Librarians have a variety of duties, including acquiring, classifying, organizing and re-stocking books and other library materials. Librarians must frequently interact with and assist library patrons, and must be able to easily navigate a library's sometimes complex classification system to locate materials. Some librarians specialize in certain types of collections, such as microfiche, journals or maps and atlases.
Average Salary Statistics:
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, librarians earned an average annual salary of $57,020 and average hourly wage of $27.41 as of May 2011. Half of librarians reported annual salaries of between $43,690 and $69,260. The median of all salaries reported was $55,300 per year. The lowest-paid 10 percent of librarians earned $33,440 or less per year, while the highest-paid 10 percent earned $84,850 or more per year.
Pay by Employment Sector:
As of May 2011, more than 40 percent of librarians in the United States were employed by elementary and secondary schools, where they earned an average annual income of $59,190. More than one quarter of librarians were employed by local governments and reported an average annual income of $51,140. Librarians who worked at colleges, universities and professional schools -- who made up nearly 14 percent of all working librarians -- earned an average of $61,590 per year, slightly less than the $61,870 per year averaged by those working at junior colleges. Librarians employed by the federal government reported the highest average earnings for this occupation, $80,170 per year.
Pay by State:
According to the BLS, the highest-paying states for librarians were concentrated along the middle of the east coast and the southwest. The District of Columbia was included among the states and reported the highest average salary for librarians, $71,630 per year. Maryland ranked second at $68,310 per year; California third at $68,270; and Connecticut fourth at $66,410 per year. Other high-paying states included New Jersey, Massachusetts, Delaware, Virginia and Nevada. The lowest-paying state for librarians was South Dakota, averaging $38,950 per year.
The BLS estimated that there were 156,100 librarians working in the United States as of 2010. It projects the profession will increase by 10,800 positions by 2020, a job growth rate of 7 percent. That's half the expected growth rate for all occupations. Budget constraints in the public sector will slow the need for librarians, and competition for available jobs is expected to be fierce as those with master's degrees in library science compete for a small number of available jobs. The BLS expects that competition for library jobs will ease some as the decade nears its end and many librarians begin to retire.