Montana Librarian Salary Guide - 2024

by Staff

Updated: November 4th, 2023

School Librarians

The licensure procedure for being a school librarian in Montana involves specific qualifications, tests, and other requirements as specified by the Office of Public instruction. It would make no sense for one to earn an income that is not commensurate to the quality of professionals that they are. 

How Are School Librarian Salaries Determined in Montana?

School librarian salaries in Montana are determined by the board of each institution. However, certain ranges are considered normal by library associations which are constantly pushing for better wages for their members. 

Librarians and Media Specialists Salaries in urban areas of Montana

Metro Area# EmployedMean Salary
Billings, MT100$74,720
Missoula, MT50$54,360
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics - 2021

Librarians and Media Specialists Salaries in rural areas of Montana

Metro Area# EmployedMean Salary
Southwest Montana nonmetropolitan area170$52,530
West Montana nonmetropolitan area100$52,070
East-Central Montana nonmetropolitan area220$45,580
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics - 2021

How Can One Increase Their Salary?

The best time to set yourself up for good wages as a school librarian is to negotiate healthy pay from the outset, that is before you take the job. You want to ask questions about prospects for growth and promotions; and how these will affect your take-home as you progress in your career. You are more likely to be considered for a raise if you demonstrate more value than your present pay covers. 

Are There Any Associations That Provide Help or Resources?

The level of motivation of school librarians is bound to affect the quality of work they put in as well as the interest of librarians in these jobs, in the long run. This is why the Montana Library Association (MLA) is committed to supporting the professional development of librarians. They host annual conferences and provide resources to educate member librarians. Contact MLA here for inquiries.

Public Librarians

Public librarians man state and other government libraries. Their licensing procedure is not as complex as school librarians. However, their jobs as relates to library management are more or less the same. The Montana State Library (MSL) employs librarians in this class and other support staff.

How Are Public Librarian Salaries Determined in Montana?

The board of trustees fixes remuneration standards, job duties, benefits, and working conditions for all positions. The goal is to ensure that each member of staff receives a competitive salary in comparison with others in the market. Although health insurance is not always offered when remuneration is talked about, the MSL considers some employees for health insurance benefits. This can be done by enrolling them in a group insurance policy or giving them the money equivalent of premiums for a safe policy.

How Can One Increase Their Salary?

A salary increase is heavily hinged on professional development exploits of the librarian and their ascent up the career ladder. Clearly, you earn less as a librarian with a bachelor’s compared to one with a master’s. The salary difference is due to the knowledge gap that the board expects. The major way to set yourself up for a salary increase is to stay acquiring relevant certification and taking courses that qualify you for an even higher role and by extension a higher pay. 

Are There Any Associations That Provide Help or Resources?

MLA also represents public librarians and their conferences and resources such as the Focus Newsletter keep librarians in the state abreast on issues concerning them; including policy changes, best practices, and reviews. MLA is committed to the wellbeing of its members which include librarians, support staff in libraries, and library users among others. The library is better equipped to fulfill its purpose with a properly motivated librarian than with one unsatisfied with their job. They partner with relevant national bodies such as the American Library Association (ALA) to campaign for the welfare of librarians and to create awareness about the professional status that librarians have which is the only right lens to view them through.

Academic Librarians

These librarians work in the libraries of institutions of higher education (IHEs). Hence, they are very instrumental in defining what new practices are necessary for introduction into the library practice culture. 

How Are Academic Librarian Salaries Determined in Montana?

The salaries of academic librarians are one of the highest and they are determined by the boards of the employing organization based on numerous factors including qualification and experience. Montana State University (MSU) salary information is protected by state laws, however, the governing board of each campus decides how they share such information. For the Bozeman campus, you can only access the salary information with an MSU NetID. This is also the case for comparison data with other states. Conversely, you can access survey information without these. For more information on MSU salary data, go here or contact the university here.

How Can One Increase Their Salary?

MSU operates with salary ranges for each position, that is it is possible to earn higher than another person in the same position as you. The common determining factor is a significant difference is academic or experiential qualifications. This is why you need to take a certification course that improves your competency as a school librarian. A promotion from your last position can earn you a raise of up to 9%. Then there is also the strategic pay benefit which you can qualify for if the school sees your contributions as very valuable. 

How Can an Academic Librarian Get Tenured and How Does This Affect Their Lifetime Earning Potential?

Getting tenure means that the employing institution has chosen to retain you as a permanent staff based on some spelled out rules. Tenure is usually awarded based on demonstration of effectiveness. However, teachers in Montana are awarded tenure after a three-year probationary period. A librarian with tenure is more likely to qualify for strategic pay and other benefits as can be seen here.

Are There Any Associations That Provide Help or Resources?

Academic librarians in Montana are also members of MLA and ALA and they can stay abreast of new developments by being in active contact with the association. The conferences and resources they provide are beneficial; helping one hone negotiation skills among others that are relevant.