The real achievements for the 2012 library and information science graduating class came in the form of emerging jobs and new responsibilities, according to the approximately 1,900 graduates who responded to LJ’s annual Placements & Salaries survey, representing 30.7 percent of the 2012 graduates from the 41 participating programs.
Placements and Salaries Survey
Library Journal's Placements and Salaries Survey
While new roles offered higher compensation opportunities as well as excitement, that growth did not extend to the full range of new librarians. Overall, starting salaries were flat, and placements decreased in school libraries. The overall average starting salary growth was lackluster, holding steady at $44,503, $62 less than in 2011. (Though this varied widely by region.)
Geography continues to play a key role in determining the level of salary new graduates can anticipate. Graduates landing jobs in the West fared the best: 2012 grads working in the West saw the average salary of $54,454 climb 9.3* percent above 2011 levels ($49,819) and seven percent beyond those achieved in 2010 ($50,792). This included healthy increases in salaries for public librarians (up 13 percent), academic librarians (up 7.2 percent), and school librarians (up 6.8 percent). Not surprisingly, many jobs in the West had an information technology industry focus, especially in the areas of user experience design and software engineering.
After sifting through the numbers, the real stories of expectations are told through the words of the graduates. Many of their responses read like fortune cookies.
LJ received responses either through the institutional survey or individuals representing 41 of the 50 LIS schools surveyed in the United States and from 1,898 of the 6,184 reported LIS graduates. The University of Michigan and the University of Texas at Austin prepared their own surveys.
DEANS, DIRECTORS, AND CHAIRS If you are a faculty member or a director and your school did not respond fully to the 2012 survey, now is the time to get started on the 2013 documentation. There are three stages in the annual LJ Placements & Salary Survey.
Before deciding librarianship is right for you, make sure you understand what today’s librarians do all day. If you want quiet and lots of time to read, think again. Today’s libraries are full of collegial, and sometimes even downright noisy, collaboration, creation, and community activities, and are as much about technology as print on paper.
Modern librarians need to be comfortable and conversant with technology, be willing and able to speak in public, and possess people skills and a commitment to lifelong learning, as the profession and the expertise necessary for success are constantly changing.
As the general economy continues its slow climb out of recession, this past year offered ongoing unemployment and stiff competition for jobs, especially for school library media specialists and reference librarians. However, despite erroneous media reports that library and information science (LIS) is a dying field, there were numerous bright spots and unprecedented gains, ranging from positive salary growth to increased numbers of placements in agencies outside of library environments, and an exciting array of descriptors available to students seeking work inside the LIS field and elsewhere. This year more than 2100 LIS graduates responded to LJ’s annual Placements & Salaries survey, representing 34.7% of the 2011 graduating class from the 41 participating programs.
Specifics related to type of agency and job responsibility likewise offer other images and measures of professional achievement.