Librarian Salary: Pay for Librarians in 2023

Librarians play an essential role in our communities by providing access to information and promoting lifelong learning. However, as with any profession, earning a reasonable wage is crucial to ensuring job satisfaction and financial stability. In this article, we’ll explore the topic of librarian salaries and provide insights into factors that influence pay rates, salary ranges, and regional variations in the United States.

librarian salary

  • Librarian salaries can vary depending on factors such as education level, years of experience, geographic location, and job responsibilities.
  • The average librarian salary in the United States can vary depending on qualifications and specialization within the library field.
  • Regional differences also affect librarian salaries, with some states offering higher pay rates than others.
  • There are opportunities to maximize earning potential, including negotiating salaries and seeking career development opportunities.
  • Staying informed about industry trends and taking an active role in shaping the future of librarianship can also enhance salary prospects.

Librarian Salary Guide: Understanding the Factors

Librarian salaries can vary greatly depending on several factors. To help you understand what impacts a librarian’s salary, we’ve put together this salary guide with information on salary ranges, comparisons, and factors that can influence earnings.

Factors that Influence Librarian Salaries

There are many factors that can impact a librarian’s salary. Some of the most significant factors include:

  • Education: A librarian’s level of education can play a big role in their salary. Generally, the more education a librarian has, the higher their salary will be.
  • Experience: The number of years a librarian has worked, as well as any additional skills or certifications they have obtained, can impact their salary.
  • Geographic Location: The cost of living and demand for librarians can vary greatly depending on the state or region they work in. Urban areas may have higher salaries, but also a higher cost of living.
  • Job Responsibilities: Different library positions have different responsibilities, which can impact salaries. For example, librarians who manage staff or oversee multiple branches may earn more than those who primarily work with patrons.

It’s important to keep in mind that these factors can interact in complex ways. A librarian with many years of experience may command a higher salary than a recent graduate with an advanced degree, for example.

Librarian Salary Range by State

Librarian Salary Range by State

As you can see from this table, librarian salaries can vary widely depending on the state. California and New York are among the highest-paying states, with average salaries above $70,000 per year. The states with the lowest average salaries for librarians are Puerto Rico, North Dakota, and West Virginia.

Librarian Salary Comparisons

Compared to other professions, librarians generally earn middle-of-the-road salaries. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for librarians in the United States is $60,820. This is higher than the median salaries for preschool teachers, but lower than the median salaries for computer programmers and architects.

If you’re trying to choose between a career as a librarian and a related profession, it’s a good idea to look at specific salary ranges as well as job duties and educational requirements. For example, archivists and curators generally earn slightly higher salaries than librarians, but these positions may require more specialized education or have fewer job opportunities available.

By taking the factors we’ve discussed into consideration, you can get a better understanding of the salary range you could expect as a librarian. Keep in mind that salaries can also be influenced by supply and demand – if there are few job openings for librarians in your area, you may have to accept a lower salary than you would in a more competitive market.

Average Librarian Salary in the United States

Librarians are an essential part of our society, providing access to information and resources for everyone. As such, they deserve fair compensation for their work. The average annual salary for librarians in the United States is $59,050, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. This figure reflects the median salary for all types of librarians, ranging from entry-level to highly experienced professionals.

librarian salary statistics

The average salary for librarians can vary significantly based on various factors such as education level, years of experience, and type of library. For example, librarians with a Master’s degree in Library Science (MLS) tend to earn higher salaries than those without one. The highest-paid librarians work in research and development, legal services, and educational services, while those in public libraries tend to earn less.

Salary trends for librarians have remained relatively stable in recent years, with a modest annual increase of approximately 1-2%. However, advancements in digital technology and changes in the way people access information may impact these trends in the future.

It’s important to note that these statistics provide a broad overview of librarian salaries in the United States. For more detailed information on salaries in your region or specific library type, research job listings and speak with professional librarians in your area.

