ALA Special Presidential Task Force on Better Salaries and Pay Equity Final Report, June 2003


Previous reports to the Executive Board and Council and my presidential columns in American Libraries have highlighted the work of the ALA Better Salaries and Pay Equity Task Force, which I appointed as president-elect in 2001. This report provides a more detailed summary of activities, as the Task Force concludes its term at the close of the 2003 ALA Annual Conference. The Task Force efforts will form the basis for continuing work by the new ALA Allied Professional Association (APA) Salaries and Status of Library Workers Committee. (For future APA activities, consult

The mission of the Task Force was to provide librarians and library workers with the information, resources and tools to enable them to advocate and negotiate, individually or collectively, for improved compensation and pay equity. As a function of this mission, the Task Force embraced ongoing efforts to educate the American public about the value of librarians in the 21st Century and the need to compensate librarians for their vital roles as information specialists and defenders/guardians of our First Amendment rights and free access to information and resources.

The major goals of the Task Force were:

  • To gather and analyze currently available resources and research regarding the status and salaries of librarians and other library workers.
  • To encourage new research and the development of resources, tools and structures that will help librarians and library workers achieve pay equity and salaries comparable to their worth.
  • To emphasize a Campaign for America’s Librarians as a key part of the @your library and other public awareness/advocacy efforts. (Although the Campaign title emphasized librarians, the Task Force included support staff in its efforts to gain equitable pay for all library workers. My Campaign complemented the Campaign for America’s Libraries and built on the work of Past-President Kranich’s Committee on the Status of Librarians.)

The objective for the Task Force was to make the library profession’s case loudly, clearly, and effectively to the general public and to decision makers that:

  • Librarians have advanced, specialized degrees and are experts in the area of managing and making available information in an increasingly complex technological world.
  • Librarians are leaders. In adverse times, they are often in the “front lines” of their communities and campuses, defending our freedom of speech and equal access to information.
  • Library salaries should be commensurate with salaries of other professionals with equivalent educational credentials and levels of responsibility.


From November, 2001 through June 2003, the Task Force undertook the following activities:

  • received the 2002 World Book-ALA Goal Grant to carry out “The Campaign for America’s Librarians” through training and toolkit development to help library workers effectively advocate for increased status, better salaries, and pay equity
  • developed the “Advocating for Better Salaries and Pay Equity Toolkit” (three editions published, the latest in June 2003) (
  • held training sessions and other programs at ALA conferences in 2002-03
  • organized the MoneyTalks and Better Pay electronic discussion lists
  • contributed to a Task Force section on my presidential website at
  • published “Putting Pay First” by Michele Leber in April 1, 2003 Library Journal
  • supported salary-related programs and other activities by ALA chapters and affiliate groups
  • encouraged participation by members in public awareness activities during Equal Pay Day
  • coordinated working groups on advocacy training/toolkit, chapters and affiliates, grants and publications, outreach and partnerships, programs and special projects, publicity, resources/research, support staff, and unions.

I spoke to many state library associations and other groups to encourage local and state action on salary issues. (See section of my report on speaking engagements). In addition to American Libraries presidential columns for ALA members, I emphasized the need for equitable salaries through various media appearances and written articles for the general public.

Overall, the intent of the Task Force was to provide resources and inspiration for America’s library workers so they can feel empowered to be better advocates for themselves and their colleagues on compensation issues. The ALA/APA’s nationwide campaign can set the tone, provide tools and open doors for library workers, but ultimately, pay equity must be addressed at the institution or community level.

Impact of Salary Initiative

The article “Putting Pay First” by Michele Leber in the April 1, 2003 Library Journal summarizes the Task Force initiative and describes its outcomes (e.g., increased public awareness of the importance of libraries and the people who work in them; national focus to support state and local efforts; development of an advocacy network for better salaries; new resources to assist library workers; visibility of library issues within national union groups, and more). “Success stories” have been reported in the toolkit and at conference training sessions. While some of these efforts were underway before the task force began, there has been informal acknowledgment that the national ALA efforts have helped visibility at the state and local level.

