Librarian Salary

Curious about becoming a librarian? This complete guide gives you all the information you need to know about librarian salaries, including national averages and salaries for different sub-fields.

How Much Do Librarians Make?

As a librarian, you can generally expect to be responsible for managing a collection of books and other resources aimed toward helping patrons deepen and expand their knowledge base.

The majority of librarians (those between the 10th and 90th percentile) across the U.S. make between $34,000 and $92,000. However, how much you can make depends on common factors, like location, experience, and the skills you bring to the table. For example, if you're familiar with providing technology support or bibliographic instruction, you could negotiate a higher wage. The state you live in makes a big difference, too, with those in California, Maryland, and Alaska averaging much higher salaries than those in Idaho and West Virginia, for example.

Let's take a look at the average librarian salary across some states and for various librarian positions.

Average Librarian Salary

In 2018, the national average salary for all librarians was $60,760. This average reflects careers in the many different specific work environments available to librarians, including jobs in schools, private institutions, hospitals, and at public libraries. The pay for librarians varies significantly, but the highest and lowest average salaries for librarians can be found in the following states:

State Average Librarian Salary (Top 5)
California $76,940
Maryland $71,440
Alaska $70,920
Virginia $70,490
Connecticut $70,230

State Average Librarian Salary (Bottom 5)
Mississippi $46,100
Oklahoma $45,090
South Dakota $41,490
West Virginia $41,240
Idaho $40,450

School Librarian Salary

  • Entry-level salary: $34,000
  • Mid-career salary: $45,000
  • Late-career salary: $58,000

You can expect an average salary of $46,605 as a school librarian. Responsible for managing school libraries, your job would consist of consulting with teachers regarding research projects and working with children to develop literacy and information technology skills. As a school librarian, you will often work together with library media specialists to ensure your library is as resourceful for students as possible. There are job opportunities available at the elementary, middle, and high school levels, and you typically must be state certified to be qualified for the position.

Law Librarian Salary

  • Entry-level salary: $55,000
  • Mid-career salary: $66,000
  • Late-career salary: $79,000

With an average annual salary of $59,251, law librarians are employed by the court system, law firms, and law school libraries. Including a myriad of law cases, law encyclopedias, and laws in print, newspaper, or digital forms, law libraries are typically used by attorneys working on cases or law students. As a law librarian, you perform legal research and help your patrons locate material. To become a law librarian, you'll need to earn a master's degree in library science or a similar field, and while approximately a third of librarians who work in law libraries hold a law degree, it's not usually required.

Medical Librarian Salary

  • Entry-level salary: $45,000
  • Mid-career salary: $50,000
  • Late-career salary: $61,000

Medical librarians are specialized reference librarians who work in hospitals, medical schools, and insurance companies. Their average salary is $55,329 annually. As a medical librarian, you might help healthcare professionals or the public access a range of information on medical treatments and care. Specializing in a particular area, like consumer health information or disaster information, might also offer a salary boost.

Public Librarian Salary

  • Entry-level salary: $45,000
  • Mid-career salary: $49,000
  • Late-career salary: $61,000

There are more public librarian jobs than any other type, since nearly every city has a public library. Responsibilities include choosing and selecting materials for the library holdings, helping patrons with research questions, and coordinating library programming. As city employees, public librarians working for the local government earn an average of $54,560. Depending on your state, you may need certification to work as a public librarian.

Technical Librarian Salary

  • Entry-level salary: $40,000
  • Mid-career salary: $45,000
  • Late-career salary: $50,000

A technical librarian makes an average salary of $47,792. In addition to standard librarian duties, a technical librarian also works with the technology found within libraries, like various library resource management software and reference databases. In this role, you might also be responsible for digital curation due to the upward trending of electronic media in libraries.

College Librarian Salary

College librarians work with students and faculty to find resources to assist them in research projects. In this role, you might also organize and purchase academic and reference materials for the library and instruct students on best practices in research. The average salary for librarians in the college setting is $66,650.

How Much Does a Library Assistant Make?

Library assistants earn an average wage of $28,170. Like other library jobs, location makes a big difference on earnings, with library assistants in Alaska and Nevada averaging over $37,000 a year, and those in Mississippi and Missouri earning an average salary less than $23,000.

Library technicians earn a bit more and have more responsibilities and requirements than library assistants. The average salary of library techs is $35,510. However, in Connecticut and Massachusetts, they earn an average of $45,000, while those in Idaho and Arkansas average around $26,000.

Library assistants, also called library clerks, and library technicians work in all areas of the library including circulation, shelving, and customer support. In these roles, you'd help with managing and maintaining books and materials as well as performing administrative duties, like answering the phones. You'd also be involved with helping library patrons and members, which could mean answering questions or assisting with an outreach program.

The main differences between library assistants and library technicians are their involvement with library programs and supervisory duties. Library assistants typically only need a high school diploma and get on-the-job training, while library technicians usually need some related college education, like a certificate or associate degree in library technology.

All statistics come from PayScale.com (2018) and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) (2017)