Librarians and Library Technicians
Standard Occupational Classification #25-4021 Librarians
Standard Occupational Classification #25-4031 Library Technicians
SOC Definition - Librarians #25-4021 – Administer libraries and perform related library services. Work in a variety of settings, including public libraries, schools, colleges and universities, museums, corporations, government agencies, law firms, non-profit organizations, and healthcare providers. Tasks may include selecting, acquiring, cataloguing, classifying, circulating, and maintaining library materials; and furnishing reference, bibliographical, and readers' advisory services. May perform in-depth, strategic research, and synthesize, analyze, edit, and filter information. May set up or work with databases and information systems to catalogue and access information.
Examples of other common names in use: School Library Media Specialist; Circulation Manager
SOC Definition - Library Technicians #25-4031 -- Assist librarians by helping readers in the use of library catalogs, databases, and indexes to locate books and other materials; and by answering questions that require only brief consultation of standard reference. Compile records; sort and shelve books; remove or repair damaged books; register patrons; check materials in and out of the circulation process. Replace materials in shelving area (stacks) or files. Include bookmobile drivers who operate bookmobiles or light trucks that pull trailers to specific locations on a predetermined schedule and assist with providing services in mobile libraries. Examples of other common names in use: Assistant Librarian, Bookmobile Driver.
America employs 136.5 thousand librarians and 96 thousand library technicians. Roughly 58 percent of librarians are employed in schools and colleges, 5 percent in independent libraries and archives, 32 percent in government excluding education and another percent or two scattered at law firms, research or professional associations. Library Technicians have 37 percent employed in schools and colleges, 6 percent in independent libraries and archives, 54 percent in government excluding education and the rest scattered in other industries.
Librarians need a master’s degree in library science to be considered; library technicians need some vocational training, work experience, or associates degree training with an emphasis on computers. Both librarians and library technicians need to be able to work in schools as well as public libraries.
Jobs as librarians have slowly declined for more than a decade. Jobs for librarians declined an average 227 a year from 2000 at an annual growth rate of -.16 percent. Jobs as library technicians also have slowly declined since 2000 with an average decrease of 362 a year at an annual growth rate of -.37 percent. In spite of the recent decline the Bureau of Labor Statistics has forecasted a small increase of both occupations through 2022. It is 1.1 thousand a year for librarians and 900 a year for library technicians.
Job openings make a better measure of new hiring than job growth. Job openings are job growth and the number of net replacements. Net replacements are people who permanently leave an occupation for another occupation or retirement and must be replaced before there can be job growth. Job openings for librarians are forecast to be 4,440 a year through 2022. Job openings for library technicians are forecast to be 6,630 a year through 2022.
The recently updated BLS Education and Training Classification assignments lists MA degree skills as necessary for entry into jobs as librarians and training in a post-secondary program for library technicians. Previous work experience and on-the-job training are not important factors in hiring. However, percentages from survey data are published for library and library technicians that show an educational distribution where 58.7 percent of librarians have a master’s degree, 36 percent have some college up to a BA degree and almost 5 percent have a doctorate in some related field. Library technicians show an educational distribution where 38.6 percent have a high school or less than high school education, 48.3 percent have some college up to a BA degree and only 11.3 percent have a master’s degree.
The National Center for Education Statistics reports degree data for America’s colleges and universities that can be compared with job growth and openings. New master’s degrees in library science for the year ending June 2011 were 7,441, which is up from 2010 when the total was 7,727. Because the master’s degree is the entry level degree only a hand full of BA degree programs in library science exist at America’s colleges and universities. There are virtually no BA degrees in library science. Computer science is a good undergraduate degree before entering a library science master’s program.
The ratio of relevant MA degrees to librarian openings equals 1.68, or 7,441/4,440, assuring more than enough qualified candidates to fill job openings. Openings minus entry degrees are 7,441 – 4,440 = 3,001 degrees over openings indicating some surplus of qualified applicants.
The basic wage data from the BLS occupational employment survey includes a wage distribution. Averages are not used much in wage data. A few high wages pull up the average and make it unrepresentative. Instead a distribution range of wages is published with the 10th, 25th, median, 75th, and 90th percentiles of wages. A 10th percentile wage means 10 percent working in this job have wages equal to or less than the 10th percentile wage and so on. Annual wages are converted to hourly wages by dividing annual wages by 2080.
The entry wage for the national market in the 10th percentile for librarians is reported as $33,380 in 2013. The 25th percentile wage equals $43,890. The median wage is $55,690, the 75th percentile wage equals $70,010 and the 90th percentile wage is $86,360.
The wages of Librarians have not kept up with inflation in recent years. For example, to have the buying power of the 2006 median wage of $49,060 in 2013, the librarian wage would need to be $56,690.80. In stead it was $55,690, a 1.77 percent decrease in the real wage for those seven years.
The entry wage for the national market in the 10th percentile for library technicians is reported as $18,820 in 2013. The 25th percentile wage equals $23,740. The median wage is $31,280, the 75th percentile wage equals $40,320 and the 90th percentile wage is $49,650.
The wages of library technicians have kept up with inflation in recent years. For example, to have the buying power of the 2006 median wage of $26 560, in 2013, the library technician wage would need to be $30.691.15. Instead it was $31,280, a 1.92 percent increase in the real wage for those seven years.