Annoyed Librarian
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Inside Annoyed Librarian

Salaries and Surveys

The LJ 2008 Placements & Salary Survey is out. Read all about it ! I don’t think I’ve ever seen it before, but for some strange reason I’m noticing the Library Journal more than I used to. Not sure what’s up with that. I’ll have to start scanning it to find stuff to be annoyed about.

Regarding the salary survey, I’m not particularly annoyed, just puzzled. Why does anyone go to library school? The "good news" is that the average starting salary for new library school graduates has risen to $42,361. That’s not too shabby considering one only needs a college degree plus a "graduate" degree. No, wait, I take that back. That is pretty shabby, especially when you consider some of these "new" librarians are moving to librarianship because they’ve already failed in some other career, er, I mean they’ve decided that librarianship is a much more rewarding field than whatever rewarding field they left. Librarianship does seem to be the field, though, for those who’ve failed at everything else in life. I know it was for me! Personally, it’s not the low pay that attracted me but the low standards. Makes it easy to stand out.

If it’s not the low standards and the failure at everything else, how can we explain why people enter this field? Get a master’s degree, earn $42K? Hardly seems worth it, especially if you’re one of those poor fools who actually paid full price to go to library school. How many of those students came out owing more in loans than their annual salary? That’s why I wear the black.

And it’s not like these low-paying jobs are growing on trees, either. Unlike back in my day, when I had a high-paying, tenure-track job well before library school graduation, some of these poor people had to work hard for their little money. Check this out. "More than a few graduates shared their stories of many, many interviews but very few real job offers. The overall length of time from graduation to landing a professional position increased from four-and-a-half months in 2006 to just shy of five months in 2007, and some were still looking over a year after graduation." Five months to find a job? What’s up with that? Were they thinking, "I’ve just got to get a job in that hick town I grew up in! Or I’ll just die!"

The children’s librarians have it worst. "Average starting salaries for youth services librarians decreased 3.53%, to $35,929." That’s just sad. Those children’s librarians work very hard to ensure that our children have whatever it is that children’s librarians provide. It’s a pity that the market doesn’t value more highly the skills children’s librarians bring with them, like making posters and reading kid’s books in a really animated way. Investment banks were paying top dollar for those skills, until they all disappeared a week ago. But I guess they’re not in it for the money. They do it "for the children." It brings a warm glow to my withered little heart, it really does.

I also wondered what is up with those academic librarians. It seems that over 80% of them are taking non-tenure-track jobs. What are they thinking? I hope they realize this means they can get fired someday. Trust me, baby, you want tenure. That way when you get burned out, you can just coast the final ten years of your career while chuckling over all the young, earnest librarians who desperately want you to die off. It’s a good feeling.

The other interesting part for me was the section on I-schools v. L-schools in relation to salary. "Five of the iSchools Caucus members reported average starting salaries significantly above the overall averages (ranging from 9.6% higher to a whopping 31.9% higher)." This goes to show that it really does matter where you go to school. If you want to make the "big bucks," you’ve got to go the to right I- or L- school. I did, which is probably why I make more money than you.

Were I just entering the field, I wouldn’t find the results especially encouraging, but all ye who enter here don’t have to abandon all hope. It might look grim for some of you recent graduates, but the smart and talented among you will succeed and go on to live the library high life like the Annoyed Libarian. The rest? Well, let’s not think about them. I see reports like this, kick back in my corner office, look out at the park, sip my martini, and think how cushy I have it. It’s not a fair life, but it’s a good one.

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Comments

  1. clear and open mind says:

    As in all professions, salaries are determined by supply and demand. You have a large supply of people who can sit around and read books to little kids, so the demand is low, therefore the salary is low.

  2. someone says:

    Thank you obvious commenter. You probably work on Wall Street to have such an insightful grasp of economics.

  3. school librarian says:

    “It’s a pity that the market doesn’t value more highly the skills children’s librarians bring with them, like making posters and reading kid’s books in a really animated way.” – Not to mention things like understanding child development, special needs, parents who pester, community outreach, age-appropriateness…and besides, not all of us are any good at making posters. Hrmph.

  4. children's librarian says:

    Ah, yes. The age-old argument that if you enjoy your work, you deserve to be paid less for it. (That would be great, if I could pay my bills with “happiness”). Just because it’s enjoyable, doesn’t make it EASY.

    I’d argue that, in fact, children’s librarians work harder than those in many other professional library positions – same amount of ordering, weeding, meetings, etc. but waaaaay more programming, outreach, and job-specific knowledge.

    I’d argue that, but I dont’ think anyone actually cares.

  5. Me says:

    I wonder how part-time jobs and benefits (or no benefits) are figured in here. Also, you could compare hourly rates, but a good rate would not cut it if it were 20 hrs/wk and no insurance. Hmmm.

