Observations from the 2006 Librarian Salary Survey

The findings of the 2006 Librarian Salary Survey (now known as ALA-APA Salary Survey: Librarian—Public and Academic) suggest that many library professionals have seen substantial raises in pay over the last year, based on mean or average salaries for the nation. Several positions surveyed have enjoyed double-digit salary increases over those seen in the 2005 Librarian Salary Survey. In both public and academic libraries, the pay rate of beginning librarians has increased by double digits (the largest is that for the four-year college beginning librarians, which grew by 23% over the last year, from $35,279 to $43,293). Beginning academic librarians, on average, benefited from a 10 percent increase in salary, $42,186 up from last year’s $38,294. In public libraries, the average pay rate for beginning librarians is $40,026, a 12% increase from 2005’s $35,821. Beginning librarians in two-year colleges saw a gain of 19% ($39,045 to $46,433) and in four-year colleges saw a gain of 23 percent ($35,279 to $43,293).

Please note that all mean or average figures given are a comparison of two data sets—aggregate data from surveys in 2005 and 2006.

Other positions that have double-digit increases in averages are deputy directors of public libraries (19 percent, from $59,141 to $70,498) and directors of academic libraries (12 percent, from $81,178 to $90,718). By far the largest raise by position was seen by deputy directors of academic libraries, who on average enjoyed a remarkable salary raise of 32 percent ($79,731, up from 2005’s $60,550). This figure was assisted by the largest increase by library type, which was 33 percent for deputy directors of university libraries, from $63,635 in 2005 to $84,856 in 2006.

Other positions in academic libraries saw smaller gains. Examples include department heads of academic libraries, which saw an increase of 8 percent to $58,354. Academic managers of support staff and academic librarians who do not supervise saw respective increases of 7 percent to $51,614 and 5 percent to $51,319. There was no real change in averages for positions in particular library types like large public library department heads ($55,426 to $55,321); medium public library managers of support staff ($45,380 to $45,535) and four-year college librarians who do not supervise ($43,632 to $44,035).

Not every finding was so encouraging, though there was only one instance where the average salary declined for an entire position. The average salary of public librarians without supervising duty dropped from $46,415 in 2005 to $45,782 in 2006, a 1 percent decrease. However, by library type, there were more declines from 2005 to 2006. Wages at very small public libraries declined sharply, by 39 percent, with mean salaries falling from $55,227 in 2005 to $33,665 in 2006. This salary decline might be explained by the dramatically lesser number of salaries reported in 2006 (6) than in 2005 (107). A position that had an a similar outcome despite a few more salaries reported (63 to 74) was for directors of very small public libraries, which fell from a mean of $58,377 in 2005 to $44,960 in 2006, a 23 percent decrease.

A modest raise in the wages of two public library positions proves deceptive: on average, public library department heads (4 percent, $56,053 in 2005 to $58,184 in 2006) and public library supervisors of support staff (3 percent, $47,239 in 2005 to $48,555) did not earn enough to offset the current rate of inflation, which at this writing was 4.15 percent.1 There was no real change in the mean salaries of public library directors ($76,161 in 2005 to $76,286 in 2006).

The 2006 Salary Survey has causes for celebration and concern, and will hopefully become a motivational tool. Like all data, they are subject to interpretation depending on the use to which they are placed. We hope that readers will use the data as a resource for their personal and collective research, budget preparations, salary comparisons and job searches. We also hope that library staff who receive notice of invitations to participate in the 2007 survey next spring will recognize the importance of responding. ALA-APA appreciates all who completed the 2006 surveys.


  1. Inflation data obtained from http://inflationdata.com/Inflation/Inflation_Rate/CurrentInflation.asp.