Archive for the Library Workforce Category

Nearly 50% of library workers say the economic downturn would lead them to retire later and/or stay in their current job

Nearly 50% of library workers say the economic downturn would lead them to retire later and/or stay in their current job

Retirement_school libsImage credit: Library Leadership & Management

A new study published in Library Leadership & Management dives into results from a national survey of current library workers regarding their retirement plans, particularly after the economic downturn. Analysis suggests that while more than one-fourth of respondents ages 50-59 and almost three-fourths of respondents in their 60s and 70s plan to retire in the next 5 years, close to half of all respondents said that the economic downturn would lead them to retire later and/or stay in their current job. For three-fourths of respondents, pay and health benefits were “very important” or “critical” factors in their decisions to keep working. As might be expected, those at school libraries were far more likely to leave the field or retire early than their public and academic library colleagues, perhaps alluding to the vulnerable status of school libraries.

Learn more about the changing library workforce here in Colorado at our webpage devoted to publications, presentations, and research on the topic.

Note: This post is part of our series, “The Weekly Number.” In this series, we highlight statistics that help tell the story of the 21st century library.

In 2011-12, 52% of US public school library staff had a master’s degree in a library-related field

In 2011-12, 52% of US public school library staff had a master’s degree in a library-related field


According to survey results from the 2011-12 National Center for Education Statistics Salary and Staffing Survey, two-thirds of US library media centers in traditional public schools and one-third of public charter schools had at least one paid full-time state-certified library media center specialist. About 20 percent of all public schools with library media centers operated with no full-time or part-time paid, state-certified library media center specialists.

On the surface, these are straightforward facts taken from these survey results. In reality, school librarians and libraries are notoriously difficult to define, count, and report. For example, New York City’s 1,700 public schools now employ 333 certified librarians—however not all of them are working as librarians. It is also worth noting the term “state-certified” is a very specific phrase indicating a staff member who has achieved state certification as a school library media specialist as deemed by the state’s licensure office (see Colorado’s endorsement requirements here). This is not equivalent to the staff member having an MLIS, despite the American Association of School Librarians’ position statement on Preparation of School Librarians that states “the master’s degree is considered the entry-level degree for the profession.” So, while more than 4 out of 5 full-time or part-time paid professional library staff were state-certified according to the NCES survey, only 52 percent had a master’s degree in a library-related major.

These examples call attention to the significance of research definitions and how, as savvy research consumers, we must be aware of context and background when considering results. And don’t get us started on how “library” is defined—we’ll dive into that gem soon, so stay tuned!

Tease out the importance of endorsed school librarians with our impact study summary infographic and webpage detailing the impact these staff members have on student achievement.

Note: This post is part of our series, “The Weekly Number.” In this series, we highlight statistics that help tell the story of the 21st century library.

Nearly 1 in 5 full-time professional positions taken by 2011 LIS graduates were outside the LIS field

Nearly 1 in 5 full-time professional positions taken by 2011 LIS graduates were outside the LIS field

Weekly Number_LJ Placements_chart

Image credit: Library Journal 2012 Placements & Salaries Survey

Library Journal’s annual Placements and Salaries survey provides insight into where new LIS graduates are finding jobs, what they’re being paid, and for what kinds of positions. For the class of 2011, graduates reported a 5 percent increase in average starting salaries, fewer temporary and part-time positions, more “emerging” job titles (like “digital asset manager”), and more jobs outside LIS in fields like software engineering and user interface design. Even better news: the average job-seeking process took just under 5 months for this group of grads, with a job hunt of 3 months mentioned most frequently in the results.

For a closer look at the general LIS job market, check out our Fast Facts report on LRS’ own Library Jobline and trends spotted during 2012. If you’re in the hunt for a new position, sign up for custom job notifications by RSS and e-mail through our free job posting service or follow us on our jobs-devoted Twitter feed @libraryjobline.

Note: This post is part of our series, “The Weekly Number.” In this series, we highlight statistics that help tell the story of the 21st century library.

New Fast Facts: More Opportunities, Lower Pay: 2012 Insights from Library Jobline

Our new Fast Facts uses data from Library Jobline to evaluate Colorado’s library job climate. In 2012, almost 400 library jobs were posted to Library Jobline, thus marking the third year in a row in which there was an increase in the number of jobs posted. Although there appear to be more opportunities for library-related employment, the starting wages for library jobs posted to Library Jobline have changed little since 2008. Fortunately for job seekers, there was also little change regarding the number of postings that specified requirements or preferences for certain types of experience (e.g., library experience, supervisory experience) or skills (e.g., Spanish fluency).


Colorado’s Public Computer Centers: Bridging the Great Digital Divide

In September 2010, the Colorado State Library (CSL) secured a Broadband Technology Opportunity Program (BTOP) grant through the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. This grant funded 50 grantees to build or enhance Public Computer Centers (PCCs) in 88 high-need urban and rural communities in Colorado with high poverty rates, ethnic diversity, low broadband penetration, and/or limited access to public computers. Our new Fast Facts series provides highlights of the CSL BTOP project’s first year, including:

Visit CSL’s BTOP website to learn more about the project.



