Salary Negotiation

ALA-APA advocates and educates on issues of salary, status, and pay equity for library workers, through programming, outreach, and research. Salary negotiation is a key strategy for improving the salaries of individual library workers, to the benefit of the whole.


ALA-APA programming facilitates and elevates conversations about salary issues. American Libraries covered ALA-APA’s 2014 Earn What You’re Worth panel at ALA Annual in Las Vegas that featured established library leaders sharing salary negotiation tips.

In 2007, the ALA-APA Council passed a Living Wage Resolution supporting the annual updating of the $40,000 minimum salary for librarians and recommending a salary of $13 an hour for library workers, also to be updated annually. For 2015, these figures are $45,282.09/year for professional librarians, and $14.72/hour for library employees.


The Advocating for Better Salaries Toolkit is a signature ALA-APA resource that was totally overhauled in 2014 to reflect the post-recession environment for library workers. It contains data, suggested resources, and identifies avenues of resolution for library workers to directly advocate, individually or collectively, for economic improvement.

Library workers need reliable and current salary data in order to evaluate job offers and frame negotiations. ALA-APA Salary Surveys provide library salary data for academic and public libraries, allowing users to browse by library size, position level, and geographic region. State Libraries Collecting and Reporting Salary Data identifies and describes state-level salary data for public-sector library workers. Additional library salary survey sources are described in the Advocating for Better Salaries Toolkit.

Much of the salary negotiation literature is not library-specific. Simmons Library maintains an excellent resource guide on Salary Negotiation for Librarians that suggests general titles on salary negotiation.

Salary Negotiation Articles

Additional resources listed on the Unions and Pay Equity pages are also useful for individuals and managers seeking to improve library salaries.


Salary Negotiation – Ins, Outs, and In Between

Webinar held: May 13, 2021

Brief Description:

Panelists discussed how salary decisions are made, what compensation packages consist of, and how to highlight strengths. In addition to talking numbers, panelists also discussed the difference and benefits of collective bargaining compared to individual salary negotiations, and how collective bargaining affects pay equity and equality.

Supplemental Information