How Much Do Librarians Make?

Librarians are vital members of the educational and literary community, providing access to knowledge and resources for students, scholars, and readers alike. But how much do librarians make for their important work?

How Much Do Librarians Make
How Much Do Librarians Make? 5

The answer is more complicated than you may think. In this article, we’ll explore the factors that can influence a librarian’s salary, from location to experience level, as well as the current average salary for librarians in the United States.

What Do Librarians Do?

A large portion of a librarian’s job is helping people find the information they need. This can include books, journals, magazines, electronic resources, and more. They also assist patrons in using library technology, such as computers or printers. 

Additionally, librarians are responsible for organizing and cataloging the library’s collection of materials and managing circulation systems that track who has checked out what items. They may also provide research assistance and host events or workshops.

What Do Librarians Earn?

The amount a librarian can make largely depends on where they work, as well as their experience level and qualifications. In general, librarians employed by public libraries tend to make slightly less money than those working in academic libraries or other institutions. 

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for librarians in 2023 was $68,274, with average figures ranging from $58,868 to $78,450.

What Factors Impact How Much A Librarian Can Make?

There are a number of elements that can have a significant impact on the amount that it is possible for a librarian to earn, and these include:


The region in which a librarian works can have a significant impact on their salary. For example, the average annual salary for librarians in California is $76,262, while those in New York make an average of $80,222 annually.

The national median salary is a helpful guide, but it is important to consider the cost of living and other factors when researching salaries in a specific area, as this can make a substantial difference.


Experience is another factor that can affect a librarian’s salary. Those with advanced degrees, such as master’s degrees in library science or information science, may be able to command higher salaries than those without.

Additionally, those who have more experience and a track record of successful library management can also expect to earn more.


The type of library that you work in will also have an impact on your salary. Those who work in public libraries often make slightly less than those working in academic or other institutions.

Additionally, the size of the library can also have an effect – larger libraries tend to have more resources and can usually offer higher salaries.

What Kind Of Librarian Jobs Are There?

There are a variety of positions that librarians can hold, and these can all have an impact on earning potential and salary. Some of the main examples of librarian roles include:


Catalogers are perhaps among the best-known librarians; they are responsible for organizing and cataloging the library’s collection of materials. They must be familiar with classification systems, such as the Dewey Decimal System, to accurately organize books and other resources.

On average, catalog librarians should expect to earn around $50,520 per year.

Reference Librarians

Reference librarians help patrons find the information they need by providing advice on how to use library technology and offering research assistance. This type of librarian often works in public libraries, and they usually have a broad knowledge of the library’s resources.

As a rule, a reference librarian will earn an average of $50,409 per annum.

Instructional Librarians

How Much Do Librarians Make
How Much Do Librarians Make? 6

Instructional librarians work in academic or research libraries and help students with their research projects. They provide assistance with using library technology, such as computers or printers.

Additionally, instructional librarians often host events or workshops to educate patrons on how to use the library’s resources.

Individuals in this role should expect to earn an average of $50,234 per year.

Database Administrators

As the name suggests, database administrators are responsible for managing and maintaining the library’s databases. They must have an in-depth understanding of the library’s technology and be able to use it to store, organize, and retrieve data. Database administrators also create systems to ensure that the library’s data is secure from unauthorized access.

Depending on skills and experience, this can be a lucrative role, with many individuals earning an average of $96,710 each year for the role.


Another key role that falls under the umbrella of “librarian” is an archivist – these are individuals responsible for preserving and cataloging historical documents, such as manuscripts, photos, and other artifacts.

They must be familiar with preservation techniques to ensure that the material is kept in its original form.

Salaries in this role can vary greatly, and are largely dependent on experience, location, and the institution that you are working in – on average, an archivist at the National Archives should expect to pocket around $64,000 per year.

Digital Librarians

Digital librarians are responsible for managing the library’s digital resources. They must be familiar with a range of computer systems and software, including database management systems and web development tools.

Additionally, they should be adept at troubleshooting technical issues that may arise while managing the library’s digital content.

The annual salary of a digital librarian will typically sit at around $56,580 per year – well in line with the average for the profession.

Media Specialists

Media specialists are responsible for managing the library’s media resources, such as video and audio recordings. They must be familiar with a range of media formats and technologies, such as streaming services and digital rights management systems.

Additionally, they may provide support to patrons in using the library’s media resources.

The average salary for this role is around $58,000, although this can vary depending on the size and scope of the institution.

Final Thoughts

Librarians have a range of responsibilities and the salary for each will depend on the library’s size and scope, as well as their individual skills and experience.

On average, librarians can expect to earn around $50,000 – $60,000 per year depending on these factors, though those with specialist skills may be able to command significantly higher salaries.

Jason Sullivan
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