Salary Survey: 2010 Librarian Pay Up 3 Percent Despite Economic Woes

How can the American Library Association (ALA) and ALA-Allied Professional Association (ALA-APA) report that librarian salaries rose three percent in 2010 when librarians are losing jobs; salaries are stagnant; hours are being cut; and new librarians are struggling to find positions? Despite the conditions faced by some individual librarians and libraries in 2010, the aggregate of 11,554 salaries reported by directors and human resources (HR) staff from public and academic libraries calculated to a mean librarian salary of $60,734, and a median $55,883. The 2009 mean was $58,860, $1,874 less than in 2010, and the 2009 median was $54,500, $1,383 less than in 2010.

This summary discusses salary changes on a national level for public and academic libraries together and separately. Regional and state level data and reports may be found in the print version called ALA-APA Salary Survey: Librarians – Public and Academic, available for purchase at the ALA Online Store, and the Library Salary Database, available for subscription at the ALA-APA website.

For 2010, the survey received at least one response from a public or academic library in 49 states and the District of Columbia. However, separating those responses by library class and region reduced the significance of individual library responses.

However, there were no responses from public libraries in Nebraska, Vermont and West Virginia and none from academic libraries in Delaware, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Mississippi, Montana, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Rhode Island or South Dakota.

Methodology, Means and Medians

Below are the rise and fall of means and medians since 2005, when the survey began stratifying the sample for state level reporting:

Table 1: Change in means and medians since 2005

Salary Mean % change from previous year Median % change from previous year
2010

$60,734

3.2

$55,883

2.5

2009

$58,860

-1.0

$54,500

1.8

2008

$58,960

2.0

$53,521

1.0

2007

$57,809

2.8

$53,000

4.0

2006

$56,259

4.6

$50,976

1.4

2005

$53,779

 

$50,274

 


Many factors influence means and medians, including actual salaries, response rate and the number of salaries submitted. These averages and modes, as well as quartile and ranges reported in the ALA-APA Salary Survey: Librarians – Public and Academic and the Library Salary Database, are based on actual salaries submitted. In 2009, there were 17,018 salaries included; in 2010, there were 11,554 (Table 2). The difference may be attributed to a change in the number of invitations sent. Fewer invitations still resulted in a similar percentage of responses by position and library type and size (see Table 6).

To relieve the burdens of survey overload on the nation’s library directors and HR staff, the ALA Office for Research and Statistics reduced the sample from 3,590 to 1,672, maintaining the stratification by library type and size. This decision proved wise, increasing the response rate to 35 percent, up two percent from 2009. In 2008, the rate was 29 percent.

Salaries for the following positions have been surveyed annually since 1999:

  • Director/Dean/Chief Officer – includes Association of Research Libraries member data (ARL has participated since 1991)
  • Deputy/Associate/Assistant Director – includes ARL
  • Department Head/Branch Manager/Coordinator/Senior Manager
  • Manager/Supervisor of Support Staff
  • Librarian Who Does Not Supervise – includes ARL
  • Beginning Librarian – includes ARL

Though the percentages of salaries reported by position might vary by library size, they were relatively consistent overall by type from 2009 to 2010. Although the 2010 survey collected a higher percentage of data from public libraries, the percentages by position represented were similar for public and academic libraries. The percentage of participating public and academic libraries fluctuates, but it appears that public libraries are becoming more likely to respond – in 2006 through 2008, approximately 60 percent of salaries were from public libraries. Most salaries reported in public libraries were for Librarians who do not supervise, Department Heads and Managers of Support Staff; while for academics, staff were predominantly more likely to be Librarians who do not supervise.

Table 2: Comparison of total number and percentage of salaries reported in 2009 and 2010 by position and library type

2009                
  2009 Number of
Salaries for Responding Public Libraries
% of Total Public Library Salaries % of Total Salaries Reported   2009
Number of
Salaries for Responding Academic Libraries
% of Total Academic Library Salaries % of Total Salaries Reported  
Director

649

5%

4%

 

459

9%

3%

 
Deputy

676

6%

4%

 

573

11%

3%

 
Department Head

3447

29%

20%

 

505

10%

3%

 
Manager

1709

14%

10%

 

680

13%

4%

 
Librarian

4475

38%

26%

 

2458

48%

14%

 
Beginning

946

8%

6%

 

441

9%

3%

 
Total

11902

 

70%

 

5116

 

30%

17,018

                 
2010                
  2010 Number of
Salaries for Responding Public Libraries
% of Total Public Library Salaries % of Total Salaries Reported   2010 Number of
Salaries for Responding Academic Libraries
% of Total Academic Library Salaries % of Total Salaries Reported  
Director

328

4%

3%

 

217

9%

2%

 
Deputy

451

5%

4%

 

282

11%

2%

 
Department Head

2855

32%

25%

 

261

10%

2%

 
Manager

1225

14%

11%

 

347

14%

3%

 
Librarian

3706

41%

32%

 

1260

50%

11%

 
Beginning

467

5%

4%

 

153

6%

1%

 
Total

9032

 

78%

 

2520

 

22%

11,552


All six positions, in both public and academic libraries, show an increase. No salaries below $22,000 are included in the calculation and high salary outliers are removed, based on the judgment of the consultant compiling the data, in this case The Management Association of Illinois. The range for 2010 was $22,000 to $302,500, and for 2009 it was $22,000 to $256,800.

