Book Conservator

Preserve and repair old, historic, or damaged books.

Quick Stats

Salary Range
$19,000 – $46,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor

What do Book Conservators do?

Book Conservators take modern technology and apply it to historic, traditionally crafted books. As a Book Conservator, your work will most likely take you to university and state libraries, as well as museums and other conservation centers. You work with your hands, repairing and—more importantly—preventing damage with the use of special glues and adhesives. It’s important that these carefully crafted books are kept in good condition for future generations, and it’s up to the Book Conservator to make sure that happens.

You take a lot into account when making your repairs. You think about the history of the book, and the kind of handling it has endured and most likely will endure. This helps you decide what kind of materials to use. You should know what kind of paper you’re working with, and what kind of binding and repairs are suitable.

You also take into account the repairs and modifications that have already been made. Did they work? And what can you do to improve or preserve them? Finally, it’s important that you have an actual love for books.

The kind of work that you do is very important because if you don’t preserve these particular books, future generations may never get to see them. Not everything is online. Some people still prefer the feeling of a paper page between their fingertips. So you make sure the precious early copies of some of the most important works get to see another day and another reader.

Should I be a Book Conservator?

You should have a high school degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Team Player: You're able to listen, communicate, and work with tons of different people.
  • Reliable: You can always be counted on to do a good job.
  • Independent: You enjoy flying solo and doing things your own way.

  • How to become a Book Conservator

    Book Conservators generally graduate from high school and get on-the-job training. Think about earning a Certificate or Associate’s degree to increase your chances of finding a good job. Check out these schools offering Book Conservator-related education!
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