The Oregon Historical Society
  • Reference
  • Portland, OR, USA
  • $21.00 - $24.00
  • Hourly
  • Full Time

Come join the team of dedicated library and archival professionals at the Oregon Historical Society as a Reference Librarian in the newly renovated research library, with its many updated features created to benefit both researchers and staff. Help us fulfill the mission of the Oregon Historical Society to "... preserve our state's history and makes it accessible to everyone in ways that advance knowledge and inspire curiosity about all the people, places, and events that have shaped Oregon.".

The Reference Librarian will assist researchers of all skill levels and with wide-ranging interests in Oregon history, and provide access to the unique and varied collections that the OHS research library holds. They will interact with in-person researchers as well as those contacting the research library by phone and email. They will also create and deliver instruction and outreach projects to the general public, educators, and students in the use of library sources, and assist the Reference Services Manager in the operation of reference services.


The Reference Librarian provides reference and instructional services for a wide variety of researchers and learners served by the OHS research library. As a public-facing member of the library team, the Reference Librarian demonstrates exceptional interpersonal skills and creates a genuine, welcoming environment for all visitors. This position provides direct research assistance at the public reference desk and remote services for all library collections, conducts in-depth research, and creates and delivers instruction and programs to diverse audiences. This position works on-site and is part of the OHS collective bargaining unit.


  1. Provides reference and information assistance to external and internal research library users for all types and formats of library materials, including but not limited to maps, government documents, rare books, photographs, manuscripts, sound recordings, and audiovisual materials. Provides bibliographic instruction in research methods and electronic resources use, and remote reference services.
  2. Conducts in-depth research in all library collections.
  3. Develops and delivers instruction, outreach projects and materials, and public programs to inform students and the general public about the use of library resources, primary sources, and other topics of interest and relevance to the institutional mission and constituent needs and that support the promotion of the collections and library services.


  • Ensures that courteous, efficient, accurate, and knowledgeable assistance is provided to OHS Research Library users through public contact, telephone, written, and electronic means. Creates a genuine, welcoming environment for visitors of all cultural backgrounds, beliefs, abilities, identities, and orientations.
  • Assists Reference Services Manager in operation of the reference service, including: develop and organize print and online reference tools and materials, maintain and schedule service of specialized library equipment, and develop and implement policies and procedures.
  • Provides assistance in placing photo orders and other duplication services offered by the library. Produces reference scans and photocopies as needed.
  • Maintains reference collections including but not limited to books, serials, microfilm, government documents, digital, video & audio materials, and biography and subject files.
  • Reports progress and statistics to Reference Services Manager on a monthly and as-needed basis.
  • Serves on departmental and institution-wide committees, and contributes to social media and web content to promote the use of library collections and the understanding of Oregon history.
  • Supports institutional projects as directed by the Reference Services Manager and Library Director.
  • Conducts training for OHS staff in using the resources of the OHS Research Library.
  • Makes presentations at public conferences and other public venues, as needed.
  • Participates in professional development activities in order to maintain knowledge of current library practices and historical scholarship.
  • Guided by OHS's mission in daily work, and aspires to enact the Society's values of integrity, invitation, equity and inclusion, cultural humility, accessibility, and learning. Adheres to OHS policies and professional standards of the American Library Association and Society of American Archivists.
  • Maintains punctual, regular and predictable attendance.
  • Works collaboratively in a team environment with a spirit of cooperation.
  • Displays excellent communication skills including presentation, persuasion, and negotiation skills required in working with coworkers, visitors and volunteers and including the ability to communicate effectively and remain calm and courteous under pressure.
  • Respectfully takes direction from supervisor.
  • Performs other duties as assigned.


No supervisory responsibilities.


Ability to perform essential job duties with or without reasonable accommodation and without posing a direct threat to safety or health of employee or others. To perform this job successfully, an individual must be able to perform each essential duty satisfactorily. The requirements listed below are representative of the knowledge, skill, and/or ability required. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.


Master's degree in Library and Information Science, History, Archival Management, or related area or equivalent academic training and/or experience, with direct reference experience.

Knowledge of United States, Pacific Northwest, and Oregon history.

Knowledge of current principles and methods of archival and professional library service; current library organization; and current reference and special collections procedures, including preservation, and security.

Knowledge of U.S. copyright law as it pertains to library materials.

Knowledge of MARC cataloging and demonstrated facility with library catalogs, archival finding aids, and online reference resources required.

Demonstrated instruction and public speaking experience. Knowledge of information literacy concepts and teaching with primary sources. Demonstrated experience utilizing online learning and presentation tools.

Preferred education and experience includes:

  • Two years' direct reference experience in addition to education and training.
  • Knowledge of and experience with arrangement and description of archival materials.
  • Experience with genealogical research and in using online genealogical tools such as


Ability to read, analyze, and interpret general business periodicals, professional journals, technical procedures, or governmental regulations. Ability to write reports, business correspondence, and procedure manuals. Ability to effectively present information and respond to questions from groups of managers, clients, customers, and the general public. Ability to understand and apply highly complex policies and procedures.


Ability to calculate figures and amounts such as discounts, interest, commissions, proportions, percentages, area, circumference, and volume. Ability to apply concepts of basic algebra and geometry.


Job requires specialized computer job skills. Must be adept at using various applications including database, spreadsheet, report writing, word processing, presentation creation/editing, communicate by e-mail and use scheduling software. Must be adept at using various applications including Microsoft Office (Excel, Word, Outlook, Access, PowerPoint, etc.), specialized databases, and basic scanning software. Proficiency with using online searching techniques, and with resources such as with search engines, WorldCat, and archival finding aids required. Familiarity with social media formats.


Ability to solve practical problems and deal with a variety of concrete variables in situations where only limited standardization exists. Ability to interpret a variety of instructions furnished in written, oral, diagram, or schedule form.


Acceptable documents to establish identity and employment authorization and the ability to pass a background check. Valid driver's license.


The physical demands described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

While performing the duties of this job, the employee is regularly required to sit; use hands to finger, handle, or feel; and talk or hear. The employee frequently is required to reach with hands and arms. The employee is occasionally required to stand; walk; and stoop, kneel, crouch, or crawl. The employee must occasionally lift and/or move up to 50 pounds unassisted. Specific vision abilities required by this job include close vision, distance vision, color vision, depth perception, and ability to adjust focus.


The work environment characteristics described here are representative of those an employee encounters while performing the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

The noise level in the work environment is usually quiet. While performing the duties of this job, the employee is occasionally required to work near moving parts. The employee is occasionally exposed to fumes or airborne particles such as dust.

Must be willing and able to work a flex schedule to meet the demands of the position, including Saturdays.

This position will work as needed in the OHS facility in downtown Portland and the Gresham Support Facility (GSF) as assigned. Travel between the two facilities may occasionally be required.

The Oregon Historical Society
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