Librarian Salary by State: Regional Variations

Librarian salaries can vary significantly depending on the state in which they work. In 2023, the highest paying states for librarians are expected to be California, New York, and Massachusetts, with average salaries ranging from $70,000 to $80,000 annually. On the other hand, states like Oklahoma, Mississippi, and South Dakota have lower average salaries, ranging from $45,000 to $53,000 per year.

Several factors contribute to these variations, including the cost of living, demand for librarians, and funding availability for libraries. For example, states with a higher cost of living, such as California and New York, tend to offer higher salaries to compensate for the increased expenses. Additionally, states with a higher demand for librarians, such as Massachusetts, often pay more to attract and retain qualified professionals.

State Average Salary
California $75,000
New York $76,000
Massachusetts $70,000
Texas $56,000
Florida $55,000
Oklahoma $49,000
Mississippi $48,000
South Dakota $53,000

Librarians can also earn higher salaries based on their specialization within the field. For example, librarians working in law or medical libraries may earn more than those working in public or academic libraries.

Librarian Salary by State

It’s essential for librarians to research the average salaries and benefits offered in their state and negotiate for fair compensation. Networking with other professionals in the field and staying informed about salary trends can also help librarians maximize their earning potential.

Factors Influencing Librarian Salaries

Librarian salaries can vary depending on various factors, including job market demand, funding availability, and industry trends. It’s crucial for librarians to stay informed about these factors to ensure they are earning a fair and competitive salary in their field.

One critical factor influencing librarian salaries is the job market demand. As with any profession, the supply and demand of librarians can impact their earning potential. When the job market is saturated with qualified librarians, salaries may decrease due to an oversupply of candidates. On the other hand, when there is a shortage of librarians, salaries may increase to attract and retain talent.

librarian salary trends

Funding availability is another significant factor in determining librarian salaries. Libraries that are well-funded may have more resources to offer higher salaries to their employees. In contrast, libraries with limited funding may struggle to attract and retain highly qualified librarians.

Finally, staying informed about industry trends can help librarians understand how their role is evolving and how it may impact their future earning potential. For example, as libraries shift towards more digital resources and services, librarians may need to acquire additional skills and knowledge to remain competitive in their field.

Librarian Salary Information and Trends

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual wage for librarians in the United States was $60,820 in May 2020. However, salaries can vary widely based on factors such as education level, years of experience, and specialization within the library field.

Librarian salary trends indicate that there may be some growth opportunities in the field in the coming years. The BLS projects a 5% employment growth for librarians from 2019 to 2029, which is about as fast as the average for all occupations.

However, it’s important to note that librarian salaries can also vary significantly by geographic location. For example, the highest-paying states for librarians in 2021 were California, New York, and the District of Columbia, with median annual wages ranging from $77,030 to $94,130. Meanwhile, states such as Idaho, Mississippi, and South Dakota had median annual wages for librarians ranging from $41,800 to $47,390.

In conclusion, understanding the factors influencing librarian salaries is essential for librarians to ensure they are earning a fair and competitive wage in their field. Keeping up with industry trends, being aware of funding availability, and staying informed about job market demand can all help librarians maximize their earning potential.

Librarian Salary Comparison: Public vs. Academic Libraries

When considering a career as a librarian, it’s important to understand the potential salary differences between working in a public library versus an academic library. While both settings offer fulfilling work and opportunities for growth, there are some notable variations in salary expectations and job requirements.

In general, librarians who work in academic libraries tend to earn a higher median salary than those in public libraries. According to the American Library Association (ALA), the median salary for librarians working in academic libraries was $65,000 in 2019, while the median salary for those in public libraries was $52,500.

One factor contributing to this salary difference is the educational requirements for librarians in these settings. Librarians working in academic libraries often need to have a Master’s degree in Library Science (MLS), while those in public libraries may have less extensive educational requirements. Additionally, academic libraries may have greater funding available to offer competitive salaries, as well as attract librarians with specialized skills and expertise.

