Bookbinding Careers

The highly skilled crafts men and women bookbinding graduates of NBSS have a wide a variety of careers, from bindery owners to conservators in the Widener Library Conservation Lab at Harvard.

A sample of jobs held by NBSS graduates:

•    End processor
•    Conservation technician
•    Project conservator
•    University faculty, Book Conservation
•    Owner, bindery
•    Book conservator
•    Bookbinder and box maker for private clients
•    Paper conservator

Institutions where our graduates have worked:

•    New England Historic Genealogical Society
•    Houghton Library, Harvard University
•    College and university book conservation laboratories
•    Winterthur/University of Delaware
•    Huntington Library, Los Angeles
•    Burns Library, Boston College
•    Boston Athenaeum
•    Frederick Law Olmstead site
•    Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
•    Newberry Library, Chicago
•    National Library of New Zealand, Wellington, NZ
•    Columbia University libraries


Job prospects for bookbinders

Below is a very general guide to employment conditions for bookbinders and conservators including job prospects, wages, and salaries.  It is difficult, however, to provide exact information because the job classifications defined by the US Department of Labor (DOL) do not exactly match the type of work or the standards of excellence of NBSS’s graduates.

There are two distinct DOL job classifications that approximate the work that bookbinding graduates do – Bookbinders and Conservators – which are sub-classifications of “Bookbinders and Bindery Workers” and “Museum Technicians and Conservators” respectively.

The US DOL’s definition of Bookbinders includes a wide range of skills, some performed mechanically. However, they recognize that

“A small number of bookbinders work in hand binderies. These highly skilled workers design original or special bindings for limited editions, or restore and rebind rare books. Some binders repair books and provide other specialized binding services to libraries.”

The DOL classifies Conservators this way,

“Conservators manage, care for, preserve, treat, and document works of art, artifacts, and specimens—work that may require substantial historical, scientific, and archaeological research. They use x rays, chemical testing, microscopes, special lights, and other laboratory equipment and techniques to examine objects and determine their condition and the appropriate method for preserving them. Conservators document their findings and treat items to minimize their deterioration or to restore them to their original state. Conservators usually specialize in a particular material or group of objects, such as documents and books, paintings, decorative arts, textiles, metals, or architectural material.”


The following information is a general overview of the labor market relative to NBSS’s Bookbinding graduates.The information is from the US Department of Labor, Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2010, Bookbinders and Museum Technicians and Conservators

In the US, Bookbinders held about 6,430 jobs in 2010, while Museum Technicians and Conservators held about 10,390.

The number of job openings for Bookbinders is expected to be 900 during the 2008-18 decade, and 2,800 for Museum Technicians and Conservators.

Salaries and Wages

Specific salaries are determined by many factors including education, training, years and type of experience, economic conditions, location, self-employed or employee, etc. The information below is a general guide to help understand the market.

The following information is from the US Department of Labor, Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2010, Bookbinders and Museum Technicians and Conservators
   Annual Salary, average  Hourly Wage, average
 Bookbinders  $33,840  $16.92
 Museum Technicians and Conservators  $37,310  $20.34

For more information, visit
Museum Technicians and Conservators:

The following information is from


   Annual Salary, average  Hourly Wage, average
 Works for a college or university  $47,468      $17.34
 Works for a non-profit organization  $44,675      $17.3
For additional information, visit