Reading, writing and landscaping.

madcow shares this article from Mother Jones about "how teacher pay leaves many scrounging during the summers to make ends meet."

madcow adds, "You may have heard of Dave Eggers, the author of the article who also wrote A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius."

Is it relevant to LIS? Considering that many media specialists are teachers, I think it's relevant. Also, replace "teachers" with "librarians" in the following quote, and you'll be nodding your head.

"We love teachers, we think they're saints, but most of us consider unavoidable the fact that they are underpaid and often have to work two or three extra jobs to maintain a middle-class existence.

The latest statistics put the average teacher's salary at about $46,000; some teachers earn a little more, some a little less (the average teacher's salary—not the starting salary—is $38,000 in Kansas, $36,000 in New Mexico, and $32,000 in South Dakota). Overall, that's about the same that we pay pile-driver operators ($45,980) and about $8,000 less than the average elevator repairman pulls down. Meanwhile, a San Francisco dockworker makes about $115,000, while the clerk who logs shipping records into the longshoreman's computer makes $136,000."

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What about Going to School in the Summer?

Many of us take classes to improve our skills, and to advance on the local pay scale. Grad school doesn't leave a lot of time for second jobs.
I, for one, do not feel underpaid. Factor in the "unpaid" vacation time we see in public schools, the entire salary picture is a bit more palatable. And, I live in the state that was profiled in the MJ article. Reading all about again in the national press just made me melancholy. Our district's at the same staffing level as we were 22 years ago, yet our enrollment has increased by over 500. (I'd do the math, but that subject has never been a forte).

underpaid and underappreciated?

ALA is the organization that is supposed to represent the value and worth of libraries and librarians to the "stakeholders." Seems to not be meeting its goals. Those average salaries of teachers represent 9.5 - 10 months employment, not 12 as with librarians. I don't care much for NEA, but I think it does a better job of lobbying about the importance of educators.

Think Jimmy...

...Hoffa that is. Teachers get paid more not out of respect of profession but clout of unions. They outnumber us by quite a bit too. If vouchers ever become standard your liable to see a shift in pay, downward.

But yes, ALA is not doing what it is supposed to be doing.

Was that a pig that just flew by?

Wow.I'm sure you'll correct me if I missed your intent, but it sounds to me like you're making a great argument as to why more librarians should be unionized.Good lord, could it be that you've finally said something I agree with?

Yeah unions are great

Unions are the ones that got teachers more money than librarians. They are also the ones that got that clerk the 136K for entering data into a computer.

Who cares about Masters degreed librarians. Not the unions and not the ALA.

For 136K I'll join the union. For 136K I'll wear a hoop skirt and skip to work. I did DB2 and Oracle DBA work for less than that.

Talk about ogranized crime, paying someguy who operates a crane to unload ships 115K or some guy to type 136K, now thats organized crime.

In fairness to ALA

Mitch Freedman did a tremendous job on trying to get the salary ball rolling during his presidential year. Also, ALA, because of its tax status, could not lobby for its members in the way that the NEA (or similar orgs) does. With the creation of the Allied Professional Association (ALA-APA) a couple years ago, ALA made it possible to become more of an institutional advocate for its members. Unfortunately, Mitch's initiative coincided with one of the worst economic periods in recent history, with budgets being slashed and libraries being closed. The focus, I believe, has moved to advocating for the very existence of libraries rather than specifically on salaries and pay equity. The good news is that the Salaries task force was rolled over into a standing committee of ALA. We are behind in this sort of advocacy...there's plenty of work to be done if you're looking to help out.

Rochelle, donning her Councilor hat

Re:Yeah unions are great

No, organized crime is a system where CEOs of top companies get paid an average of 400 times what the workers in their companies make, give themselves enormous bonuses completely unrelated to the companies' performance, skip out after selling all their stock right before it crashes (based on illegal insider information, of course)...and do no jail time at all.Actually, I guess that would more accurately be considerd DISorganized crime, since the regulatory agencies that were supposed to police such behavior have been gutted.

Re:Yeah unions are great

Well, all but the part about insider trading are completely legal. So they make more than the front line workers, they have the business acumen to rate that kind of pay.


I think the system your thinking of is called communism. We don't go for that in the States. Cuba is big on it I'm told. I think the Chinese also dabble in it.


I don't know what regulatory agencies that have been gutted that you are talking about, is it the ones prosecuting Fastow, Reiker, Stewart, ArthurAnderson, PWC, E&Y, for improper accounting and insider trading. We all know that no one convicted of insider trading is going to jail.

Do you make up all of your arguments? Name one person convicted of insider trading who did not do time. Remember if they were not convicted that means they are have not been found guilty of the crime.

Re:In fairness to ALA

Well I am going to Orlando at the end of the month and I'm sure there will be discussion about this. I'll listen with an open mind. Now that the economy is improving perhaps advocating for salaries can be a prime concern again.

It tried, it diedRe:Was that a pig that just flew

Definitly not pro-union. We don't have the numbers for one thing and for another when we get involved with other related unions, whether town or teachers, we still get the same short end of the stick we were getting before.

Bottom line is I think we can work to keep salaries livable but they'll never be great, thats supposed to be one of the downsides of working on the public payroll (job security and benefits being an upside). That's one of the reasons I'm anti-MLS for frontline positions, the pay doesn't match the education and never will and the lack of alternative education is why I think ALA has dropped the ball.

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