Another important consideration when comparing salaries between public and academic libraries is the size and scope of the institution. Larger academic libraries may have more varied and complex collections, with a greater emphasis on research and specialized knowledge areas. This can require librarians with advanced degrees and specialized skills, which may lead to higher salaries.

Despite these variations in salary expectations, both public and academic libraries offer rewarding career paths for those passionate about information and community service. As with any career, it’s important to evaluate your personal goals and interests when considering which library setting is the best fit for you.

“It’s important to evaluate your personal goals and interests when considering which library setting is the best fit for you.”

If you’re interested in pursuing a career as a librarian, it’s important to research salary ranges and job requirements for both public and academic libraries. By understanding the factors influencing librarian salaries, such as education level and geographic location, you can make informed decisions about your career path and negotiate a fair salary.

When comparing librarian salaries by state, it’s important to consider the cost of living and other regional factors that may impact salary expectations. For example, librarians working in metropolitan areas may earn a higher salary than those in rural locations due to the higher cost of living. Additionally, states with higher demand for librarians may offer higher salaries to attract and retain talent.

Overall, understanding the variations in salary expectations and job requirements for librarians in different settings is an important step in maximizing your earning potential and achieving job satisfaction. Consider speaking with colleagues or industry professionals to gain insights into local job markets and career paths, and stay informed about industry trends and emerging roles that may impact future salary expectations.

librarian salary comparison

When it comes to negotiating a librarian salary, preparation and research are key. By understanding the local job market, your unique qualifications, and the needs of your potential employer, you can make a strong case for a higher salary. Here are some tips for negotiating a librarian job salary:

  1. Do your research. Before negotiating, research what the typical salary range is for librarians in your specific area and with your level of education and experience. This information will give you a starting point for your negotiations and help you understand what is realistic to ask for.
  2. Focus on your skills and qualifications. When discussing your salary, emphasize your qualifications, skills, and experiences that make you uniquely qualified for the position. Be prepared to provide specific examples of how you have contributed to the library community in the past and how you can bring value to your new employer’s team.
  3. Communicate your value. Be sure to clearly communicate the value you will bring to the organization, including your ability to meet the needs of patrons, colleagues and the community. If you have experience working in a specialized area, be able to articulate how your experience can be an asset to the library.
  4. Be flexible. While it is important to know your worth, be prepared to negotiate and remain open to different salary options. Consider other forms of compensation beyond salary, such as health benefits, retirement plans, or flexible work hours that can improve your overall compensation package.
  5. Practice your negotiation skills. It’s important to practice your negotiation skills before entering into a salary negotiation. Research common negotiation tactics, and make sure you’re familiar with the library’s policies and procedures. Practice your negotiation with a friend or mentor, and have them offer feedback on your approach.

By following these tips and being confident in your skills and qualifications, you can confidently negotiate a librarian job salary that reflects your worth and the value you bring to the organization.

Librarian with salary negotiation papers

As the field of librarianship continues to evolve, so do the salary expectations for librarians. Here are some key trends to keep an eye on in the coming years:

  • Increasing emphasis on technology: As libraries embrace digital resources and services, librarians with tech skills will be in high demand. This means that librarians who are proficient in areas such as data analysis, user experience design, and coding may be able to command higher salaries.
  • Shifts in job responsibilities: Librarians are taking on new roles and responsibilities, such as managing makerspaces, providing research data management services, and serving as digital content creators. These emerging roles may come with higher salaries as demand for these skills increases.
  • Salary competition from related fields: Related professions such as archivists, curators, and information scientists may offer comparable salaries to librarians, which could make it more challenging for libraries to attract and retain qualified talent.

Despite these trends, some factors such as budget constraints and changes in funding sources may prevent salary growth in the short term. However, the overall outlook for librarian salaries remains positive, particularly for those who stay up-to-date with the latest trends and developments in the field.

