Robert Espinosa was born in Alamosa, Colorado. He attended Washington University in St. Louis and received a B.A. degree in Latin American Studies from the University of New Mexico. He studied book and paper conservation in New York City at the Center for Book Arts (1975 -- 1976) and worked as a Rare Book Conservator for the Library of Congress (1978 -- 1982). In 1982 he joined the faculty of the Harold B. Lee Library at Brigham Young University as Head of Conservation. He also served as the editor of the Book and Paper Group Annual and assistant editor of the Journal of the American Institute for Conservation.