Librarians' Salaries: A New Approach

Article excerpt

SURVEY RESULTS INDICATE THE SAME LOW INCREASES AS IN PREVIOUS YEARS

Since 1982 (annually since 1988) ALA has collected and published in the ALA Survey of Librarian Salaries data on salaries paid to librarians in academic and public libraries. There have been minor changes over the years but, in general, the survey has concentrated on full-time staff with master's degrees from ALA-accredited programs who hold the positions of director, deputy/associate/assistant director, department head/branch head, reference/information librarian, cataloger and/or classifier, children and/or young adult services librarian, as well as beginning librarian.

Results are displayed in the report for each of the four regions of the United States and summarized by showing range, mean, median, first quartile, and third quartile.

Changes and expectations

In 1999, the number and type of libraries in the sample were the same as last year. In the questionnaire we retained the two senior administrative positions (director and deputy/associate/assistant director) but dropped other traditional job titles in favor of three categories that capture the level of responsibility staff have for the work of others: department head/coordinator/senior manager, manager/supervisor of support staff, and librarians who do not supervise.

This was done for several reasons: Respondents had complained that their job classification systems did not match our categories and that job titles used in libraries have changed greatly in recent years. The executive directors of ALA divisions interested in the survey suggested that the level of responsibility for the work of others was a major reason for salary differences.

For the 1999 survey, we expected that the average salary would increase as the level of responsibility increased, and we expected to capture a higher number of salaries because the categories were broader. The table summarizes the results.

There were 13,337 salaries this year (compared to 12,483 last year) and the average salary increases as you move up the table from the "librarian who does not supervise" category to director. In future years we will be able to compare each category from one year to the next and display the difference in dollars and percentages. For this year, we can only compare the mean of all salaries reported to us with the mean of salaries reported in 1998. The difference is an increase of 2.4%, which is less than the 3.3% average increase reported in the June 1999 Monthly Labor Review for comparable occupations by the U. …