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Library Foundation of Los Angeles

Research Assistant

Employment type
19 days ago
Los Angeles

Position:     Research Assistant
Hours:    Flexible p/t. Average 10 hours/week from July 2021 to December 2022.
Pay:        $40/hour (fee for service contract)
Reports to:    Todd Lerew, Director of Special Projects
Deadline:     June 13, 2021

The part-time Research Assistant will be involved in the concept development phase of a major exhibition, publication and free public program series taking place at Los Angeles Public Library’s downtown Central Library and branch libraries across the city in 2024 as part of the Getty Foundation’s Pacific Standard Time (PST) initiative.

The theme for this round of PST is the intersection of art and science. Our project, entitled ‘No Prior Art’ and presented in partnership between the Library Foundation of Los Angeles (LFLA) and the LA Public Library (LAPL), takes off from the Central Library’s extensive patent resources, looking at the idea and process of invention as common ground amongst many artists and scientists. We are interested in documenting and celebrating diverse historic and contemporary inventors and inventions, across disciplines and from Southern California and beyond, as well as highlighting opportunities for creative invention freely available to all in our public libraries.

Research areas will include but are not limited to: patents issued to inventors based in Southern California; art-related patents, or artists who have received patents; inventors in underrepresented communities; holdings and resources at relevant institutions in preparation for research visits; and the fundamental nature of invention and creativity.

Primary Duties and Responsibilities

With the guidance and support of assigned LFLA and LAPL staff, tasks will include:

  • Conduct deep dive research into vast public and institutional archives--such as online patent databases, relevant art & tech museum collections, newspaper archives, and LAPL’s IP-related collections in the Science, Technology and Patents Department at Central Library--to identify trends and threads that connect to our research priority areas. The US Patent & Trademark Office recently issued the 11 millionth patent!
  • Produce a list of inventors, inventions, artists, scholars and popular writers, organizations and cultural institutions that relate to our outlined research areas, for further research or possible inclusion in the final exhibition, publication, and public programming.
  • Direct communication with possible partner institutions and collaborators.
  • Frequent check-in meetings with supervisor and regular reports (submitted monthly and as needed) on progress, relevant connections/discoveries, and new directions or assignments.
  • Additional duties as required.



  • Proficiency with word-processing, databases, and spreadsheets.
  • Proven ability to work across disciplines, solving problems and making connections.
  • Ability to organize, process and distill large amounts of information. 
  • Detail-oriented, reliable, and efficient.
  • Ability to work both independently and collaboratively.
  • Strong written communication skills.
  • Interest in the intersection of art and science and the process of invention.
  • Interest in curatorial/art historical work in a not-for-profit organization and at the public library.
  • Bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university preferred. An equivalent combination of education, work experience, and independent or non-traditional pursuits will be considered.
  • Ability to travel locally and commute to the downtown Central Library as needed.
  • Multi-lingual/multi-cultural background is desirable.


About Us 

The Library Foundation of Los Angeles (LFLA) provides critical support to the Los Angeles Public Library resulting in free programs, resources and services available to thousands of adults, children and youth in Los Angeles. We accomplish this mission through fundraising, advocacy and innovative programs that strengthen the Library and promote greater awareness of its valuable resources.

To apply

Submit résumé/CV, cover letter, 3 references, and an existing 3-5 page writing sample OR research project bibliography to: [email protected]