For more information on librarian salary trends and tips on how to maximize your earning potential, check out the other sections of this guide.

librarian salary trends

While librarianship is a unique profession, there are several related fields that offer comparable career paths and earning potential. Here are some of the related professions and how their salaries compare to those of librarians:

Profession Average Salary
Archivist $56,080
Curator $58,830
Information Scientist $72,370

As you can see, salaries for librarians are generally comparable to those in related professions. However, it’s important to note that each profession has its own unique requirements and responsibilities, which can impact earning potential and career opportunities.

If you’re considering a career in librarianship or a related field, it’s important to research salary expectations and career trajectories to make an informed decision.

librarian salary comparison

Maximizing Your Librarian Salary Potential

As a librarian, there are many steps you can take to maximize your salary potential and advance your career. Here are some tips to consider:

1. Invest in Professional Development

Continuous learning and development can help you stay competitive in the job market and increase your earning potential. Consider pursuing a higher degree or certification in your field, attending conferences and workshops, and participating in professional organizations. These activities can help you gain new skills, expand your network, and increase your value to employers.

2. Network Effectively

Networking is key to building relationships and discovering new job opportunities. Attend local and national library events, join library associations, and participate in online discussion groups. By staying connected to other professionals in your field, you can stay informed about job openings, gain insights into industry trends, and expand your professional circle.

3. Be Proactive About Salary Negotiation

Don’t be afraid to negotiate for a higher salary when starting a new job or during performance reviews. Do your research on industry salaries and come prepared with a strong case for why you deserve a higher salary. Be confident, professional, and respectful throughout the negotiation process.

4. Stay Informed about Industry Trends

Read industry publications, attend workshops and conferences, and participate in online discussions to stay up-to-date on emerging trends and best practices in the library field. By staying informed and knowledgeable, you can position yourself as a valuable asset to employers and increase your chances of career advancement.

5. Consider Specializing

Specializing in a particular area of library science can help you become a sought-after expert in your field, which can lead to higher salaries and more opportunities for advancement. Consider pursuing a specialization in areas such as digital archives, cataloging, or data management to increase your value to employers.

By following these tips, you can increase your earning potential and build a successful career in the library field.


Q: What factors can influence a librarian’s salary?

A: A librarian’s salary can be influenced by various factors, including education, experience, geographic location, and job responsibilities.

Q: What is the average salary for librarians in the United States?

A: The average salary for librarians in the United States can vary based on factors such as education level, years of experience, and specialization within the library field.

Q: Are there regional variations in librarian salaries?

A: Yes, librarian salaries can vary between states in the United States. Some states may offer higher salaries due to factors like cost of living and job demand.

Q: What factors can impact librarian salaries in the future?

A: Factors such as job market demand, funding availability, and industry trends can impact librarian salaries in the future. Additionally, the evolving role of librarians in the digital age may affect salary expectations.

Q: How does the salary of librarians in public libraries compare to those in academic libraries?

A: Librarian salaries can vary between public libraries and academic libraries. Factors such as the size of the institution, funding sources, and educational requirements can contribute to these variations.

Q: What are some tips for negotiating a higher librarian salary?

A: To negotiate a higher librarian salary, it’s important to conduct market research, prepare a strong case, and effectively communicate your value to employers. These strategies can increase your chances of achieving a higher salary.

Q: What are the projected salary trends for librarians in the coming years?

A: The projected salary trends for librarians may be influenced by emerging roles and responsibilities, as well as technological advancements in the library field. Staying informed about these trends can help anticipate future salary expectations.

Q: How do librarian salaries compare to those in related professions?

A: Librarian salaries can be compared to those in related professions such as archivists, curators, and information scientists. This comparison can provide insights into salary differences and career prospects in these fields.

Q: How can librarians maximize their salary potential?

A: Librarians can maximize their salary potential by engaging in continuous professional development, networking, and staying informed about industry trends. These actions can enhance career opportunities and earning potential in the library field.

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