Washington Librarian Salary Guide - 2022

Last Reviewed: February 18th, 2022

School Librarians

How are school librarian salaries determined in Washington?

Public school libraries in Washington are usually funded in the same way that schools are funded. This means that the library’s funds, part of which will be used for the school librarian are determined by the size of the school, the area that it is in and the number of students that attend the school and use the library services. Apart from the general funds available for the library, another determinant of the librarian’s salary is the number of years that they have had that position. Generally, school librarians are paid more the more experience that they have, rarely their salaries may also be affected by their educational background and certificates.

How can one increase their salary?

Usually, due to the underfunding of the educational system, school libraries do not tend to offer many opportunities for the librarian to take on different, more specialized positions. This means that the best way of increasing your funds if you are working as a school librarian is to simply spend more years in the positions. Usually, every few years you will see that there is a gradual increase in your salary, this reflects your years of experience in this position. 

Librarians and Media Specialists Salaries in urban areas of Washington

Metro Area # Employed Mean Salary
Bellingham, WA 80 $80,570
Bremerton-Silverdale, WA 100 $77,550
Kennewick-Richland, WA 70 $82,590
Mount Vernon-Anacortes, WA 30 $70,260
Olympia-Tumwater, WA 90 $78,080
Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA 1,670 $84,230
Spokane-Spokane Valley, WA 180 $66,660
Walla Walla, WA 30 $61,790
Wenatchee, WA 50 $58,350
Yakima, WA 100 $66,630
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics - 2020

Librarians and Media Specialists Salaries in rural areas of Washington

Metro Area # Employed Mean Salary
Western Washington nonmetropolitan area 160 $70,730
Eastern Washington nonmetropolitan area 180 $54,380
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics - 2020

Government or non-profit resources within Washington providing assistance for better school librarian pay

For school librarians, the main association in Washington for lobbying is the Washington Library Association, within that association, there is a School Library Division, that you can reach out to in your advocacy efforts. On their website, they also have many advocacy tools that you can find and utilize. 

Public Librarians

How are public librarian salaries determined in Washington?

Public libraries are normally entirely funded by the state, this means that the salaries that public librarians receive are entirely dependant on the amount of funding that the state has given to each library. Normally, funding for libraries is determined in the same way that funding for schools is determined, this means that larger libraries will usually receive more funds. Apart from the library fund availability, other determinants of a public librarian’s salary are their years of experience, their educational level, and the position that they hold within their institution.

How can one increase their salary?

Public libraries tend to have a number of different positions that are available. From front-desk librarians to archivists and executives. In general, getting a more specialized position usually means that you are able to benefit from having a higher wage. This is because the extra specialization is rewarded more highly, much like additional educational certificates are rewarded better. Therefore, the best way of increasing your salary as a public librarian is to become more specialized and thus gain access to better-paying positions. 

Government or non-profit resources within Washington providing assistance for better public librarian pay

Washington has an all-encompassing librarian association known as the Washington Library Association, this association is where you can direct your attention if you are looking for help with your lobbying and advocacy efforts. The association often holds events, conferences and also has advocacy tools available on its website. 

Academic Librarians

How are academic librarian salaries determined in Washington?

An academic librarian’s salary is usually determined entirely by the institution that a librarian is employed in. Normally, the position that one holds in their institutions is the biggest determining factor in their salary. Academic libraries usually also work with a rank system, which means that the longer you have spent in an institution the higher your rank can be, and thus the higher your salary will become.

How can one increase their salary?

In academic libraries, the best way to increase your salary is through promotion. Most academic libraries work with a Rank Promotion-based system, this means that depending on your position and the number of years that you have spent in your position you will be able to get access to higher-paid positions. With every rise in rank there is usually a rise in your salary, therefore rising through the ranks is truly one of the best ways to increase your salary as an academic librarian. 

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

Tenure is available for academic librarians in most institutions. Usually, to get tenure you will need to fulfill the requirements given to you by your institution. These may vary but normally they include: references from other members of faculty and for rewarded the librarian to be in the highest available rank within their institution. While tenure does not usually come with a salary increase, it does mean that the tenured librarian will not have to worry about losing their job. Tenured librarians can benefit from this job stability as they can budget better since they will better know what their lifetime earnings will be. 

Government or non-profit resources within Washington providing assistance for better academic librarian pay

Most academic librarians tend to advocate for better librarian pay directly to their institution, however, if you would like to extend your lobbying efforts outside of your institution you can become a member of the Washington Library Association. This specific association has an Academic Libraries section that you can also refer to in your efforts.