Increasing Public Library Compensation: a How-to Guide for Vermont Libraries (2009)

[see full document for original formatting, graphs, tables, charts, appendices,  and/or worksheets]

Increasing Public Library Compensation: a How-to Guide for Vermont Libraries (PDF, 264 KB)

Prepared by the Personnel Committee of the Vermont Library Association 2003, Revised 2009

Table of Contents

Introduction
Action plan for better salaries
Annual budget memo for trustees
How to communicate the value of your work
Benefits for public library employees
Resources on compensation
Appendix
Worksheets

Introduction

In 2001-2002, the Vermont Library Association (VLA) Personnel Committee began studying compensation for librarians in Vermont. The Committee, composed of Nancy Wilson (Lawrence Memorial Library, Bristol), Jake Sherman (Rutland Free Library), Amy Howlett (VT Department of
Libraries), Denise Kleinman, and Maureen Wilson (Morrill Memorial Library, Strafford), focused its work on the public library director. The VLA Executive Board, on the Committee’s  recommendation, adopted a recommended minimum starting salary of $33.025.00 for public library directors.

The Committee devoted its 2002-2003 efforts to developing tools to guide public library staff, trustees, and community members in implementing strategies for “Increasing Public Library Compensation.” The components of this guide included a step-by-step action plan to put into practice locally, a marketing strategy to promote the library, and resources on standard benefits offered at other institutions. This document is intended to facilitate discussion among interested parties about library compensation in their area, and to provide the necessary tools to actually begin working to improve the current status of library salaries. Although the emphasis here is on compensation for public library directors, these tools can be applied across a range of library types and staff levels.

During 2005 and 2006, a newly reconstituted Committee began revision of the 2003 publication. We have expanded the section on benefits, compiled a resource list of print and Internet sources, gathered information on unions in Vermont libraries, and created worksheets that are meant to be pulled out and filled in. We hope that these changes and updates maintain the usefulness of the document. Many thanks to our predecessors for their vision in creating this resource!

Please contact one of the Committee members listed below if you would like help implementing this plan, or have success stories to share, feedback on this document, or suggestions for improvement. We can help you find libraries who have successfully dealt with challenges similar to your own, whether they be salary and benefits, creating job descriptions, or other personnel issues.

Amy C. Grasmick, Chair
Kimball Public Library
67 North Main Street
Randolph, VT 05060
802-728-5073
kimball_acg@hotmail.com

Amy Howlett
VT Department of Libraries
1 Hospital Court
Bellows Falls, VT 05101
802-463-0142
amy.howlett@mail.dol.state.vt.us

Lucinda Walker
Norwich Public Library
PO Box 290
Norwich, VT 05055
802-649-1184
lucinda.walker@norwichlibrary.org

2008-2009 Committee:
Clara Bruns, Goddard College
Jo Anne Edwards, Johnson State College
Amy Grasmick, Kimball Public Library
Amy Howlett, DOL
Stacey Knight, St. Michael’s College
Scott Schaffer, UVM

Action Plan for Better Library Salaries

Salary is a perennial concern for Vermont library trustees and the library staff they employ. The Personnel Committee of the Vermont Library Association is a natural place to begin working on salary and benefit issues. In 2002, the American Library Association kicked off its Campaign for America’s Librarians, examining salary and pay equity issues nationwide. To use their methodology and tools, download the 2007 edition of “Advocating for Better Salaries and Pay Equity Toolkit” from http://ala-apa.org/toolkit.pdf.

If your library is ready to consider fair remuneration, the Personnel Committee of the Vermont Library Association can help.

The “Action Plan” offers specific methods to gather and analyze community and Vermont data to  help determine fair remuneration for library staff. Use the “Annual Budget Memo” as a handout  when you are ready to discuss compensation with your library board. We also need to spread the  word about how libraries and librarians enhance the quality of life in Vermont. “Think You’re Worth More Than You Make” provides supporting quotes, statistics, and ideas ready to be used in talks  and news articles. The “Worksheets” at the end of this publication represent a distillation of the Action Plan, and are meant to filled in with data specific to your library and community.

Get Ready

Staff and trustees should convene a small committee using community resources to discuss the following issues:

  • How broad should the investigation into current remuneration be? Low salaries may be limited to one area of the library or be spread evenly from director to lowest paid employee.
  • Are other groups in town, perhaps a municipal department, working on salary issues?
  • Is the library’s budget growth in the past ten years the same as other town agencies or does it lag behind?
  • Is there a town-wide situation that could be better addressed by a wage and classification study, including salaries of the public library? Human resource coordinators collect, analyze and make recommendations for such a study.

In many towns, a committee focused solely on library employees will do the work. The committee which takes on the task of determining fair salaries should include library staff, trustees, and community members who have some expertise in salary issues or benefits.

