academic jobs

Image credit: College & Research Libraries

While the library job market seems to be improving, there is always room for more data! In the newest College & Research Libraries, two academic librarians did a content analysis of the American Library Association’s (ALA) JobLIST and the Association of Research Libraries’ (ARL) Job Announcements to capture the academic library job market in 2011, then compared the results to 1996 and 1988. While at this point the 2011 data is a bit stale, the trend information can be useful to those in the job market or hiring.

The researchers looked at the number, types and titles, qualifications/skills, salary, and locations of positions posted from January 1–December 31, 2011. One surprise finding: 33 different library job titles were found in the 2011 study, up from 22 in 1996 and 12 in 1988. The researchers speculate the increase is because of new emerging technologies and e-resources management shifts. Public services positions dominated in 2011 with 57% of all postings, while technical services trailed with 27% and electronic services with 15%. The geographic location of these positions has stayed fairly constant, with the North Atlantic region slightly winning out with 29% of announcements, compared to 26% in West & Southwest, 24% in Southeast, and 22% in the Great Lakes & Plains.

As might be expected, the 2011 study found a 24% increase in the percentage of job postings requesting computer skills compared to 1996, and more than 100% increase compared to 1988. A majority of positions (60%) required previous work experience, 14% preferred work experience, a quarter didn’t specify, and just 2% classified themselves as entry-level. And for those currently on the job market, take note: Just 35% of all job announcements listed salary information.

Read more about the academic library job market in the full report here. And check out our analysis of academic librarian salaries and of our own popular Library Jobline.

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.