Library Journal’s inaugural salary survey for U.S. librarians and paralibrarians may be the deepest look we’ve had at the range of salary potential. Much of the findings are old news: school librarians earn the highest salaries and public librarians earn the lowest salaries. Other findings are perhaps more surprising, such as women “make roughly 89% of what their male counterparts earn.”
The survey shows fairly large discrepancies between the major job functions and titles. Among all full-time public librarians surveyed, the median 2013 income was $47,446, with salaries of library directors ranging between $20,000-$310,000. Library Journal noted that compensation generally increases with the size of the library system, as does the number of staff with an MLIS degree. Here’s a breakdown of the major public library job categories and their median income:
- Assistant Library Director–$65,825
- Library Director—$59,392 (lower because Assistant Library Director is generally only at larger library systems)
- Library/Branch Manager–$55,383
- Electronic Resources/Digital Content Management–$52,000
- Technical Services/Systems–$52,000
- Collection Development/Acquisitions–$51,334
- Adult/Public Services–$47,000
- Children’s Services–$47,000
- Reference/Information Services–$43,000
- Youth Services–$40,947
- Teen/YA Services–$40,000
- Circulation/Access Services–$33,000
Although there has been much discussion on the value of the MLIS degree, the survey concluded that those holding the degree made nearly 50% more than those working in academic or public libraries without the degree. Also worth noting, although public libraries perennially deal with budget challenges, the average pay increase in 2013 was 2.9%. Those who find that statistic shocking are likely amongst the 27% of library staff who reported no pay raise at all.
Perhaps the best news is how satisfied public librarians are with their jobs. Seventy percent of public library workers are either “very satisfied” or “satisfied” with their jobs, with only 2% saying they’re “not at all satisfied” and 6% claiming to be “not too satisfied.” Of those who aren’t satisfied, the top causes are lack of advancement opportunities, low salary, and lack of recognition.
Library systems who simply cannot afford staff pay raises should note that Library Journal stressed that raises aren’t what librarians want most. Other things the study revealed would go a long way to increasing job satisfaction are as follows: full-time jobs with benefits (many respondents cited their frustration with only finding part-time work); security in their positions and the chance to grow within the organization; non-monetary recognition for good work; stronger relationships with management; and an end to increased workloads.
So, that’s a summary of what 3,210 librarians and paralibrarians reported for their 2013 compensation. How does your salary align with the averages? Are any of the findings particularly surprising?