To gain quantitative data, evaluation forms were distributed to attendees at the ALA conference trainings of the Task Force. Generally, responses were positive in terms of workshop content, presentation, and resources distributed. The Public Information Office continues to track salary advocacy programs by state and local groups and requests that evaluation forms from these trainings be sent to ALA.

Other quantitative data include:

    “Advocating for Better Salaries and Pay Equity Toolkit” printing/distribution:

  • Preliminary Copy, June 2002:     1350 copies
  • Second Edition, January 2003:    2000
  • Third Edition, June 2003:         1000

The kit is also available online, although it is difficult to tabulate downloading by individuals and other groups and subsequent use. The kit also has been used in several library school classes as a teaching tool and recommended resource.

    electronic discussion lists (discussion groups):

  • Moneytalks:   499 subscribers
  • Betterpay:    63 subscribers

    Task Force Trainings

  • 2002 Annual Conference attendance: 78
  • 2003 Midwinter Conference attendance: 72 (44 for the update; 28 for the Train the Trainer program)
  • State and local trainings, conducted by those who had attended an ALA conference training: 42 (additional programs probably have been presented but have not been reported to ALA)

The APA Salaries and Status of Library Workers Committee should continue to evaluate the salary initiatives and monitor future salary survey data for compensation increases. It may be difficult, however, to attribute increases directly to task force efforts, except through anecdotal evidence.

Better Salaries and Pay Equity Task Force Members

Patricia Glass Schuman, Coordinator; Members: Mary Rinato Berman, Therese Bigelow, Cathy Bremer, Carol A. Brey-Casiano, Leslie B. Burger, Whitney E. Davison-Turley, Charling C. Fagan, Yvonne Snyder Farley, Diane Fay, Jenna Freedman, Joan B. Goddard, Michael Gorman, Carla D. Hayden, Norman Jacknis, E.J. Josey, Gene Kinnaly, Michele M. Leber, Donna Mandel, Raymond H. Markey, Kathleen de la Pena McCook, Rosemary Mesh, Margaret Myers, Derrie Perez, Anita R. Schiller, Harriet S. Selverstone, Patricia H. Smith, Jill S. Uncyk, and Thomas L. Wilding

Working Group Reports

The following reports from the Task Force Working Groups provide more detail on activities by the task force and by the additional ALA members who volunteered for the various working groups. Included are recommendations for continued work by the new APA Salaries and Status of Library Workers Committee. The MoneyTalks Live session at the 2003 ALA Conference will also generate additional recommendations for further consideration by APA.

Advocacy/Toolkit/Training Stories/Web Working Group

As noted elsewhere, training sessions on advocating for better salaries were held at the ALA Annual Conferences and Midwinter Meetings in 2002-03. Two sessions were designed to “train the trainer”–helping state library association and affiliate representatives bring the message home. Recognizing that the success of the Better Salaries initiative depended upon a grass roots effort across the country, an update session was held at the Midwinter Meeting in 2003 for anyone who was interested in the program. Many participants subsequently carried out workshops and programs related to salary issues in their own regions, with materials from ALA and suggestions from ” A Presenter’s Guide.” The “Advocating for Better Salaries and Pay Equity Toolkit” was developed for widespread distribution online and in print.

Recommendations for the future:

  • Continue to hold advocacy training sessions related to better salaries and pay equity
  • Incorporate the information from the better salaries training into other ALA advocacy efforts.

Advocacy Working Group: Carol Brey-Casiano, Coordinator; Members: Melody Allison, Mary Rinato Berman, Cynthia Coccaro, Joan Brooks Goddard, Jos N. Holman, Deborah Jacobs, Michel Michele Leber, Rosemary Mesh, Margaret Myers, Jake Sherman

Chapter/Affiliate Contacts/Communication Working Group

Communication with the state library associations was maintained through the ALA Chapters electronic discussion list. Many state associations and affiliates sent representatives to the Task Force training programs at the ALA conferences and then held similar events in their locales. At the various chapters, activities took the form of conference programs, workshops, publications, and studies. A number of state association salary initiatives were reported in the Toolkit and at conference programs. The California, New Jersey, and Vermont library associations had started salary projects before the ALA Task Force but were able to share their efforts to a broader audience through ALA. Several examples of chapter activities as a result of the ALA initiative include a new Compensation Study Committee created by the Texas Library Association and a January 2003 workshop titled “How Support Staff Can Advocate for Better Salaries and Pay Equity,” sponsored by the Connecticut Library Association Support Staff Section (CLASS) and the Library Assistants Roundtable of the Eastern Connecticut Libraries.

