Workforce

The Status of School Library Media Programs in Colorado, 1994-97

Library Media Staffing
The practice of librarianship is becoming de-professionalized in Colorado schools. From 1994 to 1997, the number of library media staff per 100 students dropped only slightly from .31 to .30 full-time equivalents (FTEs). During the same interval, the number of endorsed library media specialists per 100 students for the typical school library media program fell from .12 FTEs to .08 FTEs—a 33 percent cut. Library media specialists have been displaced by other staff, such as library media aides—who are not endorsed—and BOCES and contract library media staff—who may or may not be endorsed. In 1997, the statewide total hours per typical week for BOCES and contract staff was 61 hours. Barely 1.5 FTE statewide, these staff served 65 schools. That amounts to 56 minutes of “professional” staff attention per typical week to the library media program in each school.

1994-97 Highlights

  • Overall staffing static. Endorsed library media specialists cut. BOCES/contract staff spread thin.
  • Book collections holding in size, but periodical collections declining.
  • Reduced spending and inflationary prices of books and periodicals mean aging collections.

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Librarian Internet Use Survey Results

In 1995, the High Plains Regional Library Service System administered an Internet Training and Use Grant for Colorado librarians. The goal of the project was to provide librarians without previous Internet experience with a cost-free, short-term account on Colorado SuperNet. Two years later, the Library Research Service conducted a survey of the grant participants to assess their present Internet usage, effectiveness of their initial and ongoing training, and the overall impact on their professional relationships with their patrons.

Surveys were sent to 184 grant recipients in early May 1997; 70 percent returned a completed survey. Eighty-six percent of the respondents continue to use the Internet. Of the 14 percent who no longer subscribe to the Internet, the main reasons given for not continuing the accounts were high Internet costs and not having enough time or help to become proficient in its use after initial training.

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Public Information Officers in Selected Public Libraries, 1996

At the request of one of Colorado’s public libraries, the Library Research Service conducted a survey to determine prevailing salaries and related data for public information officers (PIOs) in public libraries. The survey was sent to all Colorado public libraries with budgets of $675,000 and over and to public libraries nationwide serving 75,000-99,999. Sixteen responses were received including 6 from Colorado and 10 from other states.

Position Titles
The PIO function is served by public library staff bearing a variety of position titles. For full-time, professional positions, the following 8 titles were reported by 9 responding libraries.

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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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POPULAR RESOURCES

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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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