Find Statistics and Data on the Subject

Whether you hire a human resources coordinator or use committee members to collect data, you will need to find out what similar positions in Vermont offer for salaries and benefits. Remember that part time employees should not be penalized for serving small libraries; use full time salaries and calculate the comparable hourly rate.

In many communities, local salary information is the key to finding the fair compensation for the library staff. According to the Vermont Public Records law (1 V.S.A. section 317B), the salaries and benefits relating to elected or appointed officials and employees of public agencies are available for public inspection and copying. Some sources of comparable data are given below.

  • The Vermont League of Cities and Towns (VLCT) salary survey is sent to every VLCT member town. Very few towns in Vermont are not members. Check with the town clerk or town manager for the annual volume. The survey provides salary and benefit information by the individual town for comparable positions such as library director, town clerk or town recreation manager. Look for towns which are similar in population, income, and character to yours.
  • The American Library Association annually surveys librarians with the MLS degree in institutions employing at least two certified librarians. According to the ALA-APA Salary Survey 2008: Librarians, the annual median salary for Vermont directors or chief officers of libraries serving fewer than 10,000 population was $56,617. Managers/Supervisors for the same population earned a median salary of $39,020. [Unfortunately for our purposes, the ALA-APA numbers for Vermont are not statistically significant since too few Vermont libraries meet the minimum criterion of employing at least 2 FTE (full-time equivalent) ALA-approved MLS librarians.] 1
  • The Vermont Livable Wage, based on legislative studies of Vermont food, housing, and living costs, suggest linking salary to paying for basic needs. 2 [See the chart in the Appendix.]
  • Teachers and school library media specialists in your community may offer some comparable data. Compare job and actual hours worked as well as salaries. In 2006-2007, the average starting salary for a Vermont teacher with a BA was $19.70 per hour or $31,047 annually. 3
  • Vermont Public Library Statistics are collected annually and published at http://libraries.vermont.gov/libraries/stats/plstats. Each library reports number of librarians holding the ALA-MLS degree; total librarians; other staff; total FTEs; volunteer hours/week; and amounts spent on total library salaries and total benefits.
  • Comparable Vermont state employee positions such as regional librarian (Librarian C), assistant regional librarian (Librarian B), and clerk are listed with job specifications and salaries at http://www.vermontpersonnel.org/employee. The site is useful for comparing job descriptions to salaries and looking at one set of Vermont benefits. State jobs use a step chart to determine exact wage, with steps for the increase in years worked. See the chart in the appendix.
  • Minimum recommended salaries from state library associations are given at http://ala-apa.org/salaries/minimumsalaries.html, including Vermont ($40,300), Pennsylvania ($35,132 ) and Connecticut ($52,596).
  • Eight Vermont libraries have employees who belong to local unions. See the appendix for a discussion of the issues and a list of the libraries and the unions they belong to.

Compare Job Descriptions

Within the library, positions should be compared to make sure all are rewarded equitably. If the library is part of a town-wide study, professional analysts will compile this data. Generally, tasks are compared based on standard characteristics, including:

  • Knowledge and skill required to do the job
  • Level of communication needed: does the person speak for the institution, work directly with decision makers in the community, or work with the public more generally
  • Importance of the decisions required by the job
  • Level of authority
  • Impact of the work accomplished
  • Level of physical demands
  • Type of working conditions
  • Supervisory scope
  • Budget responsibility

If the library has recently created solid job descriptions, this information can generate the job comparison. Other sources for comparison may be found in neighboring libraries or on the state employee personnel site at http://www.vermontpersonnel.org/employee/specs.cfm. The state personnel site also provides a step chart which shows the wages (but not the benefits) with each position. The specifications for Librarian A, B, C and for Clerk A and B may be useful comparisons for local library positions.

The United States Department of Labor provides detailed job descriptions, some salary data, and predicted demand by position in the Occupational Outlook Handbook, available as a reference book or online at http://www.bls.gov/oco.

In 2004, the New Hampshire Library Association published an excellent manual for creating job descriptions — “Advocating for Pay Equity in New Hampshire Libraries: A Toolkit” — available on the Internet at http://www.nhlibrarians.org/payequity.html. The toolkit includes task lists for different library roles (e.g., administrative, patron services, etc.), job analysis worksheets, and sample job descriptions.

Use a Step Chart for the Whole Library Organization

Constructing a table or chart with steps gives the board an overall tool to discuss how library staff will earn salaries based on longevity or new responsibilities and knowledge. Typically, new employees progress from one step to another more rapidly at the beginning of their careers. A library step chart might include salary increases of 2% for each year on the job over the first six years, dropping to 1.5% increase per year for years 7-12. Education increases should be awarded for associate’s degree, Bachelor’s degree, DOL certification, and Master’s degree. Often new employees will be given the first raise after successful completion of a six-month probation period.

Trustees should consider routine contracted services outside the library. Does the maintenance staff receive better hourly compensation than the library staff? Have low salaries at the top made it impossible for clerical staff to receive a livable wage? Is the employee with the most seniority making more money than the director? A good organizational chart will address inequities and the nature of jobs throughout the organization.