  6. anonymous with an MLIS says:

    The reason to go to library school is so that you can “rise up” the ladder and make the big bucks … of $40,000 a year.

    You can work in a library without the Masters. But at those salaries, I don’t really know how people survive.

    The bottom line is that the salary reflects the job and its requirements, not the levels of education librarians have.

    Which is exactly why the ALA should do away with the MLIS/MLS programs and make them Bachelor programs. I could see needing a one-year Bachelor of Library Studies degree to be a librarian. But a two-year Masters? Come on. Who are we kidding, other than ourselves?

  7. E. says:

    It’s no consolation either that fully credentialled librarians fight like angry cats over part time non-union spots. The part timers who are unionized don’t even get the due’s worth of job security either since they are the first to go in negotiations, regardless of seniority. But again, no one cares except the silent 1/2 time growing masses.

  8. Stuck Here for Now says:

    AL said: “Trust me, baby, you want tenure. That way when you get burned out, you can just coast the final ten years of your career while chuckling over all the young, earnest librarians who desperately want you to die off. It’s a good feeling.”

    No … what you want is a civil service job with the state. Just as secure, but it only takes 6 months of showing up at work every day to earn your ‘tenured’ lifetime employment.

    Of course, there’s more crap from administrators who have less clue about how to run a library than your average academic dean. And there is LOUSY vacation. But there are fewer meetings.

    Oh, and these days, starting pay is a real joke. If you were smart enough to have started 25 years ago, and dull enough to have stuck it out till now, the union has pretty much guaranteed a pile of lovely parting gifts should you want out.

  9. Rumpdaddy says:

    The real reason library salaries are so low is because it is a profession dominated by females.

  10. Ambra says:

    AL hasn’t a clue as to what Youth Services librarians do. Children’s Librarian stated it pretty well. I’d like to add we also develop websites, teach workshops for parents, work with schools and care providers in promoting literacy and other youth development services, write grants, and we do a huge amount of readers’ advisory. I guess reading books to kids means storytime, but storytime involves promoting all the early literacy skills and teaching parents how to promote those skills at home.

  11. AL says:

    All that for $35K/year? These new children’s librarians are bargains!

  12. Ambra says:

    That’s the starting salary in a number of places. And yeah, I agree it’s lousy. And most new librarians in youth services can’t do all this when they start, just like in other professions. I can’t speak for others, but it didn’t take me long to move up. I don’t make a great salary, but it’s decent for where I live.

  13. Happy says:

    I landed my dream job very quickly after graduation, starting at $40K. I have awesome benefits, a great union, and my salary range caps out at $94K, which I will be able to actually attain in my career. Sorry, but there’s a lot to complain about in libraries, but my salary is good in this economy.

  14. NewEnglandLibrarian says:

    I absolutely take everything in the LJ Salary Survey with a grain of salt. The pool of responders is quite small, given the number of graduates. The list of the schools that produce the highest-paid graduates is also likely not accurate considering that many ALA-accredited library schools had no responders.

    But in an aside… WHY SHOULD many new library school graduates make much money? When I was in library school, I was really surprised by how many fellow students were straight out of college. $42,000 is likely more than the average starting salary of all the graduates of these responders’ undergraduate schools (especially the starting salary for people with the majors most of the responders has.) So basically, with what is, in most cases, only a 36-credit program, they significantly-upped their potential salary. Yes, given the amount of money many people pay to go to library school, it doesn’t seem “fair” that the average starting salary of a new librarian is so low. But given what they’re really getting, in terms of skills, from the program, it’s very fair. I learned virtually nothing useful in library school. All of the skills I use in my current job were learned on the job in paraprofessional library positions I held before library school. I have to admit that I get pretty annoyed by these people with no or minimal work experience who go to library school and have drilled into them and then internalize this idea that they have rare skills and are the only ones who can navigate the world of information.

    Now of course not all new grads have no work experience, but the ones who do will likely get higher starting salaries (as I did.)

  15. NewEnglandLibrarian says:

    I’d like to add that I attended a very “highly ranked” library school and still learned almost nothing.

  16. NewEnglandLibrarian says:

    There is no way to edit my posts, and I anticipate that people who disagree with me are going to criticize me for some of the typos I made and claim that they reflect my intelligence.

  17. reasonablyeducated says:

    Your accurate analysis of the futility of library school more than makes up for any typos.

  18. AL says:

    Some typos corrected. The joys of the Firefox spellchecker.

  19. libgirl says:

    It’s not a coincidence that occupations with lower salaries are predominatley female. We have allowed ourselves to work for lower wages for too long. We’re not June Cleaver anymore and we should stop accepting lesser wages than our male counterparts.

