Library Personnel

[last update: 1 October 2003]


Under the broad heading of "library personnel," ALA has, at various times, addressed issues related to salaries and benefits, career ladders, pay equity and comparable worth, promotion and tenure and other areas of personnel policy. The nature of the Association's activities have shifted over time - as both the Association and the field grew, and as associations have become more regulated.  This shift culminated in the formation by ALA, in 2002-2003, of the ALA-Allied Professional Association, specifically to address the "mutual professional interests of librarians and other library workers." Related ALA policies:  54.4, 54.5, 54.7, 54.8, 54.9, 54.10, 54.11, 54.12, 54.13, 54.14, 54.18, 54.20

RELATED ISSUES: Continuing Education and Professional Development (Certification), Recruitment, Affirmative Action and Equal Opportunity, Outsourcing and Privatization


  • Policy 1.3 E:  3) Librarians and all other library personnel are paid equitable and attractive salaries; 6) Job information, placement, and career services are readily available to librarians


  • Increased focus on library support staff is revealing a number of fundamental issues that will require intensive attention, including terminology in common use, programmatic focus (e.g. in CE), service delivery assumptions.
  • The ALA-APA Council approved a resolution designating the Tuesday of National Library Week as National Library Workers Day.


  • ALA Office for Human Resources Development and Recruitment (HRDR
    • HRDR Advisory Committee
    • Pay Equity Committee
    • Status of Women in Librarianship (COSWL)
    • Staff Organizations Round Table (SORT)
  • Library Administration and Management Division
    • Human Resources Section (LAMA-HRS)


  • ALA - Allied Professional Association


  • 1923 - An ALA committee presented an outline for a suggested scheme of graded library service.
  • 1924 - The ALA Committee on Salaries published a report comparing the salaries of teachers and librarians.
  • 1927 - Proposed Classification and Compensation Plans for Library Personnel was published (Institute of Government Research, Bureau of Public Personnel Administration) which formed the basis for a report by the ALA Committee on Schemes for Library Service. 
  • 1937 - ALA Council approved establishment of a board on salaries, staff and tenure, which later became the Board on Personnel Administration ( 1944).  The Board was concerned with personnel administration in all types of libraries, including classification and pay plans, staff welfare and tenure, problems of civil service and merit systems.  In 1951, ALA published the Board's Position Classification and Salary Administration in Libraries, and in 1952, Personnel Organization and Procedure.
  • 1957 - The responsibilities of the Board on Personnel Administration were transferred to the Library Administration Division (now LAMA), section on Personnel Administration (now HRS).
  • 1964 - The ALA Office for Recruitment, originally funded by a grant from the J. Morris Jones - World Book Encyclopedia ALA Goal Award, was absorbed into the ALA General Fund.
  • 1970 - ALA Council approved a policy on Library Education and Manpower, subsequently referred to the Office for Library Personnel Resources (now HRDR) to remove "sexist" language.
  • 1971 - ALA Council accepted the ACONDA/ANACONDA recommendation to " combine ALA's existing staff activities relating to (1) library education and training, (2) recruitment, and (3) personnel utilization and concerns (including but not limited to salaries, status, welfare, employment practices, job definition, organization of personnel administration, tenure and ethics) into a new Office for Library Manpower to be responsible for the development of (1) appropriate programs, (2) standards and policies, and (3) procedures for the implementation of standards, e.g. investigations, mediation, sanctions
  • 1971 - ALA Council established the Staff Committee on Mediation, Arbitration & Inquiry - "to provide assistance to the membership in problems ranging from personnel concerns to status and intellectual freedom."  In 1987 a special committee recommended that the focus shift from arbitration to mediation and inquiry, that relevant ALA policies be gathered and reviewed, and that the SCMAI members receive regular briefing from legal counsel.
  • 1971 - Since 1971, at ALA Council direction, ALA Midwinter Meetings and Annual Conferences have featured a Placement Center.
  • 1976 - ALA Council approved a revision of the Library Education and Manpower policy - the Library Education and Personnel Utilization Policy.  That policy was updated again in 2002.
  • 1982 - ALA published the ALA Survey of Librarian Salaries, 1982.  It was repeated in 1986 and became an annual publication in 1988.
  • 1985 - ALA President E.J. Josey established a special presidential committee - the ALA Pay Equity Commission, which subsequently became the Pay Equity Committee (standing).
  • 1987 - Using funds from the 1987 World Book/ALA Goal Award, the ALA Office for Library Personnel Resource (now HRDR) initiated a recruitment drive.
  • 1989 - ALA Council approved creation of the Standing Committee on Review, Inquiry and Mediation (SCRIM), to replace SCMAI.  SCRIM developed a policy document (approved by ALA Council in 1990) and procedures.  Between
  • 1990-1991, it received and acted on 12 cases. The ALA Council abolished SCRIM, on recommendation of the ALA Executive Board, in 1991.
  • 1989 - ALA Council acted to encourage state associations to consider minimum salary guidelines and publish lists and sources of salary surveys.
  • 1991 - ALA Council adopted a statement on the "Decade of the Librarian," calling on ALA to "shift its major focus from libraries to librarians" through several strategic directions.
  • 1996 - In response to a report from the Council Committee on Minority Concerns (now COD), the ALA Council directed CCMC to begin work on a campaign to build a $1M endowment to fund minority scholarships.
  • 2001 - ALA President Nancy Kranich appointed a special Task Force on the Status of Librarians.
  • 2002 - ALA President-elect Maurice J. Freedman appointed a Presidential Committee on Better Salaries and Pay Equity for Library Workers.
  • 2003 - ALA Council established the ALA-Allied Profession Association, to "promote the mutual professional interests of librarians and other library workers."
  • 2003-  ALA-APA distributed the Better Salaries Toolkit, developed by the Presidential Committee on Better Salaries.


Issue Summaries

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