Library Salaries and Jobs: Overview

By Stephanie Maatta

A healthy outlook is marked by longer job searches and more part-time positions Library Jobs: Average Starting SalaryDespite a difficult economy and tightening budgets, both jobs and salaries rose for 2007 grads. Echoing the previous year's growth, reported annual salaries increased approximately 3.1%, from $41,014 in 2006 to $42,361. The picture was most positive for graduates in the Southeast, whose average annual starting salary surged past the $40,000 barrier that graduates there have been struggling to reach, increasing to $41,579, a significant gain of 8.2%. Minority graduates who found jobs in the Southeast also reported a reversal of fortunes, with average annual starting salaries up by 16.2% to $46,093, after falling to $39,674 in 2006.

In other highlights, academic libraries in the Northeast contributed to the improved job scene, with 11.8% more graduates hired and salaries up approximately 5.5% to $41,340. School library media specialists experienced higher placement rates in almost all regions of the United States and at worst held steady from the previous year, with commensurate salaries approximately 5.6% higher than in 2006.

Average Starting Salary for Librarians

There are many more positive aspects to note, with minorities and men faring even better than the 3.1% average overall rise in salaries, at 5.5% and 4.4% growth, respectively. The tremendous jump in salaries for new hires in the Southeast helped propel the overall average upward, with an additional boost from the extraordinarily high salaries garnered by the graduates of the University of Michigan (averaging $55,869, almost 32% above the rest). With the exception of the combined Canadian and international reporting, regional salaries across the board topped the $40,000 level, compared to 2006, when salaries in the Southeast, Midwest, and Southwest remained in the high $30,000s. Regionally, salary growth in the Northeast and in the Southwest was slightly lower than the average but nonetheless up from previous years. One real surprise was substantial growth in the number of graduates accepting professional positions as archivists. Compared with other types of jobs, archival placements comprise about 4.3% of the reported staffing. However, this was a 22% increase from the previous year. Archivists also experienced a 14.4% bump up in salary, to $40,286.

Nonetheless, 2007 was not without challenges. For a second year in a row, nonprofessional and temporary positions increased, hinting at the struggles many library systems face in maintaining high levels of service with fewer resources and personnel. The job search was a little longer and a little harder for many graduates, and reports indicate a continued rise in part-time positions.

Library Jobs for Graduates

Fewer responses from LIS graduates were received for 2007, though the response rate continues to fluctuate around 33%; over the last several survey periods it ranged from 30% to 40%. Of the approximate 5300 reported graduates, 1,768 responded. This has implications for measuring some placements, but overall percentages were consistent with previous years.

Future prospects
The LIS Class of 2007 experienced both tremendous opportunities and disappointments as they sought jobs in a slowing economic environment. Nationwide, library and information organizations suffered from loss of revenue in property taxes and state funding, corporate slowdowns, and reduced spending. For some, this meant lower salaries, longer job searches, and temporary posts while waiting for permanent employment. On the flip side, salaries in the Southeast surged upward, and placements in many types of agencies around the nation increased. The gender gap widened, but women experienced solid growth in salaries in the Southeast and the Southwest and significant in-roads in government libraries. All indications from the graduates and the programs responding are that the LIS profession continues to be viable, even healthy, and forward looking.

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