  20. longtimereader says:

    librarians could be low paid because they let themselves be low paid. decades of being completely dominated by women who could not or would not demand more money might be a factor. nevertheless, a lot librarian jobs just don’t require much skill or intelligence, and library school is very easy to get through. the al sometimes argues that library schools should be made more rigorous, but there’s no point in rigor when most of the jobs are easy. this already happens when smart people get into some real libraries and realize they aren’t going to need their brains, just a lot of patience.

  21. hotlanta says:

    Good point. Most grad programs match the difficulty level of the job. Easy job, easy grad school program. Tough job, tough grad school program.

  22. anonymous with an MLIS says:

    Which is why being a librarian shouldn’t require grad school at all. Period. It’s not a grad-school-level kind of profession. It’s … more like teaching. School, yes. Grad-school? No.

  23. hotlanta says:

    Another good point. Except there needs to be some kind of weeding process or every college grad that can’t find a job would then try to become a librarian. Grad school at least provides a way to reduce the supply of librarian candidates by forcing them to pay for grad school in order to get a job.

  24. Kimbre says:

    I learned a lot from classes and also through the process of working through internships ect. while I was in school. I’m less than three years into the field with a great job, but not an easy job. Most of the people I went to school with have jobs in the field, but they don’t read this blog, nor do they have the time to read any blogs. They would, however, agree with me. I don’t see the degree as useless, and refuse to argue with those who do.

  25. anonymous with an MLIS says:

    Hotlanta: so, only people who can afford to pay for school deserve to be librarians? Surely we can come up with a better weeding process than that. Say … like job interviews?

    Or, the point I was getting at when I said teaching was that you have to go through Teacher’s College to get a B.Ed. but it’s not a graduate program. Surely a process like what you describe could be attained as a diploma course, or as a Bachelor degree.

    Kimbre: My point is not that the degree itself is useless, or that everything learned in library school is useless. My point is that it does not need to be at a Masters level. In fact, perhaps if it was MORE of a professional degree, it would provide even better preparation for the job, with a focus on more practical skills than theoretical. A lot of the useless theoretical stuff stems from having to justify it being a Masters degree.

  26. Kat says:

    I saw another survey on Library Journal comparing the average salary for men in this field to the average salary for women. Men: ~46,000, Women 41,000. The reason behind this disparity is already known by avid AL readers as the ”

  27. hotlanta says:

    As the what?

  28. Kimbre says:

    Anonymous, I see your point. I liked the thinking that some of the theoretical classes provoked, but do I use this theory in my day-to-job. Not really.

  29. htmldude says:

    A bachelor’s degree is all the educational requirements that a libraian needs. But imagine posting a librarian position that only required a bachelor’s degree. You would get thousands of applications – there are a lot of humanities grads out there with very little job prospects.

  30. Mr. Kat says:

    Damn LJ’s Blog Interface…But I have the rest of the post, saved…arg. its jsut bad reposting like this all the time…

    I saw another survey on Library Journal comparing the average salary for men in this field to the average salary for women. Men: ~46,000; Women ~41,000. The reason behind this disparity is already known by avid AL readers as the Girl’s Club Syndrome. In short, this phenomenon occurs when librarians gather around the water cooler and in the break room and generally anywhere there is a place to chat. However, since this is a Female dominated profession, these groups stare down their noses at the male librarians, as they are either below them, because they hold a woman’s job, or against them, because they hold a woman’s job. As such, these male librarians have nothing left to do but focus on their work and either go up the ladder into management or progress to a much better job elsewhere. Either way, this average man’s salary goes UP and the women’s salary stays STAGNANT.

    When I was studying for my bachelors, my Calculus II professor very blatantly stated the reason behind the wage divide. As you progress further up the Mathematics tree into such librarian nightmares as trigonometry, algebra, and calculus, the average wage goes up. Now when I was studying towards an Engineering degree, I noted that the average ratio of men to women was roughly 10 men to every 1 woman. Things might have changed, but I doubt it.

    When I was in library school, I noted that the gender ratio was quite different: roughly 10 to 25 women for every one man. We find further evidence of a commonalty when we look at their undergraduate degrees: lots of political science, education, psychology, English, English, English, and Education – and in what subject other then ENGLISH!! Well I’ll be: Lots and lots of people with the easy to obtain degrees, and nothing to do with them!!

    For some reason women simply do not do very well in Mathematics. This is a disparity recorded throughout our educational system in this country, and the more liberal people believe it is due to the way math is taught in our schools. Unfortunately they have now torn down many programs and revamped them in ways that has cut material drastically while providing more people an avenue to understanding. I understand the argument, but I cannot understand this very 1984 [or was it Brave New World,] where the people have to wear handicaps to make them equal?] approach to fixing our problems.

    Now as some of you have pointed out, the real disparity is due to the fact that this is an easy job. All it takes to do this job is a High School Diploma. All you need to do this job WELL is an ALS and perhaps an annual trip to a conference and biweekly in-house training sessions. You cannot walk into an engineering job or a job in astronomy or a job in nuclear physics like this!!!

