Rare Book Fellowship


Yale Law Library Rare Book Fellowship

The Lillian Goldman Law Library has established this fellowship to train the next generation of rare book librarians to serve the growing number of special collections departments in academic law libraries.  The Rare Book Fellow will be trained in special collections librarianship including acquisitions, collection development, cataloging, reference services, exhibit preparation & design, bibliographic instruction, preservation, and digital projects. The Fellow will be charged with completing a major project involving our Kuttner Institute Library materials, focusing on medieval canon law.

Under the direction of the Rare Book Librarian, the Rare Book Fellow will spend time learning special collections librarianship with an emphasis on law material.  The Fellow will:  follow a curriculum designed by the Rare Book Librarian that includes a general orientation to Yale University, librarianship, and rare law book librarianship; gain experience in collection development and management, preservation, reference and outreach, exhibition planning, and cataloging rare books; contribute to ongoing digital initiatives; develop and complete a special project pertaining to the Kuttner Institute Library materials in consultation with the Rare Book Librarian; participate in professional activities, Law Library committees, policy discussions, and other library-wide activities.  The Fellow will be fully integrated into the Law Library’s professional staff. 


The Rare Book Fellowship will be open to those who have (or will have by Jan. 2015) a Master’s degree from an ALA-accredited program for library and information science (or foreign equivalent), and who are in the initial stages of a career as a librarian.  Candidates must have excellent written and oral communication skills, and must be able to work in a complex and changing environment with diverse staff and users. It is imperative that candidates have reading knowledge of Latin and a demonstrated interest in rare books. (Please note this is not an archivist position).

Preference will be given to candidates with knowledge of and/or experience working with canon law, legal history, and/or medieval history; preference will also be given to candidates with skills in the foreign languages most heavily represented in Yale Law Library special collections (Italian, German, French, Spanish, Dutch).

We invite you to discover the excitement, diversity, rewards and excellence of a career at Yale University. One of the country’s great workplaces, Yale University offers exciting opportunities for meaningful accomplishment and true growth.  The Rare Book Fellow will work for six months at a stipend of $4,500 per month, plus benefits including health insurance through membership in the Yale Health Plan. The Fellow will be given generous support for professional development.  More information can be found in our 2015 Yale Law Library Rare Book Fellowship Job Description (PDF).

The Rare Book Fellowship is a competitive fellowship.  Applications consisting of a cover letter summarizing the applicant’s qualifications and describing how this position will contribute to long-term career goals, CV or resume, and names and contact information of three (3) professional references should be sent electronically to Teresa Miguel-Stearns (teresa.miguel@yale.edu), Associate Law Librarian, no later than October 15, 2014.  There is no application form.  Please be sure to include “Rare Book Fellowship” in the e-mail subject and cover letter.  Offer is contingent upon successful completion of a background check. 


All external candidates for employment will be subject to pre-employment background screening for this position, which may include motor vehicle and credit checks based on the position description and job requirements. Internal candidates may be subject to a motor vehicle or credit check for this position based on the position description and job requirements. All offers are contingent on successful completion of the required background check. Please visit http://www.yale.edu/hronline/careers/screening/faqs.html for additional information on the background check requirements and process.

The Paskus-Danziger Rare Book Room

One of the nation’s premier collections of rare law books is housed in the Lillian Goldman Law Library’s Paskus-Danziger Rare Book Room.  Among its treasures is The William Blackstone Collection, the world’s largest collection of the published works of of the great English jurist, pictured below.      

The Rare Books Room is home to the Founder Collection, books formerly belonging to the founders of the Yale Law School, including Seth P. Staples (1776-1861), a New Haven lawyer, and his student Samuel J. Hitchcock (1786-1845).  The Paskus-Danziger Rare Book Room is also home to the Roman-Canon Law Collection of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York.

Michael Widener, Rare Book Librarian

The Goldman Library’s Rare Book Librarian is Michael Widener.  Michael came to Yale from Austin, Texas, where he was Rare Book Librarian at the Tarlton Law Library at the University of Texas.  In addition to his duties at the Yale Law School Mike is on the Faculty of the University of Virginia’s Rare Book School, where he teaches “Law Books: History & Connoisseurship.”

Here Mike gives a tour to a group of students from Italy.

Mike W. with students from Pisa

 A video presentation featuring Michael and the Paskus-Danziger Rare Book Room can be found here:  .