Chapter/Affiliate Contacts/Communication Working Group: Patricia Smith, Coordinator; Members: Patricia Smith (Student Chapters), Charles Beard (Chapters), Estelle Black (Affiliates), Leslie Burger (ALA Units), Paulette Feld (Support Staff Organizations), Shelley McCoy, Connie Patsiner, Eva Poole, Marie Seymour-Green, Barbara Shapiro, Lainey Westbrooks

Grants Working Group

A proposal for the World Book-ALA Goal Grant was developed by the Task Force to support its training programs and toolkit project. The proposal was co-sponsored by the ALA Chapter Relations Committee, Committee on Pay Equity and the Public Awareness Committee and was chosen by the ALA Awards Committee to receive the 2002 Grant.

Grants/Publications Working Group: Kathleen de la Peña McCook, Coordinator; Members: Derrie Perez, Lainey Westbrooks

Partnerships/Outreach/Coalitions Working Group

In its plans to communicate and coordinate with non-union organizations, this group has focused first on organizational members of the National Committee on Pay Equity (NCPE) and on ALA-affiliated organizations (those with joint committee and other relationships with ALA and its units). Letters will be sent to some 80 NCPE members asking them to alert their members at the state and local levels about ALA/APA’s initiatives to improve the salaries of library workers and asking for their support and collaboration, at national, regional, and local levels, and coordination of pay equity efforts with state library associations and local library workers The letters also will ask organizations for salary data they have collected and for information and updates about their pay equity activities. Similar letters will be sent to ALA-affiliated organizations. Other types of organizations have been identified for future outreach efforts.

Partnerships/Outreach/Coalitions Working Group: Joan Goddard and Mike Leber, Co-Coordinators; Members: Jan DeSirey, Mark Hudson, Barbara O’Hara, Barbara Shapiro, Lothar Spang, Lainey Westbrooks, Tom Wilding.

Programs & Special Projects Working Group

The group’s informal mission was to coordinate Task Force and Working Group programs/meetings and to serve as a liaison to ALA staff, most notably Elizabeth Dreazen and Marci Merola. However, the group undertook other ventures as they developed, hence the change in name from Programs WG to Programs & Special Projects WG.

The group oversaw, co-facilitated, or helped secure space for programs coordinated by other Working Groups, along with the Task Force meetings and All-Working Group sessions at the ALA Annual Conferences and Midwinter Meetings during 2002-03.

Accomplishments included:

