The Big News from the 2008 Library Salary & Job Survey

By Rebecca Miller

Solid overall gains complemented by stellar growth in some sectors

LJ's annual Placements & Salaries Survey, written by Stephanie Maatta, examines how each graduating class lands in the library and information science marketplace, with an eye toward identifying job trends and shifts in pay. Overall, the class of 2007 saw starting salaries 3.1% higher than the previous year's graduates, hitting an average starting salary of $42,361. 

The highs for the 2007 graduates, just released, include leaps for minority grads in the Southeast, stronger growth than average for academics in the Northeast, and extraordinary salaries garnered by University of Michigan graduates and those in the private sector. The lows include more temp positions, a longer job search, a dip in positions for children's librarians in public libraries, and a continued gender gap. 

Maatta explores the gender gap in detail, tapping the factors that enable men to earn more in a field dominated by women, including job choices, regional issues, and the impact of first careers. Exceptions, however, include government libraries, where women out earn men by 22%.

For the first time, Maatta examines how the so-called I-schools (information schools) compare to the so-called L-schools (llibrary schools), finding that a healthy majority of grads in both consider their roles to be "library" ones, though those who identify their jobs as "information" earned almost 20% more in average starting salaries. Among the I-school's, the University of Michigan placed graduates the most successfully, in terms of salary, winning an average salary of $55,869. A look at the top ten schools by average salary their graduates earn, however, shows that there is a good mix of both L and I on the uppper end of the payroll.

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