Magazine article American Libraries

Librarians' Salaries: Smaller Increases This Year

Magazine article American Libraries

Librarians' Salaries: Smaller Increases This Year

Article excerpt


Between April 1997 and April 1998, the average salary for librarians increased 3.31% - a much lower percentage than the increase for comparable occupations reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics in the June 1998 Monthly Labor Review. A table in that source entitled "Employment Cost Index, Wages and Salaries by Occupation and Industry group," shows that civilian workers (i.e., private industry and state and local government, but excluding farm, household, and federal government workers), received an average 3.7% increase over the previous year.

The first table in this article shows the percentage change in mean of salaries paid to librarians in six different positions since 1990. After a healthy increase last year, the percentage change in mean of salaries paid is disappointingly low.

The ALA Survey of Librarian Salaries 1998 covers full-time professional positions held by persons with master's degrees from programs in library and information studies accredited by ALA in academic and public libraries that have at least two such persons on staff. It displays salaries for libraries in five type and size categories:

* public libraries serving populations of 25,000 to 99,999;

* public libraries serving populations of 100,000 or more;

* 2-year colleges;

* 4-year colleges;

* and universities.

For the six positions shown in the tables, and for beginning librarians, the 1998 ALA survey shows the first quartile, median, and third quartile for salaries paid in each category of library and in each region in addition to the mean and range (low and high).

The questionnaire for the ALA Survey of Librarian Salaries 1998 was mailed in April 1998to 1,267 randomly selected libraries. Usable responses were received from 927 libraries, 73.2% of those selected. For the six positions and for beginning librarians, results are presented in seven sets of tables - one table for each category of library, plus a summary table. On the second table in this article, the six positions are shown in rank order by mean of salaries paid in April 1998. This table also shows the dollar amount of change and the percentage of change from 1997 to 1998.



Salaries by region of the United States

In order to determine which region has the highest salaries, we analyzed the six positions and the five library size/type categories. When the region with the highest mean salary was marked for each position in each size/type category, West and Southwest was checked 48% of the time and North Atlantic was checked 37% of the time. Great Lakes and Plains was highest four times; Southeast was never highest. This pattern is a change from last year when North Atlantic was highest 71% of the time. The lowest mean salary was in the Southeast 95% of the time. This pattern is similar to what has been observed in all previous surveys in this series.

In considering the salary for a particular position, job seekers and library administrators would need more information than what is presented here. Both would want to know the salary distribution for a position in a particular type of library or in a particular geographic area.

The ALA Survey of Librarian Salaries 1998 provides this information and also includes an annotated list of compensation surveys providing information on library workers, the text of all ALA policies relating to salary issues, and a selected bibliography on compensation and benefits.


Racial and ethnic diversity among librarians

People often ask ALA, "What is the current racial/ethnic makeup of the librarian work force?" Data became available this summer to answer that question about academic, public, and school librarians. …

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