  • Programs
    • Midwinter Meeting 2002 (New Orleans)
      • Assembly and Open Microphone on “Low Pay in Libraries.” This standing room only discussion launched the campaign, giving voice to library workers’ long-stifled anger and frustration at their inadequate pay, benefits, and working conditions.
    • Annual Conference 2002 (Atlanta).
      • Advocacy Training: The Campaign for America’s Librarians
      • Support Staff Working Group program
    • Midwinter Meeting 2003 (Philadelphia)
      • Advocacy Training: The Campaign for America’s Librarians (2 sessions)
      • Unions Working Group brunch
    • Annual Conference 2003 (Toronto)
      • Moneytalks Live! Making it Happen. The WG is joined in this effort by Sarah Watstein and Vivian Melton, members of the ALA Pay Equity Committee. The idea is to follow up on the open mike that was so successful in New Orleans, but also to pair the experience with a working session of groups that could form the nuclei of the ALA/APA committee’s sub-committees.
      • Advocacy Training: the Campaign for America’s Librarians (2 sessions)
      • Unions Program and Working Group brunch
      • Task Force, Working Groups and trainers’ reception
  • Other Activities:
    • Internal Publicity: The Publicity Working Group dealt with external PR, so the Programs Working Group disseminated program information via press releases and/or e-mail announcements, in conjunction with ALA staff.
    • Conference calls & Task Force meeting minutes: Jenna Freedman compiled minutes for Task Force functions, including conference calls between WG Coordinators.
  • Special Projects:
    • Moneytalks & Betterpay discussion lists: These two discussion lists, the former an open forum for anyone interested in library pay & benefits issues and the latter a working list for salary advocates, were proposed and moderated by the Working Group coordinator.
    • Resolutions:
      • Fair Pay for Library Workers Week. This resolution was moved by Michael Gorman, the Chair of the Pay Equity Committee, and seconded by Jenna Freedman, on behalf of the Task Force. The resolution was deferred to BARC and will be revisited at the 2003 Annual Conference as a Pay Equity Day, rather than Week proposal.
      • Support Staff Salary Survey. This resolution was moved by Councilor Jenna Freedman on behalf of the Support Staff Working Group. This was deferred to BARC, but the authors and seconder (Karen Schneider) have hopes that it will pass at the 2003 Annual Conference.
    • Webpages:
      • Candidates statements. Statements from candidates for ALA President, Treasurer and Council were collected and published on the Task Force website at
      • Honor roll. This site is still in development by an ad hoc committee coordinated by Teri Switzer and peopled by Jenna Freedman, Ann Sparanese, and Gail Staines, with the site being executed by Jill Uncyk. The purpose is to cite libraries who support staff development, with money and/or time to attend conferences, trainings, courses, etc.
      • Moneytalks topic list. and
  • Recommendations:
    • Continue to maintain webpages and discussion lists, with eventually having ALA staff take on administration of the webpages.

Programs and Special Projects Working Group: Jenna Freedman, coordinator; Members: Cathy Bremer, Yvonne Farley, Kathleen de la Peña McCook, Carolyn Tate. The WG also acknowledges Task Force intern Jill Uncyk, who helped with many of the group’s efforts. Special guests on the Honor Roll Site project include coordinator Teri Switzer, Gail M. Staines, and Ann Sparanese.

Publicity Working Group

  • Consider a campaign (to appear in major mainstream publications) on “How Libraries Have Influenced My Career (Or Changed My Life),” much like a previously seen campaign for “How A Teacher Influenced Me,” and similar to the New York Times nominations of an excellent librarian. In 25 words or less, celebrities (such as Tiger Woods, Katie Curic, Cheryl Crow, Tom Brokaw, Peter Jennings, Rosie O’Donnell, Michael Moore, Bill Gates, Bill Cosby-to name a few) would indicate how this librarian influenced or encouraged them during their lifetime. In addition, posters for public transit or in other high traffic volume areas could be developed using the material.

Publicity Working Group: Harriet Selverstone, Coordinator; Members: Carol Brey-Casiano, Rochelle Hartman, Gene Kinnaly, Shelly McCoy, Richard Murray, David Orenstein, Marie Seymour-Green, Barbara Shapiro, Whitney Davidson-Turley, Lainey Westbrooks, Shirley Wetzel

Research & Resources Working Group

The Research & Resources Working Group was established to identify, review and evaluate existing materials related to salaries, pay equity, and other economic justice issues that might provide useful background, strategies and insights for the Better Salaries and Pay Equity Task Force. As part of its deliberations, the Working Group has developed a working bibliography of materials relating to task force issues, available online at The group members identified and reviewed documents relating to pay equity studies, legislation, litigation and other actions by a variety of occupations, state governments, unions and other employee groups, and in other countries. Also reviewed were data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), other wage surveys, and salary studies for library workers. Specific actions by library groups to increase compensation were identified, as well as print and online materials addressing related issues, such as recruitment, competencies, changing roles of library workers, and the value of library workers.