    And these jobs have average starting salaries that might make your stomach tinge and you shout bouts of jealousy about those people just being greedy.

    Our Economics genius politely informed us about supply and demand economics and how they apply to this profession. SPOT ON! There is simply far more people who can do the position then there are positions available. Furthermore, there are far more people willing to do the job even as Volunteers just to get their foot in the door. The high demand for these jobs simply allows the libraries to offer any salary they want, and they will get people.

    For some reason our society puts women in the easiest job roles, and women just don’t seem to understand why more money isn’t shoveled onto these jobs. Its very simple: it’s all in the mathematics. And no, this field does not add up on it’s own.

    Mr. Kat

    P.S. I, Mister Kat, know how hard math is! I stopped at vector Calculus and vowed to not go any further, taking a road easier traveled instead! Today I am a geologist with an MLS, for better or worse!! I also discovered something else; those people in this major with science degrees are generally people who do not know how to go about finding a job that matches their BS, or don’t desire a move, or don’t want to work in that field anymore, which is why they are in LS school in the first place!!!

    P.S.S. The I Got Laid Blog has already been done. We are anxiously waiting on feathered nails for the next great Library convention in a place close enough that AL can afford to once again attend. Last time it was…steamy…

  31. Mr. Kat says:

    I found another tidbit of information, but LJ blogger does not allow us to put links to other resources here. Haha. I laugh.

    Anyhow, the information is rather lovely. To find it, go to geology.com and look for the AAPG report on salaries for geologists in the petroleum industry with zero to two years of experience. What is the current average salary as given by their report this last year? $84,000. That’s not the rate you earn after taking a lowly trenches job for five years, and then after working the front lines for twenty years, that’s for starting out, with zero to two years of experience. I think I will be taking a little sabatical from libraries for a while!!! I’ll be back when I can afford to volunteer full time!

  32. soren faust says:

    Kat, out of curiosity: why did you choose to be a librarian, other than not wanting to progress further in math?

    I have a degree that is certainly not easy, but at the same time, certainly not lucrative. My major in undergrad was philosophy. The requirements for me to graduate from this program were rigorous: I had to write a thesis, which I did on Kantian influence in Kierkegaard’s Christian Imperative. I also had to take a senior comprehensive exam. I loved philosophy, but the job prospects are ultra dim. I chose librarianship as a last resort, sort of a way to buy time and am now rethinking my choice. The salary issue is definietely a consideration, but more than that, I want to be happy doing whatever it is I choose to do. Being a librarian has its moments where I get a lot of satisfaction, particularly when it comes to helping patrons, otherwise, I find a lot of it tedious and boring–sad to say.

  33. Mr.Kat says:

    Soren, its long, complicated, drawn out, and LJ has a nasty habit of losing data. In short, I did not have the tenacity to stick with math any further, and I went to the geosciences – the Art Major in the Math/Physics/Science realm. I finished that working in a lab where I saw a need for technology the library should possess and use well. And my previous experience working in technical services showed potential in the library technology that could benefit the entire University science research community. But you see, I discovered that the MLS school is not a real Masters program. You went through a tough major yourself, so I think you know what I mean!! I never took MLS School as an avenue to become a librarian, because I full well knew that avenue would not be fruitful. Now the funny part was how the ALA junkies really spiced up the major as if there is a lot of great salaries and jobs available to the common person to go be librarians…aha, aha, aha! But anyhow…yes, I do feel there are great opportunities out there in the information resource field, but unfortunately librarians are missing them because they are still sitting behind their definition that what they do is serve patrons information, and any research beyond that is simply unconnected. There’s just no ability to grasp higher order logic problems, you know?

    Otherwise Libraries in Research Universities would have a single science database and we would not have all these journals sucking the milkshake out of our library budgets like they are doing. But librarians don’t want to work…yes, I find that boring entry work to be quite FUN! And that’s what the research community needed librains to do; build the databases to support their research!! And now they are building those databases themselves!! An issuing votes of No confidence whenever the library comes around looking for support! Aha Aha Aha!!

  34. soren faust says:

    Obtaining an MLS was unbelievably easy. I left school with a 4.0 and membership to Beta Phi Mu with very little effort. And by effort, I mean there was a lot of work, but it was not challenging (for the most part). I liked my technology courses and my reference professor was really cool and made reference very challenging. Otherwise, I didn’t have to invest nearly as much intellectual power for my MLS as I did for my undergrad degree. Now, I’m in a graduate busines program and it’s much more difficult than my MLS, at least the mathematical/statistics courses I have to take.

  35. Privateer6 says:

    In reference to Salaries,women makign less than men is nto alwasy the case. My wife and I have the exact same job as we do a job share. She works 1 day a week and I work the other four. her hourly rate is more than my hourly rate.

