Library Issues

Library Salary Database

So the ALA has launched a Librarian Salary Database, which collects (according to the email press release):

The Library Salary Database includes aggregated data from 10,631 actual salaries for six librarian positions in 1053 public and academic libraries.

The site itself, however, says:

The Library Salary Database has current aggregated salary data for 68 library positions from more than 35,000 individual salaries of actual employees in academic and public libraries in the United States.

So which is it? 6 positions, or 68? I’m certainly not paying to find out! Jenifer kindly clarifies in the comments…

As unclear as the actual sources may be, no one disputes that the data they are aggregating is collected from their own constituents. Who else is reporting this, if not ALA members. So the ALA is collecting the info, and then selling it back to us. For an annual rate of $150!!!!!

This is yet another of the absolutely insane things that come out of ALA. I might understand charging outside interests for the information, but this should be free for members. Then again, I think that the ALA should be operating in a far more open and free manner than it has for years (some of you might remember my Master’s Paper, which, flawed as I admit portions are, spoke strongly against the locking up of ALA content)

I’ve not talked at length about my individual issues with the organization yet, but if I could be a LITA member without being an ALA member, you can bet I’d go there. ALA as a whole is overgrown and needs a good weeding.

Now that I think about it, sets of facts really aren’t copyrightable. Anyone out there with the ability to scrape this database and produce a free version? I’ll pony up the $30 for a months access if it frees the data behind the scenes.

By griffey

Jason Griffey is the Director of Strategic Initiatives at NISO, where he works to identify new areas of the information ecosystem where standards expertise is useful and needed. Prior to joining NISO in 2019, Jason ran his own technology consulting company for libraries, has been both an Affiliate at metaLAB and a Fellow and Affiliate at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University, and was an academic librarian in roles ranging from reference and instruction to Head of IT at the University of TN at Chattanooga.

Jason has written extensively on technology and libraries, including multiple books and a series of full-periodical issues on technology topics, most recently AI & Machine Learning in Libraries and Library Spaces and Smart Buildings: Technology, Metrics, and Iterative Design from 2018. His newest book, co-authored with Jeffery Pomerantz, will be published by MIT Press in 2024.

He has spoken internationally on topics such as artificial intelligence & machine learning, the future of technology and libraries, decentralization and the Blockchain, privacy, copyright, and intellectual property. A full list of his publications and presentations can be found on his CV.
He is one of eight winners of the Knight Foundation News Challenge for Libraries for the Measure the Future project (, an open hardware project designed to provide actionable use metrics for library spaces. He is also the creator and director of The LibraryBox Project (, an open source portable digital file distribution system.

Jason can be stalked obsessively online, and spends his free time with his daughter Eliza, reading, obsessing over gadgets, and preparing for the inevitable zombie uprising.

6 replies on “Library Salary Database”

There are 68 positions included, of which 6 are librarian positions. The other 62 are positions that do not require an MLS. Because this posting was sent to librarian discussion groups, the librarian salaries were highlighted.

A library salary survey that only includes 6 librarian positions? Six positions at what level of an organizational structure? I think my stats knowledge may be a little rusty but that does not really seem like a sound median of salaries.

Please correct me if I am wrong.

And Jason, I agree about the payment issue. ALA would you like my first born too?

Not all of us are librarians. Today, I can say that I am not yet a librarian. I apologize for my personal contribution to the de-professionalization of librarianship. Please feel free to blame me for lower salaries, full-time positions changing to benefit-less part-time hourly positions, and lower expectations of librarians from our society as a whole.

As for the cost… I think this service is targeted at large libraries that are institutional members of ALA. Especially those libraries who always seem to be hiring staff (professional or not).

Julian, my comment was not meant to bash non-librarian staff. I only made that statement because some librarians get paid $20,000 and some over $100,000. State, level, and kind of librarian matters, so I want to know what 6 positions they chose to compare salaries.

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