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Library Personnel Costs

By John Carson Rather


SOMEONE,obviously not a librarian, once said that a college library was complete if it had a good collection of books and a janitor to sweep up at night. Penurious library administrators may sometimes wish that life were so simple when they see more than 60 per cent of their budgets being doled out in salaries and wages. But aware that the building of library collections cannot be left to publishers and book jobbers, the organization of materials to elves who come in the night, and the finding of obscure information to the unsophisticated reader, the administrator knows that money for personnel is well spent in the effort to provide superior library service, Granting that librarians are worth their hire, one may ask how well they have fared in a period of increased library activity buttressed by growing fiscal support. This paper attempts to answer that question, as well as available data permit, and it explores also the effect of the difficulty of filling professional positions on salaries and the utilization of library manpower. Despite a seeming wealth of statistical information about academic and public libraries, lack of usable data from many institutions and discontinuity in reporting confound serious attempts to make an objective examination of changes in salaries over a long period. Therefore, the following analyses are necessarily impressionistic and must be used with caution. However, since the public library systems and the university libraries represented in the tables have large staffs, the numbers of positions under consideration give the findings relevance if not statistical validity. Table I shows changes in salaries for specified positions in 10 large public library systems between 1955 and 1961. Because public library salaries are reported in terms of scheduled ranges, separate calculations were made for the differences in the bottom salaries for each job as well as in the top salaries. The table shows that, in general, the botto

Year: 2011
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