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School Library Media Centers in Colorado: A 1995-96 Status Report

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.”

Whoever said it, it could not have been truer of Colorado’s school library media centers (LMCs) in 1996. The 1995-96 school year was another year of dramatic changes associated with the information superhighway, but it was also the second year in a row of alarming LMC staff cuts.

Following is a brief summary of the good news and the bad news about LMCs:

The Good News

  • School libraries really have become multimedia information centers. Almost 28,000 CD-ROM products are available via the state’s LMCs—an increase of more than three and a half times since 1994. Video collections have almost doubled in size during the same period.

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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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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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