Monday, March 26, 2012


Rochester, N.Y. -- All AFSCME/CSEA union library advocates, whether we are new to the profession or are long-term veterans of the library field, we are deeply concerned about our ability to recruit, retain and reward the next generation of library workers. As a matter of fact, CSEA and AFSCME represent more library workers across New York State and the United States than any other labor union organization.

At the same time, there are still many people who provide invaluable services in our nation’s libraries who fall short of earning a living wage. We know that, when compared to other professions with similar education and training, librarians and library workers are often compensated at a rate far lower than their comparable worth.

This situation is slowly improving-- thanks to our union efforts to bring this issue to the forefront of public attention at the local, state and national level. But we still have far to go before we can say our job is done.

On January 25, 2003, a federal resolution was proposed that in order to recognize the hard work, dedication, and expertise of library support staff and librarians that the Tuesday of National Library Week be designated National Library Workers Day; and, on that day, interested library workers, library groups, and libraries should advocate for better compensation for all library workers and, if the day coincides with National Pay Equity Day, these individuals, groups, and libraries should recognize both days together.

According to the National Committee on Pay Equity, the wage gap remains at a standstill with women earning 77¢ for every dollar a man earns.

The 2003 U.S. Census reports that the average salary of men with master’s degrees was $75,950 (median $61,634), while women earned only $46,961 (median $41,185)—a difference of almost $29,000 (62 percent).

The average salary of a librarian in 2006 was $56,259 and the median was $50,976.

Men with bachelor’s degrees earned an average of $62,471 (median $49,449); while women earned an average of $35,935 (median $30,412)—a difference of $26,536 (73 percent).

Pay inequity is rampant within librarianship. The Association of Research Libraries, in its Annual Salary Survey for 2005-06, reported that the average salary for male academic librarians in member libraries was $63,984, while the average for female academic librarians was $61,083.

Library Journal reported that new library school graduates finally crossed the $40,000 mark as an average salary, but the gender split had women below that point with $39,587 and men at $42,143.

As library advocates, we encourage all union members to please celebrate with us National Library Week April 8 through the 14th. After all, libraries are the cornerstones to every great community.

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