Type
Fixed Term
Full Time


Grade 6: - £26,715 - £32,817
Fixed Term - Full Time
Contract Duration: 3 years from start date
Contracted Hours per Week: 35
Closing Date: 18-Mar-2021, 7:59:00 AM 

Durham University is seeking an enthusiastic and highly motivated Book Conservator to join the Conservation Team based at Palace Green Library. The post holder will undertake the conservation of Bishop Cosin’s Library, one of the University’s most significant collections.

Bishop Cosin founded the library in 1669 making it one of the earliest public libraries in the north of England and in 1833 the library formed part of the newly established University. The collection itself is a Designated Collection of national and international importance and the purpose-built library building is listed and forms part of the Palace Green World Heritage Site.

The work of this post follows an extensive renovation project to the building with the aim of preserving the historic structure and interior whilst providing a safe and secure home for Cosin’s books.  This conservation project sits alongside an Arts Council England funded project with the aim of improving and promoting access.

The post holder will undertake a condition survey of the collection and work with the Senior Conservation and Collections Care Manager to establish a treatment plan before embarking on  the core element of this role;  the remedial conservation of the books. Some preventative conservation responsibilities will be required including making custom boxes and enclosures, IPM and environmental monitoring. Records of all treatments and investigations will be maintained and the post will involve assisting with the general administration of the Conservation Unit.

Candidates will

  • Be able to demonstrate up-to-date knowledge of best practice in the field of book conservation
  • Have knowledge, experience and proficiency in the remedial treatment of bound material; specifically conservation of paper, parchment and leather.
  • Hold a recognised Conservation qualification
  • Have strong decision making and planning skills with the ability to work independently
  • Demonstrate a commitment to continuing professional development

For informal enquiries please contact Tony King, Senior Collections Care and Conservation Manager, Anthony.g.king@durham.ac.uk, (0)191 334 2931

This position belongs to Durham University Job Family: Technical, Research and Teaching Services

OUR CHARACTERISTICS: We are welcoming, collegiate and inclusive. 

OUR VALUES: We are motivated, inquisitive, challenging, rigorous and innovative.

Durham University

Durham University is one of the world's top universities with strengths across the Arts and Humanities, Business, Sciences and Social Sciences. We are home to some of the most talented scholars and researchers from around the world who are tackling global issues and making a difference to people's lives. 

The University sits in a beautiful historic city where it shares ownership of a UNESCO World Heritage Site with Durham Cathedral, the greatest Romanesque building in Western Europe. A collegiate University, Durham recruits outstanding students from across the world and offers an unmatched wider student experience.

Durham University seeks to promote and maintain an inclusive and supportive environment for work and study that assists all members of our University community to reach their full potential. Diversity brings strength and we welcome applications from across the international, national and regional communities that we work with and serve.

It is expected that all staff within the University:

  • Contribute to our learning culture by engaging in mentoring, training and coaching.
  • Positively contribute to fostering a collegial environment; as well as demonstrating commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion.
  • Have due regard to Health and Safety requirements appropriate to grade and role.

Family key attributes

Roles in this family provide creative and analytical input to facilitate the delivery of world-class teaching, learning and research activities.

Overall family purpose

  • Support stakeholders to ensure the delivery of research, teaching and scholarly activities.
  • Align and tailor services to meet strategic and operational research, teaching and learning objectives.
  • Prepare and set-up equipment, apparatus and resources to ensure the successful delivery of scheduled academic activities.
  • Monitor, manage and maintain teaching, learning or research facilities, workshops, laboratories and experimental environments to ensure compliance with internal and external regulations.
  • Contribute guidance, advice and/or professional expertise to increase intellectual and creative capacity for world-class teaching and research outputs.
  • Actively participate with peers and specialists internally and externally to expand knowledge and practice.
  • Design and construct equipment, environments, tools, techniques and methodologies to meet research and learning objectives.
  • Adapt and develop equipment, techniques and methodologies to meet research and learning outputs and timescales.
  • Engage and network with internal and external specialists and experts to facilitate knowledge exchange and enhance research, teaching and learning activities.
  • Work collaboratively and network across the University with staff in other families to ensure a smooth, timely and high-quality delivery of service.

Link to key strategic plan

  • An economically sustainable approach to delivering technical and experimental support services across the University;
  • Support and facilitate world-leading research across all academic departments;
  • Support and facilitate research that has a positive impact on global, national and regional challenges and which benefits culture, society, health, the economy and the physical environment;
  • Support and facilitate a rewarding research environment and an exceptional research-led learning experience;
  • Support and facilitate programmes that offer intellectual challenge, cohesiveness and a strong sense of progression;
  • A stakeholder-focused orientation, offering satisfying careers to all staff;
  • Ensure that an increasingly diverse workforce is treated equally, fairly and with respect, and that all staff are demonstrably valued and actively engaged.

Recruiting to this post 

In order to be considered for interview, candidates must evidence each of the essential criteria required for the role in the person specification (including those listed in the section ‘Realising Your Potential Approach’).  

In some cases, the recruiting panel may also consider the desirable criteria, so we recommend you evidence all criteria in your application.  

Please note that some criteria will only be considered at interview stage.

How to apply 

We prefer to receive applications online.

Please note that in submitting your application Durham University will be processing your data. We would ask you to consider the relevant University Privacy Statement https://www.dur.ac.uk/ig/dp/privacy/pnjobapplicants/ which provides information on the collation, storing and use of data.

What you are required to submit

  1. A CV; 
  2. A covering letter which details your experience, strengths and potential in the requirements set out above;
  3. A document providing examples of how you satisfy both the Person Specification and the Realising Your Potential Approach criteria. 

Please ensure that you submit all documentation listed above or your application cannot proceed to the next stage.

Contact details 

For further information please contact; Tony King; anthony.g.king@durham.ac.uk or 07990 791663

At Durham University, our aim is to create an open and inclusive environment where everyone can reach their full potential and believe our staff should reflect the diversity of the global community in which we work. We welcome and encourage applications from members of groups who are under-represented in our work force including people with disabilities, women and black, Asian and minority ethnic communities.

We will notify you on the status of your application at various points throughout the selection process, via automated emails from our e-recruitment system. Please check your spam/junk folder periodically to ensure you receive all emails.

Person specification - skills, knowledge, qualifications and experience required

Essential Criteria:

  • Good oral and written communication skills.
  • Proven IT skills, including use of Microsoft Office.
  • Degree in a relevant subject
  • Professional conservation qualification
  • Professional accreditation, or demonstrable intention to pursue accreditation
  • Knowledge, experience and proficiency in book binding and book conservation
  • Evidence of continuing professional development.
  • Ability to solve problems and resolve issues, plan solutions and make pragmatic decisions.
  • Ability to set and achieve goals and to plan and prioritise workload.

Desirable Criteria:

  • Experience of working in a team.
  • Demonstrable ability to provide advice and guidance to a range of colleagues, placement students, volunteers or other trainees.

Realising Your Potential Approach

The Realising Your Potential Approach will clarify the behavioural indicators we expect for all staff across support services in the University. They help to develop a high quality, service led culture by providing a consistent approach to standards of performance. Along with the key responsibilities and duties of the post and the person specification, behavioural indicators are used to inform the recruitment and selection process, to clarify the requirements of Induction, form the basis of Probation Personal Development Plans and Annual Staff Reviews.  Further information in regard to the Realising Your Potential Approach are available here.  

DBS Requirement: Not Applicable.

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