14 · ARL Annual Salary Survey 2008–2009
Figure 6: Average Salaries and Average Years of Experience of Library Professionals in Libraries with Three,
Four, and Five Step Rank Structures, 2008–2009
Three-Step Four-Step Five-Step
Salary Experience Salary Experience Salary Experience
Librarian 1 56,741 8.8 52,361 7.1 50,983 5.2
Librarian 2 67,919 17.5 56,097 10.4 58,104 10.8
Librarian 3 84,908 25.6 71,408 20.0 69,136 18.1
Librarian 4 86,622 25.8 86,903 23.9
Librarian 5 98,872 28
No. of Staff 1,808 3,288 1,148
Inflation Effect
Tables 2 and 6 reveal changes in beginning professional and median salaries, as well as changes in the US
Bureau of Labor’s Cost of Living Index (CPI-All Urban Consumers) for university and nonuniversity research
libraries. Table 3 is similar to Table 2, but reports data only on US libraries. Table 4 shows trend data for Canadian
libraries and compares them to the Canadian Consumer Price Index changes. Tables 2, 3, and 4 include law and
medical library staff in ARL university libraries. In contrast to 2007-08, these tables indicate that the purchasing
power of professionals (in both the United States and Canada) employed in ARL libraries did not keep pace with
For a third consecutive year, the median Canadian salary (converted to US dollars) exceeded the median
US salary. The median salary for all ARL university libraries was $64,828 in 2008–2009; for Canadian libraries
converted into US dollars it was $77,954 (a median of $78,742 in Canadian dollars); and for US libraries it was
only $63,673. However, in 2008–2009 US median salaries increased 3.8% (see Table 3), in comparison, Canadian
median salaries (when denominated in Canadian dollars and compared against the Canadian CPI) increased
only 3.3% (see Table 4). The median salary for combined US and Canadian university libraries increased 4.8%
(Table 2); at the same time, the US Consumer Price Index increased 5.6% (see Table 3) in the last year and the
Canadian Consumer Price Index increased 3.4% (see Table 4).
Beginning salaries in the university sector continue to increase at a steady rate. The median beginning salary
in ARL university libraries rose to $44,000; this is a 6.6% increase over the median beginning salary of $41,125
reported in 2007–2008 (see Table 2). The median beginning salary for ARL nonuniversity research libraries also
expanded from $44,359 in 2007-08 to $48,108; an increase 7.8% (see Table 6). Table 6 also reveals that the median
salary for nonuniversity staff has increased about 6% in 2008–2009 to $85,320.
Libraries need staff with high-level technical skills to operate at the more sophisticated and complex
information environments that are in place. As people are hired with higher beginning salaries, the inability to
adjust the overall salary structure to achieve some equity for the experienced staff members is another factor that
contributes to slow salary growth for higher salaries.
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