    In reference to grad school, library school is way too easy. My wife went to a top tier library school, and couldn’t understand why I was having such a difficult time with my MA in history until she looked at the syllabus to one of my classes: 13 required textbooks, and your choice of a supplemental reading for a total of 14 books, esentially 1 per week. that was for just one class. Plus I had book reviews, discussions, term paper, and one session of leading the discussion, all for that one class. Other classes also reguired the discussion, book reviews, and papers.
    And that was just the classes.

    The thesis required me to do a trip to DC in order to do the research. In addition to that major research trip, I also had to do smaller trips to several regional archives, and I had the opportunity to conduct interviews with a few people I discovered who who were part of the events I was writing about. needless to say she recognized why I was so busy, and even said she did not knwo if she could have handled the MA program.

  36. hotlanta says:

    The salary difference is also related to job field. If you are in the history field, no wonder you are making less than a librarian.

  37. just me says:

    I read AL often and am confused at what makes you so annoyed. Besides putting the rest of us down for actually enjoying out jobs helping others and getting paid little for it, you seem to have nothing better to do or say. The sarcasm gets old.

    So you ask why we get our MLS degrees. It is simple, without one, we cannot be true “librarians.” We cannot be library directors, school librarians or academic librarians. Many of the lower jobs in these fields are now requiring us to have MLS degrees. And yes, many of us don’t make what we should compared to the amount of money we get paid in our current positions. I think I can speak for most when I say, if we didn’t like helping people, knowing we might be changing just one life, we wouldn’t be doing it. And no, not all of us failed at a previous career goal; some of us actually did and still continue to want to be librarians. ENOUGH SAID!!!

  38. heh says:

    You could have left the ENOUGH SAID part out, because it’s only just the beginning.

  39. just me says:

    heh commented:

    “You could have left the ENOUGH SAID part out, because it’s only just the beginning.”

    I hear that!!!

  40. anonymous says:

    Re: ‘It is simple, without one, we cannot be true “librarians.” We cannot be library directors, school librarians or academic librarians.’ Umm…you can still be a library director in a rural community. My state only requires towns of more than 20,000 to require MLS degrees for public librarians. Yep, the pay sucks. But then, after reading the post and all the comments, where doesn’t it suck? I settled for my BA in English and a position that has me doing everything from circulation to reference to shelving to programming. Forget the expense of grad school!

  41. Anonymous says:

    AL,
    Just because some people choose this as a second career, doesn’t mean that they failed at the first one. It’s my second career, and I did very well in my first career. I know others like me who are doing this as a second career and doing very well because they take all the skills they learned in their first career into their second. Like most career changers, I was ready for a change. This field happened to be my choice, and I love what I do. I make a pretty good salary as a librarian. Salary, however, was never my first consideration.

  42. Content Grad says:

    Well, just to add a little hope… as a recent grad, I was fortunate enough to find a job that apparently is above (slightly above) the average salary (and here I thought it was lower)… And I do not look at my MLIS experience/education as a “waste”, but as being essential to the job I currently hold. And now I have new goals to reach for: upgrade my view to a park instead of a bulletin board and beverage choice from 7-eleven cold coffee to a dry martini.

  43. English Major says:

    Mr. Kat,
    The story you are referring to is ”

  44. English Major says:

    Well, I was spewed by the blog.

    Mr. Kat,
    The story you are referring to is “Harrison Bergeron” by Kurt Vonnegut.

  45. reality check says:

    Librarian salaries are low because women aren’t good at math? Please. It’s not about brains or education. It’s not about how “hard” the job is. There are plenty of high-paying careers that require no facility for numbers or logic: marketing, sales, jobs in high-paying creative fields like television or movies. It’s simple: People who bring in more money make more money.

  46. Kat says:

    Take the average salary of all those in entertainment or those in sales and you might reconsider your arguement. There are a couple very successful entertainers, but the vast majority do not have that same level of success. Serious majors for either marketing or sales do indeed require at the very least statistics or what they call Business Math, which also means the rest of the mathematics tool box is complete up through trig, geometry and alegebra. I ask that you stop resonding with your heart and with your impulse and with what you think is right and go look this through. You missed the real reason librarians salaries are low: Librarians salaries are low because librarianship is honestly a lower level intellectual activity – which simply means more people have the intellectual capacity to do this job. Abouthte highest intellectual activity you have to be capable of doing is rout memorization of literature. Face it, there are jobs that require higher orders of intellect and most of us don’t have it. And by definition, half of all people are below average intelligence. This higher supply of people allows libraries to offer lower paying salaries. Brains, education, and job difficulty are all directly related to how high your salary is. If you don’t think this is true, I would hate to show you the starting salaries for engineers or scientists. Your average Doctor and Dentist, for example, both have to first obtain a science degree; these degrees contain between 2 and 4 years of physics, which is nothing more then applied calculus – also required by most science majors. If you do hold a job that is very difficult but they are paying peanuts, you need to get a new job, because it sounds like you are another bad case of Nut Island. If you wish to know what the Nut Island effect is, please google search it. Those people in this field sacrificing themselves for whatever cause are guilty of advancing the Nut Island effect in this workplace.

