Boston Public Library

700 Boylston Street
Boston, MA 02116

Date Posted:
June 12, 2020

Eastern Massachusetts



Curator of Music



Brief Job Description (essential functions of the job):

Position Overview

Under the direction of the Manager of the Arts, the Curator of Music is responsible for stewardship and management of the Boston Public Library’s large and diverse special collections related to the field of music, including manuscript and printed scores, first editions and rare volumes, song sheets, and performance editions. Responsibilities include promoting the use, care, and servicing of the library’s music special collections, including rare and unique print and manuscript material related to music; researching and interpreting materials; providing specialized and complex reference services; and developing the music collection in support of the library’s collecting strategy and mission.

Reports to

Manager of the Arts or delegate


Professional and support staff as assigned


Scope of Responsibility

  1. Develops, maintains, supervises, and actively promotes the Boston Public Library’s special collections and reference materials related to music.
  2. Performs difficult and complex reference and research services in person, on the phone, and by correspondence.
  3. Assists in planning and managing the services, operations, and staff of the Arts Department. Assumes administrative responsibility for the day-to-day operation of the department in the absence of the Department Head or other ranking staff member.
  4. Works with the Special Collections and Content Discovery teams to set priorities for the organization, access, servicing, digitization, and preservation of music special collections to facilitate their use. Advises on the development of a variety of bibliographic access applications, both print and electronic, to facilitate use of the collections by users throughout the City and the Commonwealth.
  5. Carries out continuing research on the Library’s music collection and works with the Content Discovery team to develop descriptions and cataloging material in the music collection, particularly rare or unique print and manuscript material.
  6. Provides expert interpretation and context to music-related special collections for exhibitions, public programs, publications, speaking engagements, web-based projects, and social media outlets.
  7. Participates in the development and implementation of innovative services that connect library users with music special collections, lowers hurdles to access for researchers, and facilitates the sharing of knowledge among users.
  8. Works with appropriate staff to identify, evaluate, and prioritize candidates for digitization initiatives and helps facilitate the use of digital music collections.
  9. Alternates with other staff members in supervising a public reading room in such a way as to maintain an atmosphere conducive to research while responsibly preserving and protecting materials. Instructs patrons in the proper handling of special collections materials related to music.
  10. Participates in stacks maintenance and inventory projects and conducts periodic conservation assessments in collaboration with conservation and preservation staff. Suggests items or special collections in need of conservation and makes recommendations for rehousing or reformatting of materials.
  11. Under the direction of the Manager of the Arts, oversees the selection, evaluation, and maintenance of music materials within established collecting areas and in alignment with the BPL’s Collection Development Policy. This includes recommending acquisitions, suggesting areas for future growth, and reviewing donations and gift proposals.
  12. Assists in the training of Special Collections staff and in the orientation of both staff and members of the public to the services of the department.
  13. Commits to keeping current in the best practices of the profession by taking advantage of training and development activities, by reading professional literature, and by participating in professional activities.
  14. Represents library at local and national conferences.
  15. Contributes as appropriate to the development of grant narratives, work plans, and budgets.
  16. Performs other related and comparable duties as assigned.
  17. Terms

    Union/Salary Plan/Grade: PSA/P- 3

    Hours per week: 35


Minimum Entrance Qualifications:


  • Ability to read music.
  • Reading knowledge of one or more foreign languages and the ability to deal with unfamiliar foreign languages preferred.
  • Strong working knowledge of relevant print and electronic music resources.
  • Strong working knowledge of the best practices for music collection arrangement and description, particularly rare or unique material.
  • Strong familiarity with collection management and inventory systems, library automation systems, digital object repository applications, and web delivery platforms for cultural heritage content.
  • Ability to work collaboratively and proactively with various advisory groups and levels of staff in a team environment.
  • Knowledge of specialized preservation and handling techniques for rare and fragile items related to the field.
  • Ability to carry out detailed procedures with accuracy.
  • Ability to plan and prioritize job responsibilities and tasks.
  • Demonstrated initiative and appropriate independent decision making skills.
  • Excellent oral, written, and interpersonal skills.
  • Communicates effectively and presents ideas clearly.
  • Ability to execute library policy.
  • Proficiency with Microsoft Outlook, Word, PowerPoint, and Excel.
  • Ability to think creatively and innovatively.



Bachelor’s degree from a recognized college or university and a master’s degree in Library Science from an ALA accredited library school, or a master’s degree in music history or musicology from an accredited college or university. Relevant subject knowledge and/or specialized training required. In exceptional circumstances, specialized training/experience may substitute all or part of the educational requirement.


Four years relevant experience from a library, museum, or other similar cultural heritage institution.


  1. Some evening and weekend hours.
  2. Ability to exercise good judgment and focus on detail as required by the job.
  3. Residency - Must be a resident of the City of Boston upon the first day of hire.
  4. CORI - Must successfully clear a Criminal Offenders Record Information check with the City of Boston.
How To Apply:
Please click here to apply for this position via the City of Boston Career Center Portal. For questions about this position, please email 
Apply by:
August 07, 2020
Salary Min 65,758.19 Salary Max 85,913.20
About this Organization:
A leading American historian has called the Boston Public Library (BPL) one of the five great libraries of the world. Over 3.5 million people visit the Boston Public Library every year to use its collection of twenty two million books, maps, manuscripts, photographs, prints, drawings and other items. Another eight million people connect with the BPL through its website to use its services and the growing collection of electronic resources, downloadable media and digitized rare books, maps and manuscripts.

Among its preeminent collections, the BPL holds a First Folio by William Shakespeare; original music scores by Mozart, Prokofiev and others; and the personal library of President John Adams. In addition, the BPL is home to the renowned Norman B. Leventhal Map Center, which includes over 200,000 historic maps and 5,000 atlases from all over the world. Over 10,000 programs and classes attract thousands of residents from across diverse neighborhoods and cultural groups. Award winning online and in-library homework assistance sessions, literacy classes, author programs and computer training sessions are also a popular draw.

The BPL is a department of the municipal government of Boston and a statutory charitable organization governed by a board of nine Trustees appointed by the Mayor.