Last Reviewed: February 18th, 2022
Are you interested in pursuing a career as a librarian? Librarianship comes with a host of benefits that you should be aware of as you enter this exciting field.
On the surface, a career as a librarian is attractive for many reasons. Librarians generally have low-stress workdays with plenty of freedom and flexibility. They don’t have to work on weekends, and they enjoy a decent level of job security.
Working as a librarian gives you the opportunity to expand your knowledge of many different fields, making it an ideal career for anyone with a love of learning. Also, librarians get to meet and help lots of people, so it’s a great career choice if you want a job that involves social interaction.
This article explains some of the best career benefits librarians enjoy. So, if you’re considering becoming a librarian or are looking for reasons to support your career choice, look no further.
One of the most compelling benefits of a career as a librarian is the salary. Librarians’ salaries are above average and tend to be extremely stable. Also, librarians receive salary increases at regular intervals throughout their careers.
Libraries and other employers of librarians are transparent about compensation with their employees. Salary information is usually available up-front for school librarians, public librarians, and academic librarians, so you know exactly what to expect before taking the job.
Most libraries award standard salary increases with each year you work as a librarian or with each new title you earn. So, if you become a librarian, you can track your salary increases through upfront pay scales and title changes. This ensures you’re always aware of how you’ll be compensated as you advance throughout your career.
Typically, libraries make the steps to increase your salary very accessible. These steps are generally very easy to follow and involve obtaining continuing education and experience.
You can find out more about librarians’ salaries and how they compare to the national average in the Bureau of Labor Statistics’s Occupational Outlook Handbook. The American Library Association also provides up-to-date information about librarian salaries, along with helpful resources for obtaining better salaries and equal pay.
Librarian benefits also tend to include 401(k) retirement plans. Employers of librarians are usually stable, large businesses or are run by the government. This allows them to have well-defined retirement benefits that are often generous and are usually very secure in their quality of investments.
The American Library Association’s guide to employee benefits shows that the majority of libraries provide retirement savings to their employees. Many public and academic libraries also offer pensions, making the financial future of librarians even more secure.
To see a real-life example of retirement benefits offered at an academic library, check out the University of Washington’s Summary of Benefits for Librarians. These benefits vary slightly by institution. Consult with your employer to make sure you’re taking full advantage of your retirement benefits.
Another valuable perk of librarianship is that librarians receive great medical benefits. Because librarians are usually employed by the government or large employers, health insurance benefits are top-tier when it comes to quality and are generally very low-cost to the employee.
Librarians’ employers have the power of numbers for negotiating health care rates, and that means better prices. Additionally, large businesses and governments have deep pockets that can absorb the costs of employee health insurance.
According to the American Library Association’s guide to employee benefits, nearly 100 percent of librarians receive health insurance benefits through their employers. This benefit can save librarians and their families thousands of dollars every year.
In addition to health insurance, librarians also tend to receive vision and dental benefits from their employers.
Vision and dental plans are common benefits that many people devalue. However, the cost of regular dental and vision visits can shave off hundreds of dollars from your individual salary, or thousands of dollars if you’re supporting a family. If you or a family member requires emergency dental care, insurance can save you an astronomical amount of money.
These added benefits allow your salary as a librarian to go even further, as you don’t have to pay for as many health-related costs out of pocket.
Depending on where they’re employed, some academic librarians may be offered certain housing benefits. There are varying degrees of housing benefits an employer might offer. These could include options such as:
Public and school librarians may have access to similar housing benefits, especially if they live in areas where the cost of living is high.
Housing benefits vary depending on location and situation. So, be sure to check with your employer or potential employers to find out about whether or not they offer such benefits.
If you have children or are planning to in the future, childcare is likely one of your top priorities. Having time off to care for new babies and children is an important benefit to ask about for any job. Child care and maternity/paternity leave benefits ensure you’re able to prioritize family life without sacrificing your career.
Librarians typically enjoy generous paid maternity and paternity leave, so they can care for their families and continue to advance in their careers when they return. Paid childcare benefits aren’t offered by every employer, and maternity/paternity leave terms can vary.
So, be sure to check with the library where you intend to work to gain a complete understanding of their benefits related to childcare and maternity/paternity leave.
In times of distress or family emergencies, paid leave is a sign that employers care about their employees. Individuals and families can fall on hard times for a variety of reasons at virtually any time. By offering paid leave for such situations, employers help librarians get through difficult times.
Family medical leave laws vary by state, and you can find out more about these laws in your specific state by visiting the National Conference of State Legislatures’ website. According to the American Library Association, the majority of librarians are given some form of leave for life events such as bereavement, serious illness, and personal days.
Most of the time, employers will have detailed information available regarding paid family and medical leave, as well as the types of situations that are covered.
Another perk that librarians commonly receive is the option to take temporary unpaid leave. You might choose to take a leave of absence or personal leave when certain life situations arise, and this benefit ensures that you still have a job when you’re ready to return.
Usually, librarians are granted unpaid leave benefits of up to one year. If you wish to take a large amount of time away from work at some point in your career, this benefit could be extremely valuable to you.
Feel like traveling to Europe for six months with your family? If you’ve saved up enough money but need to have guaranteed income the moment you get back home, unpaid leave benefits will afford you this luxury. You’ll be able to experience your life to the fullest without having to worry about finding a new job when you return to reality.
Unpaid personal leave is a common benefit for librarians, but different employers allow varied lengths of unpaid leave. If this level of flexibility is important to you, ask your employer about any existing limitations or restrictions on unpaid leave.
Government entities and medical businesses typically have generous policies around sick leave. This is yet another valuable benefit for librarians.
Usually, librarians accrue one sick day per month worked. The University of Washington, for example, follows this policy. If you don’t use any sick days during a single month, that sick day will roll over to the following month, and there is no limit to the amount of sick leave you can accrue.
Sick leave can be used for a variety of reasons, including the following:
These sick leave policies safeguard other paid-time-off benefits because they ensure you don’t have to use up your vacation days when you are sick.
Finally, a huge benefit afforded to librarians is the generous allotment of vacation days they typically receive.
In academia and government libraries, school and public librarians are typically given two vacation days per month. That adds up to 24 vacation days per year – almost five work weeks! Additionally, these vacation days can often be rolled over to the next year if you don’t use them throughout the calendar year. So, if you decide not to take many vacations one year, you can enjoy even more time off during the next year.
One real-world example of this generous time off is evidenced by the University of Washington’s leave policy for faculty. The university gives librarians 26 vacation days, regardless of how many years they’ve worked at the school.
Even better, these vacation days are all in addition to the many paid holidays employees receive when working in government and academia. This time off can really start to add up!
As you can tell, a career as a librarian allows you to maintain a great work-life balance, all while advancing through a rewarding career.