The resources identified by the working group were used as background in developing the “Advocating for Better Salaries and Pay Equity Toolkit,” available in print from the ALA Allied Professional Association or online at The third edition, published in June 2003, is now available. The kit has been used in training sessions by the task force at the ALA Annual Conferences and Midwinter Meetings in 2002-03, as well as for distribution at state association programs and workshops by other groups. Sections of the toolkit deal with methods of speaking out about the need for better salaries for library workers, building the case with documentation, developing partnerships and coalitions and working within larger groups, such as unions and state library associations, and addressing related issues that impact on compensation. Also included are examples of efforts by library groups, plus resources for further information.
Recommendations for further action include:

  • Continuing review of new literature, surveys, case studies, government reports, union activities, websites, etc. for background use by the ALA-APA in its ongoing efforts to achieve better salaries and status. This information can be used in updating the bibliography and toolkit if desired or developing new materials for distribution.
  • Further analysis of library compensation data from a variety of sources to evaluate trends, suggest additional research, and review for use in educating public officials. In addition to comparisons of library workers with other occupations, variations in salaries and benefits within the library community should be explored further, including such factors as geographical area, type of library, level of staff, position responsibilities, part-time wages, gender, etc. APA might consider more assistance in gaining equitable compensation for those at the lower-end of the salary ranges.
  • Review of library job evaluation and classification studies and analysis of factors considered in library jobs to determine impact on salaries.
  • Closer communication with the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) regarding occupational information, especially library worker data collection. Because some of the data from BLS are confusing or unclear regarding qualifications required for various levels of staff, different sampling procedures for various surveys, etc., it would be useful for ALA to confer more with BLS.
  • Review of existing staffing standards in various states (e.g., numbers and types of library workers) and whether these provide leverage in bolstering support for library staff positions or have an impact on staff salaries.
  • Creation of a dialog with those who are doing research on the value of library services. To date, most research has focused on evaluation of services and not on the role of staff in how they provide added value in developing and delivering these services. There might be further work in identifying libraries as a variable in rankings of quality of life or “livability” measures of communities. Sociologists or labor economists might be persuaded to conduct research on values added to communities by service professions. In addition to economic benefits, cultural, social, and educational factors should be examined. It might be useful to convene researchers in the field to explore the extent to which staff are included in the equation when evaluating services and “brainstorm” on how best to measure value of staff. Eventually, this research could help educate public officials and funding authorities that set compensation for library workers. APA might also explore possible funding that would support research grants on this topic.

Research/ Resources Working Group: Margaret Myers, Coordinator; Members: Luis Acosta, Marva DeLoach, Marceline Doranski, Sha Fagan, Carol Ritzen Kem, Beverly Ku, Rosemary Mesh, Janet Parsch, Anita Schiller, Sushila Shah, Nicolle Steffen, Carolyn Tate, Theresa Tobin, Lainey Westbrooks, Tom Wilding,

Support Staff Working Group

The charge of the Support Staff Working Group was “To represent the interests and concerns of the library support staff community on status, salary, pay equity and related matters; to interact with other working groups in order to promote our collective knowledge of and appreciation for the single largest and lowest paid segment of library workers; and to use all means available to communicate with library support staff so that we may solicit comments and suggestions, disseminate information, develop tools and training, and provide mutual support and encouragement.”

Membership of the SSWG includes several members of the Library Support Staff Interests Round Table, active members of state library associations, leaders in the support staff community, and winners of the LJ Paraprofessional of the Year award as well as the COLT/Library Mosaics Support Staff of the Year award. Such individuals are very connected to the library support staff community and have represented the concerns of that community extremely well. In addition, several SSWG members are also members of other Task Force working groups, helping to ensure support staff representation throughout the Task Force.

Major accomplishments include:

  • the establishment of the SSWG email list (with many thanks to Liz Dreazen for her help) to aid in the discussions of the working group
  • participation in “The Role of ALA in Supporting Library Workers’ Salaries,” a panel presentation at 2002 ALA Annual Conference in Atlanta
  • the drafting of a Council resolution calling for the inclusion of library support staff in the ALA annual salary survey (referred to the Budget Analysis and Review Committee).


  • The SSWG strongly recommends the continuation of this group and its work as a subcommittee of the APA Standing Committee on Salaries. A list of interested SSWG members was forwarded to Freedman in the spring.
  • Library support staff should be included in the ALA annual salary survey. The SSWG calls upon all Task Force members who currently serve on ALA-APA Council to support this resolution.
  • ALA should extend or make permanent the special membership initiative for library support staff (due to end in 2004) or examine the possibility of a sliding dues structure based on salary. Either of these would make ALA membership and involvement more affordable for library support staff.
  • The SSWG supports an ALA-APA discussion of certification for library support staff as a means of addressing the often very low salaries for support staff and recommends that the Task Force include a statement of support for such a discussion in its final report.