    A big thanks to English Major, by the way, I remember reading that now back in high school!

  47. LoneStarLibrarian says:

    My salary has rarely come near the national average, but I’ve made a good life for myself on a public librarian’s salary in the affordable south. I have been able to feed, house and clothe myself and take a few vacations, etc.

    Also, you cannot discount the benefits or the job security. As I near a very nice retirement, very few of my friends are able to say the same. My pension is no joke, and it comes with health benefits. Sure, some of these benefits could be dropped or decreased, but all in all, this job with this salary and these benefits has been a very good choice.

    Also, we work in a very nice atmosphere and get paid to learn! I would have been most unhappy in many other more commercial environments.

  48. Jim Rettig says:

    This is a nice perspective from a distinguished career of serving the public. Thanks for sharing your experiences.

  49. reality check says:

    Kat, you missed my point. When I said creative fields, I didn’t mean celebrities, I meant the vast majority of people working behind the scenes. And do you honestly think people working in sales and marketing have to be good at math? They have to pass certain required classes with a C, after which nobody will ever look at their transcript. With the exception of certain professions (doctor, lawyer, engineer, scientist) most people aren’t paid well because of the degrees they have or even because of their intelligence. They’re paid well because they bring in money to the organization or they work in industries where more money is available to go around.

  50. reality check says:

    Kat, you missed my point. When I said creative fields, I didn’t mean celebrities, I meant the vast majority of people working behind the scenes. And do you honestly think people working in sales and marketing have to be good at math? They have to pass certain required classes with a C, after which nobody will ever look at their transcript. With the exception of certain professions (doctor, lawyer, engineer, scientist) most people aren’t paid well because of the degrees they have or even because of their intelligence. They’re paid well because they bring in money to the organization or they work in industries where more money is available to go around.

  51. NotMarianTheLibrarian says:

    “I could see needing a one-year Bachelor of Library Studies degree to be a librarian. But a two-year Masters? Come on. Who are we kidding, other than ourselves?”

    Hmmmm … I guess you think a BA in “education” qualifies people to teach our children? So you got your MLS and you’re disappointed in the profession or maybe you’re working on an MLS. Maybe you wish you could get an MLS. Did I learn a lot in library school that I put to use every day? No, but I got a good grounding in the whys of library work. That coupled with an honest-to-God BA in an academic discipline has served me well in my 24 years as a librarian.

  52. Anonymous with an MLIS says:

    I’m not disappointed in the profession necessarily. I am simply being honest about the type of education required. For the record, I have a B.A., and also a B.Ed., and the MLIS. It is from that perspective that I have formed the opinion that the profession would be better served if the library training required – and make no mistake, I *do* think that some kind of training is required – if it was not at a Masters or Graduate Studies level. I think that Librarians should have a Bachelor of Arts or Science. But then, instead of doing a 2-year Masters program, I feel that we should do a second Bachelor of Library Studies degree, a one year program, much like those who are teachers get an undergrad degree and then get a Bachelor of Education. And it’s not up to me to say whether a B.Ed. qualifies one to teach, but curently it *is* the only qualification needed. In both libraries and classrooms, the best candidates are those with some sort of experience in the field. But if we’re talking just about required education, I honestly think that the Masters is overkill in our profession. As I already mentioned, these MLIS programs often have to justify being Grad-level programs, and focus much more on theory and research for that reason. If the focus was more on the practical skills, like it is in teachers’ college (ie: a B.Ed.) then more students would graduate feeling better prepared to do the job. I think that would benefit the profession, and if I didn’t care about or like the profession, I wouldn’t be saying that.

  53. anonymous with an MLIS says:

    I should clarify that, to my knoweldge, there is no such thing as a Bachelor of Library Studies. And if there is, it’s not ALA-accredited. This is merely my vision of a more perfect world. And I concede that it’s never gonna happen. For one thing, there are too many librarians out there who would feel threatened about the validity of their Masters degree, or their jobs. Many would say that it was the dumbing-down of the profession. Personally, I think it would make the profession stronger. You’d have more students applying to library school (as one poster suggested, the cost of a graduate program “weeds out” potential candidates), and as long as the schools stuck to their enrolment limits, they would be able to choose the best of the applicants. Currently, too many schools take anyone who applies and whose cheque clears. So, my suggestion that the level of education required should not be a Masters level but rather a Bachelor level is pretty accurate and honest, I’d say. But it would only work if we were starting from scratch, if there was not the entrenched “must have an MLIS” culture within the profession.