Table 3: Comparison of mean of salaries paid by position, 2009 and 2010

 

Combined Regional Salary Data 2009

Combined Regional Salary Data 2010

Difference

% change

N

Director/Dean/Chief Officer

87,525

99,176

11,651

13.3%

546

Deputy/Associate/Assistant Director

76,750

79,274

2,524

3.3%

733

Department Head/Branch Manager/Coordinator/Senior Manager

63,079

65,829

2,750

4.4%

3116

Manager/Supervisor of Support Staff

54,173

55,055

882

1.6%

1573

Librarian Who Does Not Supervise

52,803

53,923

1,120

2.1%

4966

Beginning Librarian

46,175

48,317

2,142

4.6%

620

Total




 

11,554


Results

(see 2009 summary for full comparison)
Tables 4 and 5 illustrate that salaries for all positions are higher in 2010 than they were in 2009. The largest increase is seen in pay for public library Directors. In 2009, Directors on average saw losses overall of 3.13 percent in public and 1.66 percent in academic libraries. In 2010, the average salary for Directors of public libraries was 20 percent higher, the range narrowing from a $22,000 minimum in 2009 to a $38,000 minimum for all regions. The maximum salary remained at $229,460 for both years. Although the maximum salaries for each region were the same or lower this year, the means and medians were all higher.

Beginning academic librarians saw a 3.43 percent increase from 2008 to 2009, but this dropped to 1.16 percent for 2010.

Table 4: Rank Order of Position Types by Mean of Salaries Paid, Public Libraries, Comparison 2009 and 2010

 

Public Regional Salary Data 2009

Public Regional Salary Data 2010

Difference

% Difference

N

Director/Dean/Chief Officer

83,655

100,106

16,451

20%

329

Deputy/Associate/Assistant Director

73,236

77,633

4,397

6%

451

Department Head/Branch Manager/Coordinator/Senior Manager

63,236

65,875

2,639

4%

2855

Manager/Supervisor of Support Staff

53,564

54,863

1,299

2%

1226

Librarian Who Does Not Supervise

51,556

52,851

1,295

3%

3706

Beginning Librarian

46,042

48,749

2,707

6%

467

Total





9034


Table 5. Rank Order of Position Types by Mean of Salaries Paid, Academic Libraries, Comparison 2009 and 2010

 

Academic Regional Salary Data 2009

Academic Regional Salary Data 2010

Difference

% Difference

N

Director/Dean/Chief Officer

92,996

97,767

4,771

5.13%

217

Deputy/Associate/Assistant Director

80,895

81,897

1,002

1.24%

282

Department Head/Branch Manager/Coordinator/Senior Manager

62,007

65,320

3,313

5.34%

261

Manager/Supervisor of Support Staff

55,704

57,079

1,375

2.47%

1260

Librarian Who Does Not Supervise

55,073

55,732

659

1.20%

347

Beginning Librarian

46,459

47,000

541

1.16%

153

Total





2520


Response Rate

The 2009 survey elicited a 35 percent response rate; the 2009 survey had a 33 percent response rate (Table 6).

Table 6: Response Rates, 2000-2010

Year and Survey

Sample

Responses

Response Rate %

2010 – Librarian

1,672

583

35

2009 – Librarian

3,590

1,179

33

2008 – Librarian

3,484

1,010

29

2007 – Librarian and Non-MLS combined

3,484

834

24

2006 – Librarian

3,418

1,053

31

2006 – Non-MLS

3,418

836

24

2005 – Librarian

4,343

2,058

47

2004 – Librarian

1,275

881

69

2003 – Librarian

1,268

901

72

2002 – Librarian

1,320

924

70

2001 – Librarian

1,297

866

67

2000 – Librarian

1,294

931

72

*Survey sample expanded to include state-level data.

Despite the respectable response rates, much of the state-level data reported is too low to be statistically significant for each state. The project directors decided to include all data, including those with low response rates. However, results are not presented where salaries could be individually identified, such as in a state where there is one Very Large public library and one Director.

How to Access the Data

Data from the Librarian Salary Survey is available through the ALA-APA Library Salary Database, a subscription-based tool that costs $50 for 30-day access and $150 for annual access ($250 for non-ALA members). Subscribers can run reports for data collected between 2006 and 2010, organized by position (60 MLS and non-MLS), library type, region and state. The database is useful for job seekers, employees preparing for performance reviews, library administrators and human resources staff.

The print editions of the survey offer more extensive data analyses and salary resources. There are separate sections for public and academic librarians in six position categories. State-level data are presented in each section by position, following the regional salary table. The full Library Salary Survey is $90 ($81 for ALA members). The printed versions can be ordered by mail from the ALA Store, P.O. Box 932501, Atlanta, GA 31193-2501; by phone (      1-866-746-7252   ); by fax (1-770-442-9742); or online (http://www.alastore.ala.org/).

Please note that survey respondents receive a 25 percent discount.

For more information, visit http://ala-apa.org or call ALA-APA Director Jenifer Grady at     800-545-2433   , x2424.