The bookbinder’s occupational profile combines craftsmanship and traditional techniques with up-to-date knowledge of materials and modern equipment. Even today, manual bookbinding involves creating books, pamphlets, slip cases, binders and many things besides.

The library has operated its own bindery ever since it was founded in 1959. Apprentices have been trained in this occupation since 1977. So far, a total of 22 apprentices have managed to complete their training; seven bookbinders and one master bookbinder are currently employed at TIB.

Due to the fact that TIB is simultaneously the German National Library of Science and Technology and the University Library, it offers trainees solid and varied apprenticeships.

The bindery’s principal task is to preserve and care for the library’s stock. In TIB’s case, the stock is large: after all, not only are we the largest library of technical and scientific literature and information in the world, as a University Library we also cater for students and teaching staff from all faculties at Leibniz Universität Hannover, for example, in the humanities and social sciences. Almost 9 million media units (including 5.5 million books) and some 49,000 journal subscriptions form the basis of services used by customers locally and all over the world.

Is a slip case required for valuable old stock? Is the much-used textbook falling apart and in need of rebinding? Are volumes of periodicals waiting to be bound into one volume? Then you'll be the one to contact. In the course of your apprenticeship, you'll learn all of the necessary production processes, including cutting and folding, stitching, glueing, creasing, boring and embossing. It goes without saying that material science is another element of the apprenticeship, and you'll also be familiarised with the different types of bookbinding machines Additional subjects such as occupational health and safety and environmental protection will be taught at vocational school.

In the second year of your apprenticeship, you'll take an interim examination to determine your state of knowledge. The final year of the apprenticeship concludes with training in machine tools followed by an examination. The apprenticeship is completed once you've passed the theoretical and practical journeyman’s examination.

In addition to classes at vocational school, LUH offers a block course at the start of the apprenticeship covering employment law and general educational aspects. Apprentices can also make use of the many training opportunities on offer – both at TIB and LUH. Courses range from health management, language and IT skills to opportunities for promoting personal development.


Academic requirements

  • Hauptschulabschluss (lower secondary school leaving certificate) with very good grades in German and Mathematics

Personal requirements

  • An interest in handicrafts and artistic talent
  • The power of spatial perception and a technical flair
  • The ability to concentrate and work carefully
  • Creativity
  • Physical endurance
  • Duration of apprenticeship
    The apprenticeship to become a bookbinder takes three years.
  • Learning venues
    The practical part is held at TIB’s bindery. The theoretical part is completed part-time at Johannes-Selenka-Schule in Braunschweig.
    This generally means: apprentices attend vocational school two days a week in the first year of training and one day a week in the second and third years of training.
  • Remuneration
    Remuneration during the apprenticeship is paid in accordance with the collective agreement of the German federal states

Bookbinders can pursue several training and qualification opportunities, for example:

  • Master bookbinder in craft occupations
  • Business economist in craft occupations
  • Restorer
  • Master tradesman/woman in industry in large book binderies
  • Master tradesman/woman in industry in paper processing
  • Paper technician
  • Paper processing engineer


Ines Thiele

Ines Latocki