  54. Skipbear says:

    What I find amazing is that the home of ALA Chicago IL and the surrounding area has some pretty crappy saleries for librarians. Guess it’s supply, demand and lack of influence.

  55. librarydude says:

    The ALA has nothing to do with librarian salaries. Libraries are individual entities and will pay the amount they deem appropriate.

  56. Skipbear2 says:

    The Bachelor of Library Studies is an old road apple that off the cart a long time ago…ca 1960′s It was far easier to underpay folks with any other academic degrees as ”

  57. library school is not needed says:

    My library currently hired a professional cataloger who has nothing but a high school diploma. Librarianship is a profession? Whatever. $42,000 is pretty good for something you can do straight out of high school. Although we are really behind in getting stuff cataloged..and the quality is pretty low…Eh, who cares, I have my job and make a good chunk of change and my administrators have lowered the bar to sub-basement levels, so there is no need to even try anymore. I say we finally come to terms with what our job really is and train future librarians on the job the same way as other trade or VOCATION jobs.

  58. Library Mermaid says:

    Best to have worked formerly in publishing so you have already come to terms with really terrible pay. Ah, loving books. No money, no fame, and you have to buy reading glasses by the truckload. Helps also to have been raised by missionary types. Or wolves.

  59. Pamba says:

    “Librarianship does seem to be the field, though, for those who’ve failed at everything else in life.” I read that one line and stopped reading the rest of your stupid blog entry. I guess you don’t realize that there are actual librarians who have ALWAYS wanted to be librarians from the time they were little kids. From the time I was 7 when I was reading “Little Women” (do you even read?) I wanted to be a librarian. Fortunately I did become one and have been one for 25 years. I love helping people with their information problems. You, obviously, have no clue what that means since you even said you were a failure at a previous profession. Annoyed librarian? You bet I am…at someone like you who insults the profession you’re in. You’re not an Annoyed Librarian, you’re just annoying..

  60. Revenant says:

    I just retired from the profession making $85,000/yr. – took me only 40+ years to reach that level. Thanks to LBJ’s Great Society, I not only didn’t have to pay a dime for graduate school but they also gave me a monthly stipend to live on while attending. Now Obama’s promising me that I won’t have to pay taxes any more. What a life!

  61. random anonymous name says:

    Ahh, I’ve just rediscovered the reason that I stopped reading the AL – it’s just too damned depressing.

    I really like my library job, but it doesn’t pay as much as I’d like and it isn’t always exactly intellectually stimulating.

    Oh well.

  62. Vox NY #114 says:

    First of all, I wouldn’t be a children’s librarian for three times my current salary, and that’s the damn truth. If you honestly think it’s an easy job, you’ve never done it.

    Second, where are the jobs that *start* at $42,000 a year? I’m an academic librarian who just got a $4,000 raise last year, and it still doesn’t equal to $42,000 a year. Why did I become a librarian? I ask myself that same question every day.

  63. penn girl says:

    We just hired an entry-level academic librarian, starting at $47,000 – and we’re not located in an expensive area.

  64. Mithrandir says:

    The REAL reason library salaries are so low is simple: We are paid by the general population. A high percentage of people place little value on library’s and librarians’, therefore the funding is low and the salaries are low. You want higher salaries in the public library, get the public to understand how IMPORTANT libraries are.

  65. penn girl says:

    But are they really that important?

  66. Mithrandir says:

    YES, libraries are that important.

    Have you noticed the decline in the intelligence of our children and adults? Providing people with lifelong educational opportunities (as well as other opportunities) is extremely important. Too many people just don’t value educating themselves.

  67. Non-professional says:

    The students I see graduating Library school these days don’t even know Dewey..what is that about? How can you graduate library school and not know where the cookery section is? I can see why they get low pay…What I know about libraries (20+ years of working in one) they forgot about in Library school…

  68. branmuffin says:

    I’ve noticed an increase in intelligence in our children and adults. Don’t always believe everything you hear in the media.

  69. Mr. Kat says:

    penngirl/mithrandir:So if a library is about education and raising intelligence, what importance does a library have in a society that epitomizes ignorance and shuns intellectual growth?

    Non-professional: Are you aware that you don’t even need to take cataloging to get a MLS these days? In fact, they only offer it one semester every other year now. They replaced it with a class where today’s graduates learn about metadata, the language that will change everything we ever thought about databases [MARC? Throw it out!] and the Book Store Classification Scheme, [the Hip new way to shelve books!] How does it work? Well, you have sections with WORDS on them instead of CALL NUMBERS! And the books are sorted in the sections sorted by Author and then the year it was published! Brilliant!!!! Now you and I [who learned about cataloging on his own and through a part time technical services job far before library school in the library, and not library school!] understand that DDC and LCC are actually IDENTICAL to the BSC system!!! Now if librarians could take the initiative to INCLUDE the word meanings with the call numbers [such as on the ends of shelves] MAYBE the public would appreciate our sorting system!! PROACTIVE librarianship!

