There Is No Honor in Being Underpaid: Librarians Must Stop Settling for Salaries That Qualify Them for Public Aid. (Salaries)

By Kalan, Abby | American Libraries, January 2002 | Go to article overview

There Is No Honor in Being Underpaid: Librarians Must Stop Settling for Salaries That Qualify Them for Public Aid. (Salaries)


Kalan, Abby, American Libraries


MLS students are taught that librarians have an obligation to support the American Library Association. As members of ALA, they are told that they should join forces with information professionals across the country as advocates for libraries and literacy, as crusaders against censorship, and as crafters of new definitions for information and copyright. In return, ALA will support them by offering opportunities for professional development, networking, and career advancement.

After some time in the workforce, a practicing librarian begins to better understand ALA's mission: an organization that lobbies for libraries as institutions, but not for its members. In other words, ALA is an important lobbying organization, but it is not a professional association--at least not yet (see p. 56-58).

As a reference librarian in a busy suburban public library, I fill the roles of social worker, teacher, technician, and custodian. In professional terms my responsibilities include reference, collection management, readers' advisory, technical services, and computer maintenance and troubleshooting. I am imagined to be a fount of all great knowledge with the ability to access multiple outlets of information, finding answers at a moment's notice. The Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2000-2 001 Edition (www.bls.gov/oco/home.htm) says that I "have knowledge of a wide variety of scholarly and public information sources, and follow trends related to publishing, computers, and the media." The description goes on to say that as a reference librarian my work "involves analyzing users' needs to determine what information' is appropriate, and searching for, acquiring, and providing information."

In gritty reality, I work nights and weekends. My workstation is not what one would call ergonomically designed. The equipment I rely on suffers from overuse, therefore requiring continuous maintenance. And, I have learned to work without certain creature comforts, like timely bathroom breaks or drinking water at my desk.

Discounted dedication

For outstanding achievement in this role, the New Jersey Library Association determined a nonbinding minimum-salary guideline for the year 2001 of $34,765 (www.njla.org/salaries.html), a whopping 2.9% increase over the previous year. It doesn't take a financial wizard to understand that, taking into account the state's cost of living, I cannot afford either NJLA or ALA dues. There is some good news, however: According to the New Jersey Council on Affordable Housing, my family qualifies for low-income housing.

The income limits described by the council in May 2001 Council on Affordable Housing Newsletter (www.state.nj.us/dca/coah/2001newsletters/0501.pdf) states that the cited statistics are based on the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's Section 8 income limits. (NJLA's 2002 minimum-salary recommendation is $36,503, a 5% improvement over the 2001 recommendation.)

After reading the newsletter, which I then industriously placed in the vertical file under "New Jersey Housing," I performed an exercise to place the recommended 2001 NJLA salary in a broader context. Examining the "2001 Federal Poverty Guidelines for the 48 Contiguous States and the District of Columbia," as provided in the Federal Register: February 16,2001 (volume 66, number 33) (aspe.hhs.gov/poverty/01poverty.htm), I found that a family of four with a gross yearly income of $17,650, is identified as being at poverty level. So, the NJLA guidelines for 2001 were nearly twice the federal poverty level. How comfortable does that make me feel? How comfortable should that make the federal government feel? Not very, I would hope.

The means to making ends meet

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services fact sheet on children's medical insurance (www.hhs.gov/news/press/2001pres/200110305b.html), most states offer subsidized coverage (namely the State Children's Health Insurance Program created under Title XXI of the Social Security Act), for families with incomes of up to 200% of the poverty level. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

There Is No Honor in Being Underpaid: Librarians Must Stop Settling for Salaries That Qualify Them for Public Aid. (Salaries)
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.