March 22, 2018

Placements & Salaries 2015: Salary by Library Type

Salary by library type

Salary levels differ by library type. This year the top three library types in terms of number of placements are the public library, college/university library, and private industry. Of these three institutional types, only private industry offered salaries that exceeded the overall average at $68,424. This suggests that while graduates are finding jobs in libraries, these positions are often in libraries that cannot offer higher salaries. These top three placement situations also provide another insight: the large number of placements in private industry is an indicator of the expanding market for the LIS skill set.

Private industry is the only library type to offer an average salary markedly higher (+45.6%) than the overall average. Private industry salaries are particularly strong in the Pacific. While the Mountain region also has a high average salary level, this number only represents two placements, so it is difficult to compare.

The library type with the lowest salary levels is the public library ($40,635), although the average salary did increase 2.7% over last year. The range of salaries, from $14,000 to $118,000, suggests that the jobs filled in these organizations have substantially different responsibilities.

ljx151002WebPStable7bSchool and special libraries

School libraries, special libraries, and other kinds of organizations ($48,588, $48,536, and $48,424, respectively) reported salaries slightly above the overall average (+3.1%).

Jobs in school libraries show a 1.7% increase in average salary over last year. However, the average salary level for school libraries was increased by the strong salary numbers for placements outside the United States, which are far more noticeable this year than last year. School librarians in the Mountain states, Northeast, and Midwest reported salary levels above the overall average.

Salaries in special libraries increased over last year by 8.6%. Special librarians in the Mountain and Pacific regions reported the highest salaries (more than $60,000 in each area). Special librarian salaries reported in the other regions were about average.

Salaries for librarians working in other organizations, such as government agencies, vendors, or academic institutions other than libraries, averaged $48,424.

Nonprofit organizations ($44,463) is a library type that was added this year. It is difficult to draw conclusions about this category since most regions had very few placements. There is only one region with a reasonable number of placements (18) to be analyzed and much like the other regions there is a substantial range between the low and high salary. It will be worthwhile to keep an eye on this category next year.

Salaries in government libraries were reported to decrease from last year, dropping 2.5% to $42,719. This is also a category with relatively few placements (26), so it is difficult to make regional comparisons.


Academics and archives

Archive salaries show a 3% increase over last year, to $43,431. Salaries range from a low of $14,000 to a high of $110,000, which suggests that this category includes archives that have very different levels of available resources.

College and university library salaries averaged $42,826, which is comparable to last year. The Pacific and Northeast had the highest salaries. The South Central region was the lowest paying at $39,696. Similar to the archives, there is a wide range of salary levels, from a low of $16,000 to a high of $88,000, which suggests that this category, too, includes institutions that have very different missions and financial profiles.

This article was published in Library Journal's October 15, 2015 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

Suzie Allard About Suzie Allard

Suzie Allard ( is Professor of Information Sciences and Associate Dean of Research, University of Tennessee College of Communication & Information, Knoxville. She is PI or co-PI on grants funded by IMLS, NSF, and other foundations. She is a member of the DataONE Leadership Team and the Networked Digital Library of Theses and Dissertations Board of Directors and the winner of the 2013 LJ Teaching Award.