UC Librarians Deserve a Raise

The American Federation of Teachers, on behalf of University of California librarians, began talks Nov. 5 over librarian salaries and the availability of professional development funds. Negotiators aim to raise librarian salaries to a level comparable to those at the California State University and California community college systems.

The negotiations will also address economic concerns that have risen over the past several years, including childcare support and tuition waivers for librarians. The talks follow negotiations held last spring between UC-AFT negotiators and university administrators regarding all noneconomic concerns raised by UC librarians and UC-AFT.

UCSD Guardian reports: UC-AFT has expressed alarm over the UC campuses losing several places in the annual Association of Research rankings. Negotiators attribute this drop to unsatisfactory recruitment and retention rates for UC librarians.

According to UC-AFT, these retention problems are a result of uncompetitive salary rates when compared to those offered by private sector libraries, California public libraries, CSU campuses and community college libraries.


This is common knowledge....the rate of pay is so low, I can't think of one person I know in my graduating class of 2007 that has gone on to work in an Academic Library as a Librarian, unless they were already earning a substandard wage elsewhere.

Here's the clincher.....when UC offers a starting position to a Librarian it is interested in, along with the low wage offer one is told "But think of the 'PRESTIGE' you earn by of working for us. Not to mention that you'll be eligible for free tuition!" Didn't we just graduate with an MLIS? So then, I ask: what other degrees or classes might we want/need to take, Basket Weaving 101?

Where do you expect the money to come from?

The reality is, though, there are plenty of people who have the same skill set, more energy, and are willing to work for pennies who can't find jobs. It's not to say they don't deserve the raise, but, here's an opportunity for the system to say tough luck!

As long as the MLS graduates continue being churned out by library schools, pay will remain low. Although this situation seems much worse in academics than in public and special libraries.

I've got experience in all three, and I always found it strange that academic library job postings want you to speak five languages, have hundreds of publications and stand on your head, but they pay the least.

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