Category Archives: Libraries & Museums

Public Libraries in the United States Survey: Fiscal Year 2016

Source: Institute of Museum and Library Services, June 2019

From the press release:
The Public Libraries Survey report, released today by the Institute of Museum and Library Services, provides an annual snapshot of public library use, financial health, staffing, and resources in FY 2016. Each year since 1988, the Public Libraries of the United States Survey has provided a national census of America’s public libraries.

The data are collected from approximately 9,000 public library systems comprised of over 17,000 individual main libraries, library branches, and bookmobiles in the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and U.S. territories…..

Highlights from the report include:
– More than 171 million registered users, representing over half of the nearly 311 million Americans who lived within a public library service area, visited public libraries over 1.35 billion times in 2016.
– Public libraries offered half a million more programs in 2016 than in 2015; 113 million people attended 5.2 million programs in 2016.
– The number of electronic materials available through public libraries, including audio, video and e-books, continued to grow in 2016, with public libraries offering over 391 million e-books to their patrons in the United States.

Library Professionals: Facts & Figures

Source: Department for Professional Employees, AFL-CIO (DPE), Fact Sheet, May 2019

Librarians and other library professionals provide essential services for schools, universities, and communities. Americans go to libraries for free, reliable, and well-organized access to books, the Internet, and other sources of information and entertainment; assistance finding work; research and reference assistance; and programs for children, immigrants, seniors and other groups with specific needs, just to name a few.

This fact sheet explores the role of library staff in the workforce, the demographics, educational attainment and wages of librarians, as well as the benefits of union membership for librarians and other issues faced by library staff…..

…..Librarians and library worker union members have leveraged their collective voices to earn fair wages and stronger benefits. Wages and benefits earned by union librarians and library workers are more commensurate with the skilled and professional nature of library work.

In 2018, librarians who were union members earned 38 percent ($284) more per week than their non-union counterparts. While this statistic is also subject to volatility due to the sample size, trends in the data show that it pays to be a union librarian.

– In 2018, union library assistants earned 48 percent higher hourly wages ($18.67) than their non-union counterparts ($12.62).
– Due to the small sample size, 2018 union wage data is not available for library technicians. In 2009, the last year comparative data was available, union library technicians earned 49 percent more than their non-union counterparts.

Union members are more likely than their non-union counterparts to be covered by a retirement plan, health insurance, and paid sick leave. In 2018, 95 percent of union members in the civilian workforce had access to a retirement plan, compared with only 67 percent of non-union workers. Similarly, 95 percent of union members had access to employer provided health insurance, compared to 69 percent of non-union workers in 2017. In 2017, 90 percent of union members in the civilian workforce had access to paid sick leave compared to 71 percent of non-union workers…..

Museum Workers Share Their Salaries and Urge Industry-Wide Reform

Source: Zachary Small, Hyperallergic, June 3, 2019

Over 660 arts professionals have added to a spreadsheet detailing their salaries. The pay for these prestigious positions may be lower than you expect. ….

…. Because the spreadsheet entries are published anonymously, Hyperallergic could not independently verify the accuracy of all the listed salary information; however, the information does match long-running perceptions about pay in the field. (New entries are being added through this Google Form.) Although positions like curatorial assistant are competitive and prestigious entry points into museum work, the pay is relatively low with starting salaries running between $30,000 and $50,000. By comparison, the select few who rise through the ranks to become chief curators at major museums can expect to make well within six figures. ….

Library Systems Embracing Their New Roles As Social Service Hubs

Source: Emily Nonko, Next City, January 22, 2019

…. Starting from Esguerra, the San Francisco Public Library now has a team of Health and Safety Associates (now known as HASAs) who use the bathrooms as outreach space. HASAs have since expanded their work outside bathrooms and provide outreach on all seven floors of the main branch. They also work at other branches to support staff and inform patrons about resources and services. The program has placed at least 130 patrons into stable housing, Esguerra says.

San Francisco’s experience directly inspired change at the Denver Public Library. In 2012, the Homeless Services Action Committee — an internal working group with the Denver library — made recommendations to add a social worker to staff. The library eventually hired social worker Elissa Hardy in 2015 to begin building the library’s Community Resource program, bringing on additional social workers and peer navigators. The program has gone from serving 434 library customers in 2015, when it was just Hardy, to 3,500 served in 2018.

Both the San Francisco and Denver programs have grown as affordable housing needs and homelessness increase in each city. The San Francisco Public Library budgeted to hire six HASAs this year; currently, five work with Esguerra. For 2019, Denver Public Library budgeted for a team of 10, including four social workers and six peer navigators — the team now covers all 26 locations within the Denver Public Library. ….

Other Duties as Assigned: Front-line librarians on the constant pressure to do more

Source: Anne Ford, American Libraries, January 2, 2019

Maybe it existed only in our collective imagination—the era when librarians focused solely on providing access to written information, and when their greatest on-the-job challenge consisted of keeping the stacks in order. Whether that halcyon time ever actually took place, it’s definitely not here now. Social worker, EMT, therapist, legal consultant, even bodily defender: These are the roles that many (perhaps most?) librarians feel they’re being asked to assume.

American Libraries asked seven librarians—public, academic, and school; urban and rural—their thoughts about the many directions in which their profession finds itself pulled….

Underrepresented, Underemployed: In the library-job search, some face special barriers

Source: Anne Ford, American Libraries, Vol. 49 nos. 11/12, November/December 2018

….White’s concerns represent only some of the potential obstacles that people from underrepresented demographic groups face when applying for positions in the library field—a field that remains about 86% white and 97% able-bodied (per the 2017 ALA Demographic Survey, which did not ask about sexual orientation.)

Because the library profession has been trying to diversify itself for a long time—particularly racially, and particularly through initiatives such as diversity task forces and diversity fellowships—some may be surprised that people from underrepresented communities still encounter barriers to library employment….

The Salary Question: Negotiating the ins and outs of earning a fair compensation

Source: American Libraries, Vol. 49 nos. 11/12, November/December 2018

For more than 10 years, David Connolly has interacted with job seekers and employers in his role as recruitment ad sales manager with ALA JobLIST, the online career center administered by American Libraries, ACRL’s College and Research Libraries News magazine, and ALA’s Office for Human Resource Development and Recruitment. We asked Connolly for his insights on salary negotiations, including the biggest mistake applicants make regarding salary…..

Unions 101: What library unions do—and don’t do—for workers

Source: Carrie Smith, American Libraries, Vol. 49 nos. 11/12, November/December 2018

….According to a report from the AFL-CIO’s Department for Professional Employees, in 2017 union librarians and library assistants earned on average 31% more per week than their nonunion equivalents. Union library workers are also more likely to have health coverage, retirement plans, and sick leave, the report states.

Yet library unions are as diverse as libraries themselves. Public library workers may be organized in a library-specific union that represents librarians and other staff, or they may be a part of a larger municipal union that represents city or county workers. Academic librarians can find themselves part of a larger faculty union or librarians-only bargaining unit, while school librarians are often members of the local teachers union. Most unions don’t include members in supervisory positions.

The landscape is complex, and it’s difficult to paint a picture of library unionism with one brush, but there are commonalities workers should know…..