About the Salary Survey


ALA-APA Salary Survey DatabaseThe ALA-APA Salary Survey provides statistics on salaries for library positions in the United States. Data is collected from public libraries serving populations under 10,000 to more than 500,000; and for academic libraries at community colleges, four-year colleges and university libraries.

The information included in the survey can be useful for hiring managers, library directors and human resources staff. It is also valuable for librarians seeking employment or considering relocating to pursue professional opportunities.

The ALA-APA Salary Survey Database was available previously only as a benefit to ALA Organizational members. With the release of the 2019 data, access to the survey data is now available as a complimentary benefit to all ALA members, although subscriptions are available to non-members.

2019 Report

A total of 1,657 surveys were sent for the 2019 ALA-APA Salary Survey. Responses from a total of 727 libraries reporting for 12,032 positions were analyzed for the 2019 report. The survey was conducted on behalf of ALA-APA by Counting Opinions (SQUIRE) Ltd.


The average (mean) salary for all public librarian positions in the U.S. is $65,339. Public librarians working in small libraries have the lowest salaries. Those working in very large libraries have the highest salaries.

Beginning public librarians have the lowest salaries. Library directors have the highest salaries. Salaries are the lowest for almost every position in the Southeast region and are the highest in the West and Southwest regions.

The average (mean) salary for all academic librarian positions in the U.S. is $73,147. Librarians working in four-year colleges have the lowest average salaries. Librarians working in university libraries have the highest average salaries.

Beginning academic librarians have the lowest salaries. Library directors/deans/chief officers have the highest salaries.
For two-year colleges, average salaries are the lowest in the Southeast region and the highest in the Great Lakes & Plains states. For four-year colleges, average salaries are the lowest in the Great Lakes & Plains states and highest in the North Atlantic states. For universities, average salaries are the lowest in the Great Lakes & Plains states and highest in the North Atlantic states.

Review the Executive Summaries for more highlights:

Salary Survey Executive Summary Narrative (PDF)
Executive Summary Statistics (PDF)
Salary Survey Methodology (PDF)
Salary Survey Position Descriptions (PDF)
Supplemental Questions for 2019 Salary Survey (PDF)


The ALA-APA Salary Survey, previously known as the ALA Survey of Librarian Salaries, was conducted in partnership with the ALA Office for Research and Statistics periodically from 1982 to 2007 to gather salaries of full-time professionals in academic and public libraries. Prior to the 2005 edition, ALA members and researchers were asked for state-level salary data instead of, or in addition to, regional data. In 2005, the methodology for collecting information for the survey changed. In 2005, the sample of public and academic libraries was stratified by region and stratified at the state level. In addition to increased sample size and stratification changes, the 2005 survey also reported actual salaries rather than adjusting for an academic year of fewer than 12-months. Such salaries were adjusted in past surveys by increasing the salaries to correct for the shortage of months.

With the introduction of its companion volume for non-MLS positions in 2006, ALA-APA created a salary survey series. The Librarian Salary Survey became known as ALA-APA Salary Survey: Librarian – Public and Academic to accompany the ALA-APA Salary Survey: Non-MLS – Public and Academic. However, data for Non-MLS positions was only available in 2006, 2007, and 2016. The next edition of information for Non-MLS data is scheduled for release in 2022.

ALA-APA Salary Survey Summaries from Previous Years

These articles and fact sheets gloss past years’ data and provide context for current compensation information:

Rural Library Salaries Survey (PDF)
ALA-APA and the ALA Office for Literacy and Outreach Services (OLOS) shine light on a long-overlooked area of librarianship – the low salaries and status of library workers in small and rural libraries.