    But instead we waste our time spinning our wheels…re-inventing the cataloging wheel. UGH!

    Pamba: Your type would resemble roughly a quarter or perhaps a third, roughly, of those in library school. They are there because they genuinely love books, libraries, and everything librarian. Bubbly, jubilent, almsot nauseating. But extremely important to this profession!!

    The next quarter to third, however, is very much precisely as stated: they are people who have simply come to the end of their previous profession and discovered they were on a dead end track. You might say they simply are not good enough to go up, and they can’t go any lower; some would say they have “failed.”

    And the next 1/4th to 1/3rd? These people are people who got to the end of one degree major and discovered a couple things: 1, they did not WANT to do it; 2, there were Zero jobs in that major field already; or 3, there were so many people already in the field that it is entirely swamped – so they moved to librarianship. Ohhh the irnoy kills me!! Is that irony?. Whatever it is!!

    That’s not everybody, of course, but then I have only accounted for between 3/4ths and 3/3rds of all the people in library school. I left some room for error on purpose. Myself, for example, went to library school because it put off my loan reimbursement date, gave me time to mull over employment options, and landed me an easy Masters that is kind of paying off – but NOT in the librarian field!!

    good night!!

  70. Mithrandir says:

    Mr Kat,

    Just because society epitomizes ignorance and devalues education does not mean the library should sink to those levels. You should realize that.

  71. Mithrandir says:

    branmuffin commented:

    I’ve noticed an increase in intelligence in our children and adults. Don’t always believe everything you hear in the media.

    Branmuffin, i believe very little of what the media thorws my way. I take the time to research. The general quality of education has plummeted in America, leading to less intelligence and more ignorance. I guess you must live in a smart neck of the woods!

  72. branmuffin says:

    The general quality of education in America has risen. The good stuff doesn’t get publicity because it isn’t sensational so it seems as if there is more bad stuff, but you have to look past the hype.

  73. Mithrandir says:

    The No Child left behind act is a joke. Teachers focus on making sure the kids can pass tests rather than actually teaching them.

  74. Mr. Kat says:

    Mithrandir: I personally believe in what I wouldn;t be surprised is a similar philosophy that you do: the library is an educational pillar and should continue to inspire the population towards inquery and intellectual discovery – It appalls me to see libraries descending to the levels of Arcades, General Video Collections, and Cafes. This avenues behoove of what is the Library’s true mission: to preserve the intellect of the Republic – which is We The People! This sidetracks fruther shrink the overall shelf space available for further information proliferation and pas information posterity.

    I have done my own independent observations on the current state of education that extend from my own higher higher educaiton to the state of current middle school and high school classrooms. The truth in my area reflects Mithrandir’s hypothesis. Indeed, I would suggest that at this point the hypothesis has become general theory. The Universities are currently teaching a number of new ways to teach math and science; why would they do this if their previous method was actually succeessful? the truth is, the old method is no longer effective. The old method relies on discipline and an internal drive for knowledge. This must be instilled into children at a young age so that they become essentially self sufficient when they get tto middle school and high school. Teachers, parents, and the community at large has the general responsibility to reinforce this discipline through leading by example, continual positive reinforcement and continual evaluation.

    Unfortunately we now live in a time where parents openly disregard rules including simple things like traffic laws and ettiquette rules. Further, they reinforce bad habits with their children by even lying to the attendence office that their children are sick [so they can go spend the day at the mall instead, for example]. Finally, evaluation is completely unallowed today becasue we are too afraid of hurting the children’s feelings by telling the truth when those evaluations come back negative. We don’t want to embarrass them in fornt of their friends. Worse, those who get positive marks are ostricized by their fellow failing collegues, further encouraging the smart kids to stop trying.

    The problem is profound and widespread – nothing “simple” or “One-Liner” like No Child Left Behind will solve this issue.

  75. English Major says:

    Stop exaggerating.

  76. Pete says:

    Its called being content with what you have. Ever heard of values. I thought we were talking about libraries, not cultural issues, if you want to talk about the economy make it seperate from the library discussion. To add, screw Obama.

  77. Mr. Kat says:

    Pete…everything is connected. If the economy suffers, libraries will suffer. if libraries rise up out of the glum while the economy remains in the slums, the people will rise up and pull the libraries back down. For we are, afterall, nothing more then a zygote to the wisdom of the people.

  78. annoyed para says:

    If you think that’s depressing, try doing professional level work at a paraprofessional’s pay.

  79. Non-professional says:

    annoyed para: I hear ya!

  80. Western NY says:

    Those salary reports START about $8-10K more than all the recent MLS grads I know. We’re too poor to join associations and be surveyed!