Equal Work for Unequal Pay: United States

An Annotated Bibliography on Pay Equity and Salaries in Librarianship

 From 1998-2002



Scope and Purpose


United States



Other Works Consulted

Association of Research Libraries. “ARL Annual Salary Survey,” 2002. http://www.arl.org/stats/salary/

This site contains information on the annual survey, which compiles data about professionals working in Association of Research Libraries in the United States and Canada.  Data from the 2000-2001 survey is available in PDF format from this website.  The site contains selected information from 1995-1996 surveys to information about the 2002-2003 survey. 

American Library Association Human Resource Development and Recruitment. “Committee on Pay Equity,” 2002, <http://www.ala.org/hrdr/cpe.html>.

This page provides a synopsis of the history, membership and charge of the Committee on Pay Equity established by the ALA council in 1986.  The committee is charged with the responsibility to advocate for pay equity, be a resource for information on pay equity for the Association, represent ALA in their involvement with the National Committee on Pay Equity, and be a network and database of resources for state and local groups in support of pay equity issues.

Freedman Special Presidential Task Force on Better Salaries & Pay Equity Site, 2002 <http://www.mjfreedman.org/tftext.html>.

This is an essential site about pay equity and librarianship.  The mission of this task force includes goals such as gathering and analyzing current resources and research regarding the salaries of librarians and library workers.  As well as encouraging new research and development of tools that could help librarians and library workers achieve pay equity.  An exciting part of this site is the Advocating for Better Salaries and Pay Equity Toolkit, which is free to download in PDF form.  The toolkit contains statistics, important messages to convey if you are fighting for pay equity, success stories and other related information about pay equity.  In addition to this valuable tool, the site contains information about the people involved in the task force, links to other relevant pages and important library documents related to pay equity.

Turner, Anne M. “California Makes the Case for Pay Equity.” Library Journal 127, no. 17, (November 2002): 42-45.

Turner presents the findings of a California Library Association (CLA) study focused on discovering the nature and patterns of inequitable pay for library workers in California.  Turner gives several overlapping reasons for the inequity in pay for library workers which include: 1) library workers are mainly women, 2) standard methods used to classify jobs perpetuate unfair wages; 3) unions have not done their job to bargain on behalf of library workers, 4) the people with the power and the purse strings do not understand library work, 5) library workers have had to sacrifice their own pay in order to preserve other aspects of the library. The article includes ample data to validate the conclusions.  The data compares education, experience, salary range, union status, and jurisdiction of library workers with other comparable occupations to illustrate pay inequity.

Terrel, Tom. “Salaries Rebound, Women Break Out.” Library Journal 127, no. 17 (November 2002): 30-36.

Available at: http://libraryjournal.reviewsnews.com/index.asp?layout=articleArchive&articleId=CA250044

Terrel’s article summarizes the main findings of the 2001 Library Journal annual Placements and Salaries Survey.  The survey found that salaries increased 5.98% for men and 5.37% for women.  The survey also found that men make $2000 more as a starting salary. However, Terrel reports that women at the higher end of the scale are increasingly making more money than male counterparts.  One of the more significant wage discrepancies is that males’ average salary in school, academic and special libraries were higher than women’s were by 7.9%.  The average difference between salaries was $2000.  The survey also reports that men who make up 21% of recent graduates from library school are concentrated in academic (29.5%) and government (25%) libraries and at vendors (30.8%).  They are represented the least in public (14.6%), school (11.6%), and special (17.8%) libraries.  Significantly, in the high-tech area men earned an average of $50,609 while women in these positions earned an average of $43,184.

Kinnaly, Gene. “Pay Equity, Support Staff, and ALA.” Library Mosaics 13, no. 2 (March/April 2002): 8-10.

Kinnaly discusses the problem and roots of wage discrimination and how it affects library workers, especially support staff.  He discusses the ALA Better Salaries & Pay Equity Task Force invoked by Mitch Freedman (president of ALA) and the goals and issues involved in the struggle.  Kinnaly suggests that library support staff feel the impact of wage discrimination more acutely than professional staff because they are sometimes asked to perform professional work without compensation.  Kinnaly refers to the main goal of the task force, which is to produce a toolkit for pay equity containing “fast facts and key messages, case studies, pay equity resources, handouts, salary negotiation strategies and more.”   This article is a good source for information about the ALA Better Salaries & Pay Equity Task Force.

Farley, Yvonne Snyder. “Strategies for Improving Library Salaries.” American Libraries 33, no. 1,(January 2002): 56-59.

Farley argues that librarians and library workers are grossly underpaid and that this issue is still linked to gender discrimination.  Farley cites many of the recent American salary surveys to prove that women are still paid unequally.  In order to achieve decent salaries libraries must stop making excuses about low budgets and hard economic times.  In addition, library schools are choosing to drop the word ‘library’ from their faculty names in order to disassociate themselves with the low status occupation of librarian.  Farley suggests that librarians can improve their status and pay by: 1) standing firm on wage negotiations despite economic downturns, 2) disseminating information on fair pay, 3) embracing the title of librarian instead of information specialist.  She generally recommends marketing the librarian as important to society and refute to common misconceptions of the librarian.

Quint, Barbara. “Gender Equity in Salaries Achieved for Some Information Professionals, but Not for Others,” Newsbreaks: Information Today Inc, 1999, http://www.infotoday.com/newsbreaks/nb1101-1.htm

An account of the Special Libraries Association (SLA) 1999 Annual Salary Survey showing the shrinking gap in the mean salaries of female information professionals and male information professionals.  According to the article, SLA is the first professional librarian group to report the elimination of the gender gap in salaries.

Rogers, Michael. “Female Special Librarians Finally Achieve Pay Equity.” Library Journal 124, no. 19 (Nov 15, 1999): 12.

Rogers reports on the Special Libraries Association (SLA) Annual Salary Survey which indicates that women’s average salary has grown to be equal to if not more than men’s average salaries.  This is explained by greater average pay increases for women over the last few years.  The article also reports that the salaries of women special librarians in Canada have increased 237 percent while men’s salaries have increased 169 percent since 1976.  SLA’s Executive Director David Bender suggests that having more women in positions of power in addition to Canadian and American laws and legislation, which forbid discrimination based on gender, account for this trend.

St. Lifer, Evan. “Women Directors at Research Libraries earn more than men: ARL Survey”. Library Journal 123, no. 6 (April 1, 1998): 14.

Utilizes data from the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) Annual Salary Survey 1997-1998 to show that women directors of research libraries make more than their male counterparts. However, the survey also shows that “men surpass women in most ARL job categories, and overall, female professionals garner a salary that averages 93 percent of that of men.”  A suggested explanation for women director’s salaries is the idea that women are filling library director positions formerly held by men.

National Committee on Pay Equity.  “Welcome to the National Committee on Pay Equity (NCPE),” <http://www.feminist.com/fairpay/>.   

This is an excellent American source for information on pay equity.  ALA is a charter member of this group, founded in 1979 with over 80 organizations and many individual women and men totaling over 20 million Americans in the fight to end discrimination and achieve pay equity.