Book restorer

A book restorer


Book restorers work to correct and treat books based on an evaluation of their aesthetic, historic and scientific characteristics. They determine the stability of the book and address the problems of chemical and physical deterioration of it.  

Other titles

The following job titles also refer to book restorer:

book repairer
book restorer and conservator
book conservator
master book restorer
rare book restorer
paper conservator

Minimum qualifications

A high school diploma is generally required to work as a book restorer.

ISCO skill level

ISCO skill level is defined as a function of the complexity and range of tasks and duties to be performed in an occupation. It is measured on a scale from 1 to 4, with 1 the lowest level and 4 the highest, by considering:

  • the nature of the work performed in an occupation in relation to the characteristic tasks and duties
  • the level of formal education required for competent performance of the tasks and duties involved and
  • the amount of informal on-the-job training and/or previous experience in a related occupation required for competent performance of these tasks and duties.

Book restorer is a Skill level 2 occupation.

Book restorer career path

Similar occupations

These occupations, although different, require a lot of knowledge and skills similar to book restorer.

furniture restorer
footwear factory warehouse operator
bindery operator
electronic musical instrument maker
machinery assembly coordinator

Long term prospects

These occupations require some skills and knowledge of book restorer. They also require other skills and knowledge, but at a higher ISCO skill level, meaning these occupations are accessible from a position of book restorer with a significant experience and/or extensive training.

contact centre supervisor
call centre supervisor
contact centre manager
tourist information centre manager
health and safety inspector

Essential knowledge and skills

Essential knowledge

This knowledge should be acquired through learning to fulfill the role of book restorer.

  • Museum databases: The tools and processes involved in working with museum databases.

Essential skills and competences

These skills are necessary for the role of book restorer.

  • Create solutions to problems: Solve problems which arise in planning, prioritising, organising, directing/facilitating action and evaluating performance. Use systematic processes of collecting, analysing, and synthesising information to evaluate current practice and generate new understandings about practice.
  • Ensure safety of exhibition: Ensure safety of exhibition environment and of artefacts by applying safety devices.
  • Assess conservation needs: Assess and list the needs for conservation/restoration, in relation to current use and planned future use.
  • Apply restoration techniques: Select and apply appropriate restoration techniques in order to achieve the required restoration goals. This encompasses preventive measures, remedial measures, restoration processes and management processes.
  • Evaluate restoration procedures: Evaluate the outcome of conservation and restoration procedures. Evaluate the degree of risk, success of treatment or activity and communicate the results.
  • Provide conservation advice: Formulating guidelines for object care, preservation and maintenance, and providing professional advice on possible restoration work to be done.
  • Restore art using scientific methods: Follow closely works of art and artifacts by using scientific tools such as x-rays and visual tools, to define the causes of deterioration. Analyse the possibility to restore these objects in a way that can take their original form or condition.
  • Use ICT resources to solve work related tasks: Ability to choose and use ICT resources in order to solve related tasks
  • Coordinate operational activities: Synchronise activities and responsibilities of the operational staff to ensure that the resources of an organisation are used most efficiently in pursuit of the specified objectives.
  • Select restoration activities: Determine restoration needs and requirements and plan the activities. Consider the desired results, the level of intervention required, evaluation of alternatives, constraints on actions, stakeholder demands, possible risks and future options.
  • Evaluate art quality: Correctly evaluate the quality of art objects, artefacts, photographs and documents.

Optional knowledge and skills

Optional knowledge

This knowledge is sometimes, but not always, required for the role of book restorer. However, mastering this knowledge allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

  • Adhesives: The categories, production and the chemical components of adhesives such as non-reactive adhesives (drying adhesives, pressure-sensitive adhesives, contact adhesives and hot adhesives) and reactive adhesives (multi-part adhesives, one-part adhesives).

Optional skills and competences

These skills and competences are sometimes, but not always, required for the role of book restorer. However, mastering these skills and competences allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

  • Stitch paper materials: Place the book or the material to be stitched under the needle, set the presser foot to the thickness of the book, and turn setscrews to adjust the length of the stitch. Push the material under the presser foot, activating the needle to sew through the length of the paper. Afterwards cut the threads connecting the material, and stack the obtained products.
  • Work in restoration team: Work along side fellow restorers to reverse the deterioration of a piece of art and to bring it back to its original state.
  • Oversee quality control: Monitor and assure the quality of the provided goods or services by overseeing that all the factors of the production meet quality requirements. Supervise product inspection and testing.
  • Respect cultural differences in the field of exhibition: Respect cultural differences when creating artistic concepts and exhibitions. Collaborate with international artists, curators, museums and sponsors.
  • Interact with an audience: Convey the artistic values of the art form(s). Respond to the reactions of your audience and involve them.
  • Perform project management: Manage and plan various resources, such as human resources, budget, deadline, results, and quality necessary for a specific project, and monitor the project’s progress in order to achieve a specific goal within a set time and budget.
  • Present reports: Display results, statistics and conclusions to an audience in a transparent and straightforward way.
  • Bind books: Assemble book components together by gluing endpapers to book bodies, sewing book spines, and attaching hard or soft covers. This may also include performing hand finishing operations such as grooving or lettering.

ISCO group and title

7323 – Print finishing and binding workers

  1. Book restorer – ESCO
  2. Featured image: By Laurent Vella – Lyon Municipal Archives, CC BY 4.0
Last updated on October 3, 2022

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