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Last Reviewed: February 18th, 2022
Continue reading to learn more about Librarian and Library Staff salaries and some of the considerations professionals make when thinking about salary needs.
Most librarians didn’t enter the field because of the money. More often, they entered the field because they have a passion for books, education, evolving information technology, the quiet and beautiful solitude of a library’s environment, and helping others experience the joys and utility of accessing all forms of information.
However, this is not to say that a salary isn’t important. On the contrary, becoming educated to the professional level that most states require and being compensated accordingly is of the utmost importance for health and happiness. The fact that most librarians did not consider this a major factor in choosing their career is simply a testament to the esteem most librarians hold their career and duties. Luckily enough, the compensation of librarians is well above average and is typically commensurate with the cost of living in locations of employment.
Nationally, the average salary of Librarians and Media Specialists is $63,560 (Bureau of Labor Statistics - 2020).
Librarian salaries can be differentiated by industry. Salary discrepancies by industry are usually a reflection of the complexities associated with the specific industry library needs. Within universities and colleges, for example, you will often find deep dives within information sectors in order to satisfy the vanguard nature of professors and graduate students who are studying and employing the information that is available. Librarians typically need to be aware of the consistent flow of new resources and technologies entering university libraries in order to best serve the university faculty and students.
Elementary and secondary school librarians may not be required to be as versatile in their technology and information acumen as university librarians, but they often are required to be trained teachers beforehand as well as have skills in developing lessons to help teach children how to best make use of library resources. Such skills are highly sought after and are reflected in steadily increasing salaries throughout the librarians career.
Similar to Librarians, archivists national median salary is $61,210 (Bureau of Labor Statistics - 2020). And also similar to librarians, many individuals who have pursued the career of an archivist often think of their salary as a secondary decision characteristic. Most archivists see the value of their career in terms of workplace serenity and the unending supply of interesting artifacts to analyze, document and preserve.
Additionally, such a career lends itself to lifelong learning in many different fields. Archivists are often learning of new technologies for preservation, persisting digital information, and also educational frameworks for helping others to learn of the significance of various artifacts. As a career encouraging lifelong learning, an archivist career-salary trajectory typically rises due to the more seasoned archivist becoming more indispensable as their knowledge expands.
Archivist salary discrepancies between industries can be seen through the lens of organization resources. While museums and historical sites can often benefit greatly from an archivist who is knowledgeable in all the most advanced archiving technologies, salaries may not adequately reflect their talents due to a lack of funding.
In university and government settings, the importance of the archivist position is more accurately rewarded through salary in large part because the hiring organizations are well-funded.
Library technician and assistant salary are significantly lower than librarians and this is due to a much lower educational bar to entry. However, with respect to the required education in order to enter the field, the pay can be relatively high. In addition, this job can be a great first step toward becoming a librarian. Hours can be flexible if the library technician or assistant wishes to simultaneously go to school.
Another great aspect to this job is there are often many openings. There are often many technicians and assistants to one librarian within a library.