Academic

Projected Job Openings in Colorado Libraries

The Colorado Department of Labor and Employment (CDLE) projects growth in jobs available in libraries in the coming years. Annual growth in librarian positions in the state is expected to be 1.9 percent, in library assistant positions, 2.8 percent, and for library technicians, 3.2 percent. (Definitions of these terms can be found on page 2 of the full report.) The number of openings in libraries is smaller in number than in some other types of employment, but the annual percentage change is promising for job-seekers in libraries. Expected openings due to replacement needs are higher than openings due to growth, except for library technicians. This suggests current librarians are reaching retirement age and will need to be replaced. See Table 1 in the full report for a summary of these findings compared to growth projected for other professions and jobs with similar requirements. While these projections do not take into account the recent economic downturn, there is not yet any reason to expect the relative positions of these occupations to be dramatically different.

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Courier Service by Regional Systems Saves Libraries Millions of Dollars Annually Over Alternative Delivery Methods

From February 10-14, 2003, 30 Colorado libraries collected statistics on the numbers and types of items they sent to each other via the statewide courier service managed by the Central Colorado Library System and funded by all seven of the state’s Regional Library Service Systems. The data collected were specifically for items sent—not received—via the courier, as any alternative to this mechanism for facilitating resource sharing—the U.S. Postal Service, UPS, or FedEx—would be a cost to be borne by the sender, not the recipient.

Highlights

  • Via the library courier system, academic and public libraries alone move an estimated 3.3 million items annually.
  • The additional costs of comparable alternative delivery options (US Postal Service, UPS) range from $1.4 to $2.1 million annually.
  • These are delivery charges alone. They do not include other requisite costs, such as labor, packing materials and other supplies, and storage.

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Earnings of Library Staff in the Mountain West Low Compared to Workers in Similar Jobs

“Nobody goes into library science to make money.” Nobody knows the truth of this truism better than a library staff member on payday.

Professional librarians are required to earn master’s degrees in library and information science. Yet, librarians earn much less than many others in professional and technical fields that do not require such high educational qualifications (e.g., purchasing agents, elementary and secondary school teachers, managers of service organizations). Consider the average hourly earnings of those in some of the other professional and technical fields most closely akin to librarianship (see Table 1 in full report).

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Job Outlook for Library Paraprofessionals in Colorado

How many jobs are there for paraprofessionals in public, school, and academic libraries in Colorado? What does the outlook for their employment look like for the rest of this decade? Data available from the Library Research Service (LRS) and the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment (CDLE) help to answer these questions. According to the LRS’’s 2000 data files, all posted— or at http://www.LRS.org:

  • Colorado public libraries employ at least 307 and as many as 1,868 “”paraprofessionals.”” This particular sector of the library community demonstrates how difficult it can be to define and count people in this category of employment. Of those with the rank or title of librarian, 307 do not have master’’s degrees in library science (MLS) accredited by the American Library Association (ALA). In addition, public libraries reported a total of 1,561 “”other”” staff. This category includes library assistants and technicians, pages and shelvers, and miscellaneous other staff. It may also include some professionals or “”paraprofessionals”” in other fields such as human resources, marketing, and technology. These two categories together——non-MLS librarians and other staff——total 1,868.
  • The state’’s academic libraries reported 521 “”other”” staff (i.e., not librarians, contributed staff, or student assistants).
  • Colorado school libraries reported 1,130 FTEs of library aides.

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A Salary Comparison of Library Agencies

One could say that comparing the salaries of public, academic, school and special librarians is like comparing football with hockey. A full-time school librarian works ten months out of a year. A special librarian can be anyone from a Ph.D. in a Fortune 500 company to a law librarian in a small town firm. In addition, each type of library survey has many differences. The data collected for public and academic librarians breaks them into categories of jobs (e.g., director, branch manager, cataloger). Public school data includes data by enrollment figures and per pupil expenditures. But there are two ways to logically compare these distinct types of positions: how beginning librarians are paid and how much salaries change for all professional levels from the previous year.

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The Colorado Library Card: A Resource Sharing Success Story

In Spring 1998, 133 (85 percent) of the 156 public, academic, and special libraries participating in the CLC program responded to an evaluation survey. By sector, the response rates were: public, 99 out of 112 or 88 percent; academic, 23 out of 29 or 79 percent; and special, 11 out of 15 or 73 percent. The results indicate that the Colorado Library Card program is an overwhelming success.

  • Colorado Library Card libraries generally extend the same borrowing privileges to other Coloradans as to their primary clientele. This is the core principle of the CLC agreement signed by participating libraries.
    • At 9 out of 10 CLC libraries, non-resident1 users can borrow books and audio books on the same terms as residents, as well as return materials borrowed from other libraries. Among the respondents, such privileges are almost universal among public and special libraries and are extended by 3 out of 4  academic libraries.

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The Role of Academic and Public Libraries in Distance Education

In October 1997, the National Center for Education Statistics released a statistical analysis report titled Distance Education in Higher Education Institutions (NCES 98-062). A few of the questions in this survey concerned the role of academic and public libraries in distance education. Three of these questions yielded especially interesting results.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Public libraries popular sites for delivery of distance education courses.
  • Library resources most often extended to distance learners from four-year institutions.
  • Lack of library resources perceived as a serious obstacle to starting or expanding programs.

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Electronic Services in Academic Libraries, Colorado & U.S., Fall 1996

For the first time, in Fall 1996, the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) Academic Library Survey included questions about electronic services in academic libraries. In addition to such familiar services as the library catalog, online databases, and—more recently—Internet access, these libraries now offer a wide variety of additional electronic services, such as electronic full-text of periodical articles, interlibrary loan/document delivery services, and e-mail reference service. The prevalence of these service varies, however, among university, college, and community college libraries. It also varies frequently between Colorado institutions and their peers nationwide.

Catalogs of Library Holdings
Virtually all academic libraries in Colorado and their peers nationwide provide electronic catalogs of their holdings for use in the library. Virtually all university libraries and the majority of college and community college libraries also provide remote access to these catalogs both on campus and beyond.

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Wages of Colorado Librarians & Library Assistants in Context 1994

If you are a professional librarian or a library assistant, you probably feel like your job is a combination of several other types of jobs, most of which are a lot better paid. Perhaps you are right. Consider the following data excerpted from the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment’s February 1996 publication: Occupational Wages in Colorado: Average Wages for Over 700 Occupations.

In 1994, professional librarians in Colorado earned an average hourly wage of $17.33, while library technicians and assistants averaged $10.75 and $9.20 per hour, respectively. The following tables (see full report) provide context for these figures by ranking average hourly wages of librarians and library assistants with related occupations. Note: OES (Occupational Employment Statistics) codes are included to assist readers in other states in replicating these tables using data from their own state labor departments.

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Academic Librarian Salaries in Colorado 1995-96

How well are academic librarians paid in Colorado? The answer to that question depends on the particular higher education institution and the type of librarian position. At many institutions, librarians in many positions are paid well above average compared to regional and national norms, but others are not so well paid, and Colorado’s highest salaries pale in comparison with top salaries in neighboring states and throughout the country.

This report presents the results of a recent LRS survey for selected positions and compares them with the high, mean (average), and median (middle) salaries reported in the West and Southwest and all U.S. regions in the 1995 edition of the ALA Survey of Librarian Salaries. The 6 types of positions covered by this report are: director, deputy/associate/assistant director, department/branch head, reference/public services librarian, cataloger and/or classifier, and beginning librarian.

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ABOUT

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.

This project is made possible by a grant from the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS).

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