Iowa Librarian Salary Guide - 2024

by Staff

Updated: November 4th, 2023

How are school librarian salaries determined in Iowa? 

School Librarian salaries in the state of Iowa are determined by the Iowa’s local taxes and government as they are functioning within the education system. The school library fund does not only need to cover the librarian’s salary, but also cover the purchase of new resources and maintenance of the library’s technological systems.

The area that the school is located in, along with the size of the school and the library will determine how much funding they are receiving from Iowa. This could alter the salary gained by librarians in the school both positively and negatively depending on the amount that the state has allocated to the school library.

Librarians and Media Specialists Salaries in urban areas of Iowa

Metro Area# EmployedMean Salary
Ames, IA70$59,140
Cedar Rapids, IA140$57,350
Davenport-Moline-Rock Island, IA-IL150$61,430
Des Moines-West Des Moines, IA280$59,950
Dubuque, IA50$58,130
Iowa City, IA170$68,760
Sioux City, IA-NE-SD70$50,660
Waterloo-Cedar Falls, IA80$56,260
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics - 2021

Librarians and Media Specialists Salaries in rural areas of Iowa

Metro Area# EmployedMean Salary
Northeast Iowa nonmetropolitan area180$41,480
Northwest Iowa nonmetropolitan area230$41,080
Southwest Iowa nonmetropolitan area120$49,070
Southeast Iowa nonmetropolitan area260$40,550
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics - 2021

How can one increase their salary as a school librarian?

A natural increase in a school librarian’s salary occurs as time goes by. Notably, an entry-level salary for someone who has been employed for 1-3 years, is approximately $29K lower than the salary of a senior librarian, who has spent over 8 years in their position. Therefore, one of the easiest ways to increase your salary is through achieving seniority in your position and greater levels of education.

Another way of growing your salary is through advancement opportunities within your school library. Depending on the size of the school library that you are employed in you may be able to move up the employment ladder and take on an assistant director and library director positions. In larger libraries, there may also be specialist positions, such as conservator that you could apply for. These positions tend to offer higher pay than the regular school librarian positions as they require even further specialization.

List government or non-profit resources within the state that can provide assistance or who are lobbying for better school librarian pay.

The state of Iowa has two main organizations that are advocating for better pay for school librarians. One of them is the Iowa Library Association, which advocates for all librarians in the state and the second one is the Iowa Association of School Librarians, which has also lobbied in the past for better school librarian pay. Both of these associations are also partnered with the American Library Association which is the most prevalent lobbying organization for librarians.

How are public librarian salaries determined in this state? 

Public librarian salaries in the state of Iowa may be determined by the organization in which the librarian is employed, as well as by the position that they hold within that organization and their level of seniority. Their level of education would also be a determining factor for the salary that they are offered. Finally, many public librarians work during weekends and holidays, which means that their pay is also influenced by the hours that they are required to work.

How can one increase their public librarian salary?

To increase their salary, public librarians can choose to pursue a higher level of education. Having a master’s degree or more specialized degrees in library management can help increase their salary because of the qualifications that they have earned. Another way of increasing their salary is by choosing to work in a larger library or in a more specialized field within their library. Positions such as library director, conservator, or subject librarian tend to offer higher pay as they require further expertise from the librarian employed. Most librarian positions gradually gain larger salaries as they gain seniority so the annual increase in your salary is also something to negotiate when you first take on the position.

List government or non-profit resources within the state that can provide assistance or who are lobbying for better public librarian pay.

Within the state of Iowa, the Iowa Library Association (ILA) is the biggest professional body that lobbies for better public librarian pay. They also host a Public Library Forum, which is used as a way for public librarians to come together and to advocate for their needs and for how to create a better work environment for public librarians.

How are academic librarian salaries determined in Iowa? 

Academic librarians tend to be the highest-paid librarian positions in the state of Iowa. This is partly because the funds allocated to college libraries are not limited to state funds. This means that librarians can get a higher salary as there are more funds allocated to the library services. What’s more, academic libraries tend to be larger and have more specialized sections. This means that many of the librarians employed in them will have more specialized positions such as subject librarian or conservator. Seniority also plays a role in determining an academic librarian’s salary in the state of Iowa.

How can one increase their academic librarian salary?

In an academic library, qualifications play an important role in determining a librarian’s salary. A great way of increasing your salary is by gaining further or more specialized qualifications and degrees. Using those you can either get higher positions within the library or more specialized positions, both of which will lead to higher salaries earned by the librarian.

How can an academic librarian get tenured and how does this affect their lifetime earning potential?

For an academic librarian, gaining tenure means that they are officially considered part of the university’s faculty. This can have an effect on the benefits that they are receiving, which are likely to increase as a tenured librarian. Depending on the institution that they are employed in, they might also receive a larger salary or bonus, but that is not always guaranteed. One of the biggest effects of having a tenured position is that losing that position becomes harder. For a tenured librarian to be fired there will need to be an explicit cause and if they are fired, they receive a larger compensation for their exit from the position.

Government or non-profit resources within Iowa that can provide assistance or who are lobbying for better academic librarian pay.

For academic librarians advocating for better pay within the state of Iowa may be done on either a private or a public forum. A specific institution’s librarians may collectively advocate for better librarian salaries within their institution without influencing the salaries of other academic librarians. For state-wide lobbying, librarians can also join the Association of College and Research Libraries which is part of the Iowa Library Association to advocate for better pay for academic librarians.