The gap between salaries paid in private U.S. ARL university libraries and those paid in
publicly supported U.S. university libraries widened in 2005-06 to 6.9%, or an average of $4,204
more paid for a position in a private institution. However, there were fewer categories than ever
before in which average salaries in the public sector exceeded those paid for similar positions in
private university libraries; only Heads of Serials, Circulation, Rare Books, and Reference
Librarians with over 14 years of experience were paid more on average in public institutions (see
Table 21).
Library size, as measured by the number of professional staff, is another significant
determinant of salary. As a rule, the largest libraries pay the highest average salaries, not only
overall, but for specific positions as well. The cutoff staffing levels used to determine the largest
cohort of libraries, after declining in every year since 1995-96, continued to hold steady at 110 in
2005-06.7 The “largest” libraries, those with more than 110 staff members, reported the highest
average salary, $65,878, compared to $62,974 for the cohort with between 75 and 110 staff.
Libraries with between 22 and 49 professionals paid an average salary of $61,355 and those with
staff between 50 and 74 paid $59,459. The gap between the highest paying cohort and the
lowest paying cohort is $6,419, about 8.8% smaller than last year’s difference of $7,041 (see
Table 23).
The highest salaries are found in the Pacific region (see Table 25), followed by New
England and the Middle Atlantic. All three areas have overall average salaries higher than
$64,900, with the Pacific averaging as high as $68,789. The U.S./Canadian exchange rate has
dropped precipitously over the past three years (see Table 4); as a result, Canada has shed its
position as the region with the lowest average salary, which it had held since the early 1990s.
Instead the West South Central region had the lowest average salary with an average of $55,267.
Rank structure continues to provide a useful framework for examining professional salaries
in ARL university libraries. Figure 4, below, displays average salary and years of experience in
the most commonly used rank structures. Readers should be aware that not all individuals have a
rank that fits into the rank structure the library utilizes. Most commonly, directors may have no
rank or a rank outside the structure, and it is common for non-librarians included in the survey
(business officers, personnel staff, computer specialists, etc.) to be unranked, as well.
In 1995-96, the largest cohort of libraries was determined based on staff over 124; in 1996-98, over 120; in 1998-99, over 115; and
since 1999-2000, over 110. See Table 23.
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