Chemist (Preservation Scientist)

Washington, D.C
Nov 30, 2022
Dec 03, 2022
Full Time

Designs or directs the development of unique or leading-edge technology, instrumentation, or systems to meet specific scientific or mission requirements. Projects significantly influence agency or government programs. Serves as a technical expert within a specialized field of heritage science, e.g. chemistry, polymers, etc.

Develops methodology for separation and characterization of heritage materials, including degradation products formed in the aging of a variety of materials of which library collections are composed. Calibrates and repairs various instruments such as high pressure liquid chromatographs, gas chromatographs, ion chromatographs, mass spectrometers, lasers, microscopes, infrared and other spectroscopic instrumentation etc., that are routinely used to perform the necessary analyses. Sets up and operates new instruments.

Incumbent operates sophisticated laboratory instruments and equipment.

Plans projects to solve technical heritage science challenges for which definitions, methods, and/or data are highly incomplete, controversial or uncertain. Independently plans projects and provides guidance for lower level staff. Performs a literature search to find any applicable or related methods and information about the chemistry, mechanics and optical properties of the materials being studied. Develops new chemical analytical procedures. Establishes new criteria or develops new methods and techniques for solving a variety of chemical problems with unprecedented and obscure aspects. Has wide latitude for the exercise of independent judgment to perform work of unusual difficulty and responsibility.

Serves as a leading heritage scientist in chemical, physical or optical analysis and interpretation. Performs or directs analyses of samples that require technical expertise and/or use of advanced analytical instruments. Devises new or modified methods based on the chemical and physical properties of the materials involved and the availability of instruments to perform the analyses; devises further modifications of methods following their application, to correct problems or to further improve the methods.

Researches and develops new and original conservation techniques and procedures. Conducts original and novel research programs to determine properties and effects of a wide range of physical and chemical variables on the preservation of a variety of materials.

Serves as a Library of Congress technical authority on materials preservation, conservation, and standards guidelines and policies. Works with the staff of various offices to develop guidelines and policies relating to the preservation of paper-based, photographic, magnetic, optical, polymers, audio-visual and other materials in the collection of Library of Congress.


Conditions of Employment

Library of Congress employees are prohibited from using illegal drugs, including marijuana. The Library is part of the Federal Government and abides by federal law, so regardless of individual state or District of Columbia laws, marijuana use is illegal, considered criminal activity, and can affect your employment at the Library. In addition, past or current drug use and activities (e.g., selling or distributing) may deem you ineligible for employment.


Applicants must have had progressively responsible experience and training sufficient in scope and quality to furnish them with an acceptable level of the following knowledge, skills, and abilities to perform the duties of the position without more than normal supervision.

Knowledge of routine and state-of-the-art chemical, physical, optical and/or engineering methods of analysis.**

Ability to design, plan and implement scientific programs, projects or studies.**

Knowledge of the principles, concepts, and techniques of the material and/or heritage science discipline.**

Ability to prepare reports, advanced data analytics and data visualizations, and written studies.

Ability to communicate and interact with others

Knowledge of current preservation and conservation research in the field of cultural heritage or material science.**

Ability to communicate effectively other than in writing.

Additional information

Although it is the Library's policy to afford the maximum pay benefit to employees when setting rates of pay, a new appointee who has had no previous Federal service will generally be paid at step one of the grade.

The Library of Congress is an equal opportunity employer. Women, minorities, and persons with disabilities who meet eligibility requirements are strongly encouraged to apply.

Applicants must submit a complete application package that is received by the closing date of this announcement.

Appointment/retention is subject to a favorable evaluation of an appropriate personnel security/suitability investigation. For more information, please see: Vetting Process

This agency provides reasonable accommodation to applicants with disabilities. If you need a reasonable accommodation for any part of the application and hiring process, please email The decision on granting reasonable accommodation will be determined on a case-by-case basis.

Applicants with disabilities may be considered under special hiring procedures and must submit an appropriate certificate of eligibility when applying for this position. The proof or disability/certification may be issued by the State Vocational Rehabilitation Office, Disability Services or Career Services office of the applicant's college or university, or the Department of Veterans Affairs. The letter must verify that the applicant has a severe disability and must be dated within three years of the date of the application. Certification from health care providers are not accepted. For more information contact the Library's Office of EEO/Diversity Programs at 202-707-6024 or email FAILURE TO SUBMIT YOUR CERTIFICATION WILL CAUSE YOUR APPLICATION TO NOT BE CONSIDERED UNDER THE SELECTIVE PLACEMENT PROGRAM.

The Library of Congress is the national library of the United States and is part of the Legislative Branch of the Federal government. As such, all positions are in the excepted service.

The Library reserves the right to fill a lesser or greater number of vacancies indicated during the life of this vacancy announcement.

Initial permanent appointments to the Library of Congress require completion of a one-year probationary period. Probationary periods served at other Federal agencies do not count toward this requirement.

The Library of Congress may offer repayment for all or part of federally insured student loans. However, not all service units within the Library of Congress participates in the repayment of federally insured student loans. Therefore, determination to repay a federally insured student loan is subject to approval by the appropriate service unit.

A "Not to Exceed" (NTE) status is used to identify an appointment with a specific ending date. However, the Library has the right to separate a NTE employee at any time due to either performance issues or budget constraints.

Are you a veteran? Please indicate the type of veterans' preference you are claiming in your application materials and/or applicant profile and provide the appropriate supporting documentation to validate your claim. Those applying for 5-point preference must submit Member Copy 4 of your DD 214. Those applying for 10-point preference must fill out an SF-15 (click here for the form) and provide the required documentation listed on the back of the form. If required supporting documentation is not attached, Veterans' Preference will not be considered in the application process.