Off to a Good Start: A Look at First-Quarter 2012 Statistics from

A recent LRS Fast Facts used statistics from, an online service for job seekers and employers hosted by LRS, to assess the state of Colorado’s library job market in 2011 as compared to previous years. The report showed that after bottoming out in 2009, Colorado has seen a slow but steady increase in the number of library jobs posted per year. Additionally, interest in those positions, as evidenced by the number of views per job, has dropped off. While starting salaries have increased slightly for positions that did not explicitly require an MLIS, the starting salary for positions which did mandate an MLIS were stagnant.

Data from from the first quarter of 2012 suggests good news for those seeking library jobs in Colorado. On average, there have been 33 new jobs posted per month, as compared to 26 jobs per month in 2011—an increase of 27 percent. In contrast to the first quarter of 2011 alone, in which an average of 27 jobs per month were posted, 22 percent more jobs were posted in the first quarter of 2012 (Chart 1).

New jobs posted from January to April of 2012 were viewed an average of 761 times each, a decrease from 1,951 views per posting in all of 2011. This decrease could signify a less competitive job market, although it could be attributed to other reasons, such as the rise in the number of Library Jobline users who receive news about available positions via email, RSS feed, or Twitter.

These “Hot Jobs” were viewed more than any others in the first quarter of 2012:

Librarian, High Plains Library District, Erie Community Library

  • $20/hour
  • 30 hours/week

 Senior Librarian, The Denver Public Library, Hampden Branch Library

  • $22.05/hour
  • 40 hours/week

 Library Assistant (Substitute), City and County of Broomfield, Mamie Doud Eisenhower Public Library

  • $15/hour
  • On call

Only 22 percent of first-quarter 2012 postings required an MLS or MLIS degree, as compared with 33 percent in all of 2011. Nineteen percent would give preference to candidates with an MLS or MLIS, and 59 percent of all first quarter 2012 postings did not specify any such preference or requirement (Chart 2).

Of 147 jobs that were open (not posted) in the first quarter of 2012, 17 (12%) did not list starting salaries. With those exceptions, the average starting salary for positions that did not require or prefer an MLIS was $19 per hour, or $2 more than the average starting salary for similar positions in 2011. The starting salary for positions that preferred an MLS/MLIS dipped by $2 however, from $21 to $19 per hour. Starting salaries for positions that required an MLS/MLIS rose slightly, from an average of $24 per hour to $24.25.

Data from the first quarter of 2012 does not conclusively show changes, either for the better or worse, to the library job market in Colorado. However, this information does help job seekers and employers to stay abreast of library hiring trends.


Are you an employer or job seeker? Set up a customized account at, and follow Library Jobline on Twitter: @LibraryJobline.

Clearer Skies Ahead? Using Statistics from to Gauge Changes in Colorado’s Library Job Climate

Data pulled from Library Jobline, the online matchmaking tool for library job seekers and employers maintained by LRS, shows that in 2011, Colorado’s library job market continued to improve for the second consecutive year since the most recent recession.  The average number of jobs posted per month and annually rose from previous years, and starting salaries increased for positions which did not require an MLIS degree.  In addition to examining 2011 data from Library Jobline, this Fast Facts also looks at national trends, using information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the American Library Association, and Library Journal. Click here to read the Fast Facts report in its entirety. Also, an update to this information, discussing Library Jobline data from the first quarter of 2012, can be found here.


School Librarian Numbers Decline from 2004-2005 to 2010-2011

Our new Fast Facts discusses recent trends in public school librarian staffing and student enrollment. Based on an analysis of National Center for Education Statistics data, public school librarian staffing numbers remained relatively stable from 2004-05 (the first year this data was reported) to 2007-08. However, these positions nationwide declined by 8 percent from 2007-08 to 2010-11, while the total number of students increased by 2 percent. In Colorado, this gap was more pronounced: school librarian positions fell by 9 percent during this time period, while the total number of students rose by 5 percent.


New Fast Facts: ALA-MLS Librarian Staffing Levels in Colorado and U.S. Public Libraries

Our new Fast Facts, “ALA-MLS Librarian Staffing in Colorado and U.S. Public Libraries,” will pique the interest of anyone who has wondered about the distribution of librarians to ALA-MLS-accredited librarians, or about the proportions of librarians to other staff, in Colorado or the U.S. at large. Based on an analysis of Colorado and national public library staffing data, we found that in spite of the recent recession, these ratios have remained relatively stable over time, and that Colorado is keeping pace with national trends. The Fast Facts is available here.


What is the value of an MLIS to you? recently posted an article on “The Best And Worst Master’s Degrees For Jobs,”  and a Master’s in Library and Information Science was ranked the No. 1 worst degree. These rankings were based on mid-career median pay and estimated rate of growth of careers in 35 popular degrees. The results of our 60-second poll “The Value of an MLIS to You,” however, show a different picture of the degree’s worth, one beyond monetary potential. Those who completed the survey were certainly concerned about the job market and salaries, but our respondents also left lengthy comments about the intrinsic rewards of the profession, and 79% agreed that the degree was worth the time and money invested.

Read the full report with analysis of the comments here, or see the highlights in our Fast Facts report.


Edited to add: ALA President Maureen Sullivan has a nice response to the Forbes article in the Washington Post.

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LRS is part of the Colorado State Library, a unit of the Colorado Department of Education. We design and conduct library research for library and education professionals, public officials, and the media to inform practices and assessment needs. We partner with the Library and Information Science program at University of Denver's Morgridge College of Education to provide research fellowships to current MLIS students.

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