26 Association of Research Libraries Research Library Issues 295 2018 likely to decline further over the coming years. An additional cause for concern relates to compensation, where those with no library degree actually enjoy an advantage. Among 2015 new hires, 59% of those with no library degree were hired for salaries of $60,000 or higher, compared with 51% of those with a library credential. Professional Hiring in the Context of Overall Library Staffing Nearly everything in the preceding analysis concerns ARL professionals in isolation. Professionals certainly play an outsized role in designing and delivering library services, but they accounted for only 39% of the ARL library workforce in 2015. Such is the interdependence of library work that it’s not possible to fully understand professional staffing, to say nothing of library staffing generally, without reference to support staff and student assistants. Analysis of student and support staff proves difficult in practice, however. The paucity of data relating to these groups stands in stark contrast to the richness of that for professionals. Student and support staff are nearly invisible in library data sets generally, although recent initiatives show signs of improvement.4 The ARL Statistics data do track student and support staff full-time equivalents (FTE) and expenditures, and the FTE figures provide a vivid illustration of how staffing dynamics among these groups warrant deeper understanding. For example, it is significant that overall library staffing, as measured by median FTE, has been in gradual decline since 1990, and in sharp decline since 2005. (See Figure 9.) Research library work is becoming sharply less labor intensive, and there is little reason to ARL libraries are almost certain to be in the midst of an unprecedented changing of the guard in leadership.
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