BSL_location quotient

Image credit: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Fivethirtyeight recently crunched the numbers to learn more about librarians, their pay, and where they’re located based on national data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Of course they framed the discussion in terms of the future of libraries—a premise we’d argue with the authors—but we were interested to look at the data from a more objective standpoint: Where are the country’s librarians?

While we can get much of the employment data (and perhaps more reliable data) from library-specific sources, we don’t always get to see compiled data more granular than the state level. And perhaps the most interesting BLS data point is the “location quotient,” which compares the area concentration of an occupation to the national average concentration. In other words, it tells us where there’s a high number of librarians compared to the national librarian picture. (The map above shows location quotient by Metropolitan Statistical Areas, which includes both metropolitan and nonmetropolitan areas.)

So who’s on top? Vermont, DC, New Hampshire, Wyoming, and Mississippi all have the highest concentration of jobs and location quotients for librarians. Colorado’s middling location quotient of 0.9 means librarians are less prevalent in the state than the national average.

Zooming in to the metropolitan area gives us a bit more context, with the top 5 areas listed as: Owensboro, KY; Nassau-Suffolk, NY; Bethesda-Rockville-Frederick, MD; New Haven, CT; and, Haverhill-North Andover-Amesbury, MA-NH. In Colorado, the top metro areas are of course on the Front Range, with Boulder leading the pack.

For nonmetropolitan areas, the top 5 include: North Central and Northwest Massachusetts, Western New Hampshire, Northern Vermont, and Northeastern Wyoming. In Colorado, the top nonmetro area is Greeley.

Read up on library jobs here in Colorado with our workforce-related Fast Fact reports. And if you’re in the job market, check out one of our most popular resources, Library Jobline, where you can set up your own account and get personalized job notifications sent directly to you.

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.