Library and Archive Conservator

This job has now expired
Lambeth Palace Road, London
£31,857 - £34,255 after probation

Our aim is for everyone in the National Church Institutions (NCIs) to feel that they belong and are valued for who they are and what they contribute. Together, our people contribute in different ways towards our common purpose, whichever NCI they work in and whatever their background.

Lambeth Palace Library, founded in 1610, is the historic library and record office of the Archbishop of Canterbury. Following the merger with the Church of England Record Centre in 2020 it is now the principal repository for the archives not only of the Archbishop of Canterbury but also of the National Church Institutions in London. Further details may be found on the Library’s website:

We are looking for a new team member to support the vision and mission of the Library through the preservation and conservation of the Library's collections for the benefit of readers and to make the collections accessible to all.

Using your wide experience in the conservation of library and archive collections, you will deliver high-quality conservation of the Library’s collections. Working closely with the Senior Conservator, you will also have an important role in coordinating the work of Collections Care colleagues to address the conservation and preservation needs of the collections, including exhibition facilitation.

To arrange an informal conversation about the role, please contact

Interviews will be held during the week of the 20th September 2021 in which you will need to prepare a portfolio of no more than five relevant projects and possibly present on a specific question.

In return we offer a unique environment with opportunities for continuous learning, generous annual leave for work life balance, season ticket loans and a range of benefits including discounted entry to attractions and what we feel is a market leading package when it comes to our pension scheme

The Role

  • Proactively and reactively conserve and preserve library and archive collections, including early illuminated manuscripts, printed books and maps and plans to the highest level of care. Showing proficiency in undertaking a diagnostic approach to simple to complex conservation assessments and treatment processes.
  • Working alongside the Senior Conservator on the development of the collections care workflow in relation to the library and archives strategic plan. This will also include helping to develop the Collections Care Handbook, which intends to connect to the Preservation Policy; and updating our system for documenting conservation.
  • Supervise the workflow and training needs of our Collections Care Assistants, which would include monitoring forward job plans and performance reviews. The role would require helping to start-up projects and assessing quality of work outcome, identifying support such as learning requirements and supplying training and development to the team and individuals; and possibly the mentoring team through professional accreditation.
  • Help provide advice and support through our preservation programme, including digitisation support, handling training, collection migrations, documentation systems, assessment surveys and disaster planning.
  • Assist the Senior Conservator in tracking studio development requirements, including adjusting spaces, researching and specifying new equipment and supplies; auditing and reviewing maintenance requirements, including arranging servicing of equipment.
  • Provide clear conservation and preservation guidance and advice to senior management and others when the Senior Conservator is unavailable.
  • Help co-ordinate with the exhibition conservator in preparing items for loans and exhibitions, including condition reporting and courier duties.
  • Communicate with visitors, including advocating the value of collection care, internally and externally, including arranging tours/groups and coordinating workshops for initiatives such as Lambeth Heritage week for staff, public, students and other conservation professionals.
  • Participating in, and where necessary delivering, role appropriate outreach and engagement activities to support the Library’s vision to be accessible to all.
  • Engaging with our readers and researchers to promote the use of the collections.
  • Improving role appropriate collections knowledge through regular continuing professional development activities.
  • Assist in the supervision of volunteers and placements.
  • Comply with health and safety procedures specific to collection care and COSHH.

The Requirements



  • An interest in, and enthusiasm for, the history and materiality of historical library and archive collections
  • Proven experience of proficiency in practical ‘hands-on’ conservation in book and/or paper and parchment conservation. This experience needs to show your ability to conserve a wide range of mainly Western historical book structures (bound collections), and/or demonstrates high-quality paper and parchment conservation skills. The conservation requirement is to prove the ability to apply diagnostic stabilisation (‘minimum to full’ intervention) treatments to rare and fragile items to a high ethical standard
  • A clear understanding and appreciation of the history of origin and provenance of bound and/or paper and parchment items, specifically rare and valuable material held in library and archive collections
  • A sound knowledge of materials science, including modes of deterioration within library and archive collections
  • Clear understanding of professional and technical ethical guidelines in the field of the conservation of cultural heritage


  • Post graduate experience or equivalent paid work experience in the conservation of library and archive collections, including parchment, paper and wax seals
  • Good communication skills, both oral and written
  • Strong IT skills and the ability to learn and work with various preservation software, including the ability to provide accurate measuring and data inputting
  • Clear understanding of health and safety issues related to collection care, including COSHH

Personal Attributes:

  • Able to work within a small specialist team and across teams
  • Ability to teach colleagues clearly and communicate effectively at all levels, to discuss and demonstrate complex conservation and preservation issues with a wide range of people.
  • Proven ability to effectively supervise people through projects and training, who are from a range of levels of collections care understanding
  • Able to work within given time frames and meet targets
  • Adaptable, flexible and open to new ideas
  • Ability to plan and manage projects, including estimating resources needed for a project and keeping clear and accurate records
  • Proven ability of managing competing demands (multi-tasking), as well as the need to work with discretion, and understand and appreciate NCIs business
  • Proven ability to use your own initiative and also to work as part of a team on special projects or routine tasks
  • Willingness to learn and discuss the importance of the collections in your care, and update knowledge and skills through research and training


  • An honours degree or equivalent vocational qualification in conservation and preservation or equivalent practical experience;
  • Accreditation or at least working towards this with the intention of achieving accreditation status


  • Knowledge of British history, with a knowledge of and interest in ecclesiastical history
  • Traditional bookbinding skills, including the ability to sew, cover and letter new cloth or leather bindings to specific Western book structure patterns
  • Proven skills and/or sound understanding of managing wider collection care programmes that cover preservation risk management, such as environmental monitoring and advising on control; handling and moving collections and disaster planning
  • Experience in the exhibitions and loans programme, including condition checking and setting-up displays
  • Understanding of Collection Management systems including CALM
  • Ability to teach others and support emerging professionals through conservation practice
  • Understanding of social media as well as a keenness to help maintain the library’s social media output, including finding ways to develop our profile within and outside the conservation community

We in the National Church Institutions support the mission and ministries of the Church all over England. We work with parishes, dioceses (regional offices), schools, other ministries and our partners at a national and international level.

Excellence, Respect, Integrity

We follow these three values in everything we do, whether we are of Christian faith, another faith or no faith. To learn more about working for National Church Institutions and our benefits, please click here

As a Disability Confident Leader, we actively look to attract, recruit and retain those of you who are disabled.

As a member of the Armed Forces Covenant, we welcome applications from those of you who have served in our Armed Forces and their families.

We are committed to being an equal opportunities employer and to ensuring that everyone, job applicants, customers and other people with whom we deal, are treated fairly and not subject to discrimination. We will do whatever is necessary to provide genuine equality of opportunity. We continuously review our policies and processes to support our aim to create a workforce as diverse as the nation the Church of England serves..