There is a union difference in library salaries

Contact: Jenifer Grady


(312) 280-2424


For Immediate Release

August 13, 2008

A study conducted by the American Library Association-Allied Professional Association (ALA-APA) and the Department for Professional Employees, AFL-CIO (DPE) has revealed that salaries in unionized public and academic libraries were higher than those in non-union libraries for staff in positions that do not require an ALA-accredited Master’s Degree in Library Science.

The findings are published in

The Union Difference for Library Workers,

Data from the 2006
ALA-APA Salary Survey: Non-MLS – Public and Academic showed that average salaries were higher for many of the 62 positions, including Library Technical Assistant, Library Clerk and Associate Librarian.

The Department for Professional Employees, AFL-CIO (DPE) analyzed the data by position and educational attainment. With 24 affiliated unions, DPE represents more than 4 million professional and technical workers, including many library workers.

This publication clearly demonstrates the power of unions to raise salaries in the predominantly female, underpaid library world. The percentages on the graphs indicate the union difference as the raise that would be required to equalize the union and non-union salaries.

Each year, ALA-APA conducts an extensive salary survey of librarians in conjunction with the ALA Office for Research and Statistics (ORS). In 2006, thanks to the suggestion of the ALA-APA Standing Committee on the Salaries and Status of Library Workers, the inaugural
ALA-APA Salary Survey: Non-MLS – Public and Academic included a question about union membership.

Invitations to respond to the survey were sent to 3,418 public and academic libraries, with 836 (24.5%) responding. Data was received for 26,937 individual salaries, ranging from $10,721 to $130,686 across 62 positions. The data included separate categories for four regions, and for states, library type, library size and educational attainment.

Particular thanks are due to the many respondents who completed the questionnaire, to Jamie Bragg of ALA-APA, to Denise Davis, Director of ORS, to the Management Association of Illinois, to DPE intern Michael Ebell, who analyzed the data, to Pamela Wilson, who managed the project for DPE, and to Elliott Becker, Marcie Lawrence, and Leandra Roscoe of DPE for their valuable contributions. We look forward to many collaborative endeavors.

The American Library Association-Allied Professional Association (ALA-APA): the Organization for the Advancement of Library Workers is a companion organization to the American Library Association. It provides services to librarians and other library workers in two primary areas: certification of individuals in specializations beyond the initial professional degree; and direct support of comparable worth and pay equity initiatives, and other activities designed to improve the salaries and status of librarians and other library workers. ALA-APA recognizes union membership as a path to improved salary and status for library workers.