Support Staff Working Group: Gene Kinnaly, Coordinator; Members: Myra Michele Brown, Diane Fay, Paulette Feld, Shirley Folsom, Chris Gorsuch, Susan Knoche, Meralyn Meadows, Cindy Mielke, Dorothy Morgan, Marcy Simons, Carolyn Tate, Lainey Westbrooks

Union Working Group

The charge of the Working Group was: “To investigate the extent of the presence and role of unions among library workers. To report to the ALA/APA Committee on Pay Equity and Salary Issues. To work towards a relationship with national unions representing library workers in order to improve workers; salaries, working conditions and status. To encourage ongoing research and [publishing on unionization in libraries. To serve as a resource for unions in libraries. To educate library administrators on the benefits of unionization in their institutions. To develop union support and advocacy materials for the Better Salaries Task Force Tool Kit and other publications of ALA/APA.”


  • Wrote and updated the Toolkit section on Working with Unions. Included contact information and links for unions and AFL-CIO Dept. of Professionals, FAQs on unions in libraries, example of a neutrality agreement, and union success stories.
  • As a result of the work of the Working Group, an American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Library Workers Committee was established. Diane Fay, a member of the Working Group and AFSCME President for Northern New England, made this happen. This is the first acknowledgment of library workers by any union in America and a necessary first step in bringing the plight of library workers to the attention of labor. Ray Markey, another Working Group member, has been named head of this national committee.
  • Connected with Service Employees International Union (SEIU), which compiled a report on the relative pay and benefits of union library workers versus nonunion workers.
  • AFL-CIO connected on the UWG through Tony Sarmiento, co-chair of the RUSA Joint ALA-CIO/ALA Committee. The connection with the Joint Committee gleaned us more members and moved the emphasis of that committee toward workers’ concerns.
  • Donna Mandel participated as a panelist in the Support Staff Salaries program at the 2002 Annual Conference in Atlanta.
  • Working group members, Deborah Shield, Ann Sparanese, Cathy Bremer, and Yvonne Farley wrote about unions in libraries in issues of Library Journal, American Libraries, Library Trends, and Public Libraries.
  • Organized a program for 2003 Annual Conference in Toronto on “Library Unions: Organizing for Better Salaries.” Speakers on the panel will include a Canadian union library activist, Ray Markey, Ann Sparanese and an AAUP activist.
  • Hosted Better Salaries Breakfast at Midwinter in Philadelphia where contact was made with 21 library workers who hadn’t been involved in the TF previously. A similar event is planned for 2003 Annual Conference. Both events were funded by AFSCME, Local 1930, NYPL.

The Union Working Group has a growing membership of 21 as of January 2003. This success in outreach can be attributed mainly to the need for a forum on unions among library workers. The Moneytalk electronic discussion list eliminated the taboo on speaking out about the economic lives of library workers and brought the “U” word out of the closet. Thanks to the Task Force for that innovation.


  • It is important for the association to continue similar efforts, particularly in light of the fact that AFSCME now has a Library Worker’s Committee with which ALA/APA can work directly.
  • The group should be a Subcommittee on Library Unions under the ALA/APA Salaries Committee, with a charge: “To promote the unionization of library workers nationwide.”

Members of the Working Group who would like to continue on the subcommittee are: Cathy Bremer, Yvonne Farley, Jenna Freedman, Ray Markey, Ann Sparanese, Carol Thomas, Donna Mandel, Diane Fay.

Union Working Group: Cathy Bremer, coordinator; Members: Herb Biblo, Judy Burtis, Jannie Cobb, Jan Desirey, Yvonne Farley, Diane Fay, Jenna Freedman, Ed Fursa, Mary George, Joan Goddard, Dan Golodner, Dawn Grattino, Janet Lee, Donna Mandel, Ray Markey, Dan O’Conner, Anita Perkins, Tony Sarmiento, Ann Sparanese, Fred Stielow, Carol Thomas