Research Historian – Alexandria Library – Alexandria VA

Research Historian

Full-Time/40 Hours a Week – Local History/Special Collections


The Alexandria Library is seeking an entry level archivist to assist in its Local History and Special Collections Branch.  The incumbent is responsible for processing and describing collections, assessing physical condition, reference assistance, digitization, and assisting with the Branch’s public programming and outreach efforts. With guidance from the Branch Manager, the incumbent will provide assistance with archival and digitization workflows.


  • Assists librarycustomers in-person, by phone and e-mail with inquiries, providing research assistance to the general public, genealogists, historians, students, City agencies, and local historical communities;
  • Assists customers in locating materials in the Library and operating technology including catalogs, databases, computers, photocopiers, and microfilm readers;
  • Prepares specialized bibliographies and displays for the public;
  • Assists with programming related to a variety of areas of interest to the Local History Special Collections Branch, such as National History Day, Alexandria history, and other events hosted by the Library or affiliated organizations.
  • Helps organize and inventory materials, on a bi-annual basis, in order to help maintain an accurate catalog of resources;
  • Indexes and updates the Vertical File for Notable Alexandrians;
  • Maintains a web page of reference resources on the Internet by reviewing and evaluating such sites;
  • Answers complex inquiries regarding Virginia and Alexandria history ;
  • Speaks to school classes, groups and organizations about local history or about the Library and Branch offerings;
  • Recommends changes which will increase the security and usage of Local History Special Collections materials;
  • Creates guides compliant with professional standards such as DACS and encodes guides using EAD/EAC;
  • Other duties as assigned.

Knowledge, Skills, Abilities and Experience:

  • General skills include an understanding of archival research, processing methodologies, and ethics combined with the ability to communicate clearly and effectively, both orally and in writing, with co-workers, employees of the City of Alexandria and a diverse clientele.
  • Reference skills include:
    • Thorough knowledge of Alexandria history or demonstrated ability to learn;
    • Thorough knowledge of the types of primary and secondary source materials relevant to the South, Alexandria and Virginia history;
    • Experience conducting historical research work involving research methodology;
    • Ability to assist researchers with locating archival materials in the Branch’s holdings or redirecting to relevant repositories;
    • Knowledge of state and national archival consortiums and how to search those sites;
    • Basic comprehension of US Copyright law, orphan works, and public domain works;
    • Ability to create articles or presentations relevant to various audiences such as archival colleagues, local historians, school children, or a general audience.
  • Description, Access, and Digitization skills include:
    • Experience processing and handling archival materials; or any equivalent combination of experience and training which provides the required knowledge, skills and abilities;
    • Knowledge of best practices for digital preservation and archives, including relevant software, standards (digitization and metadata), and applications (e.g. OAIS, FADGI, DACS, EAD, Dublin Core, METS/MODS) is preferred;
    • Knowledge of collection and digital asset management software programs utilized in archives, such as ArchiveSpace, Archivist’s Toolkit, Collective Access, CONTENTdm, Omeka, etc.;
    • Knowledge of library technology, databases, and descriptive standards such as AACR2 and RDA;
    • Ability to read handwriting ranging from the Colonial American period to the present;
    • Basic knowledge of digitization workflows for photographic and textual formats and the ability to identify a variety of photographic media;
  • Preservation & Conservation skills include:
    • Basic preservation training focused on handling procedures and identification of formats ranging from photographic to audio-visual and electronic materials;
    • Knowledge of Integrated Pest Management.


  • Master’s Degree in Library & Information Science from an ALA-accredited institution OR a Master’s Degree in History or Public History, preferably with a focus on archival science and historiography.
  • At least one year of experience in professional library, museum or archival work.
  • A strong understanding of southern history, especially the northern Virginia area and Alexandria, including the contributions of minority populations.


40 hours per week. Hours will be scheduled to meet the needs of the Alexandria Library and will include days, evenings and two Saturdays per month.


$49,096.84 – $75,130.12, depending on qualifications. Eligible for pro-rata annual and sick leave, health insurance, life insurance, disability insurance and retirement plans.

The City’s promotional policy states that an employee who is promoted will receive an 8.5% increase plus transition up to the closest step of the new grade, or placed at the minimum of the new grade, whichever is higher. An employee’s new promotional salary may not exceed the maximum salary of the new pay grade.


Alexandria Library, 717 Queen Street, Alexandria, VA 22314


Click here to apply  attaching one document containing a cover letter, resume and three (3) professional references, preferably supervisory.  Address Cover Letter to Ross Farley, HR Manager, 5005 Duke Street, Alexandria, VA  22304.  Contact with questions: 703-746-1799, or

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