School step charts are available usually as part of the school contract or on the Internet at http://www.vtnea.org/Teacher_Salaries_2006-07.pdf. School contracts also contain the description of benefits offered to professional and nonprofessional staff. School contracts are public information, and should be made available at your request.

Consider Benefits

The Vermont Library Association Executive Board recommends a minimum starting salary of $40,300 for public library directors and a full benefits package including medical insurance, vacation and sick leave, and a retirement plan. Library directors should be offered a range of compensation depending on years of experience, with an annual cost of living adjustment.

Even in the smallest library, all staff should be paid for holidays, annual vacation, and time for illness or doctor appointments. Check with the town and other local institutions, and match the benefits given by organizations similar to the library. Benefits should be given on a pro-rated basis to employees who do not work full time. For example, if a full time employee earns a day of vacation for every four weeks worked, a twenty-hour/week employee would earn a half day (usually four hours) for every four weeks worked.

If the library is unable to create complete medical or retirement plans, perhaps a line item can begin the process. Budget an amount to reimburse staff for holidays, vacation, and sick time, and plan to continue building this line item over the next few years.

In order to compete in today’s marketplace, benefits should include medical insurance and a retirement plan. Libraries unable to offer these benefits are at an enormous disadvantage when they recruit new candidates for librarian positions. High staff turnover and expensive re-training costs is another result of insufficient salary and benefit packages.

Make changes

  • Start early to advocate for change
  • Look locally, but also consider state and national figures. Study the information.
  • Ask for help from a peer library— one about the same size that has done a similar job— and from the VLA Personnel Committee.
  • Introduce the topic with the PowerPoint slide show and handouts available from the Personnel Committee. Make as many copies as you need.
  • Congratulate your committee! Looking seriously at these issues will benefit your library!

1 ALA-APA Salary Survey 2008: Librarians—Public and Academic. Available from the VT Department of Libraries, UVM, ALA.
2 http://www.vtlivablewage.org
3 http://www.vtnea.org/Teacher_Salaries_2006-07.pdf. Uses 1576 hours per year to calculate comparable hourly figures.

An annual budget memo for trustees

Budget time often brings up questions about Vermont library salaries. Want some help deciding what a fair raise is for your employees? Think about some of these pointers:

  • COLA, or Cost of Living Adjustment, should be considered annually. Check Social Security Administration calculations at http://www.ssa.gov/OACT/COLA/latestCOLA.html. The COLA effective for payments in December 2008 is 5.8% . Therefore, in 2009 library staff should receive a 5.8% increase over the previous wage. If staff have missed COLA increases for several years, the raise should be higher.
  • Continuing education is an ongoing factor for librarians who need to stay on top of new online tools, and trends in the country and in the profession. If your librarian has recently completed the Vermont Department of Libraries Certificate of Public Librarianship, recognize this important benchmark with a significant raise. Check with your school superintendent to see what percentage the schools use for a step raise as teachers add credits to their starting credentials. If your town has created a step chart for its employees, you may use that for the raise.
  • Changes in job description occur incrementally. Bit by bit, the staff may increase the number of library programs offered, the number of volunteers supervised, the number of services provided to the community, or grants written. Annually, trustees should scrutinize changes in the scope and responsibility of the job to see if an additional raise is warranted.
  • A fair benefits package should be considered part of staff compensation. If the library does not offer full benefits to its staff, trustees may include a line item in the budget to offer payment in lieu of benefits. Naming the benefit line allows trustees to move towards appropriate benefits for medical insurance, vacation and sick leave, and a retirement plan.
  • Bonuses reward staff for exceptional performance. Bonuses are appropriate when staff have risen to meet major challenges. Finding new money to replace an unexpected shortfall, continuing to deliver excellent service while writing and administering a grant, or completing a long-range plan might be occasions for a one-time bonus.
  • Make sure that library staff is paid for every hour worked— or paid for enough hours to get the work done. By law, staff should not volunteer for the job they are paid to do.

Trustees may decide they need more time to understand staff salaries. The Personnel Committee of the Vermont Library Association will be happy to help review and study your library salaries and job descriptions. Contact committee chair Amy C. Grasmick at (802) 728-5073 or
kimball_acg@hotmail.com for more information.

Recommended starting salary

The Vermont Library Association recommends a minimum starting salary of $40,300 (= $19.38/hour) for library directors with a bachelor’s degree and the Vermont Department of Libraries Certificate of Public Librarianship. The following chart is based on this recommended minimum.

Annual increases should include:

  • the federal cost of living adjustment (COLA)
  • steps defined by the library: consider an additional raise of 2% for years 2-6, 1.5% for years 7-12, and 1% for years 13 and up
  • merit raises

In addition to the minimum recommended wage, the Vermont Library Association urges library trustees to provide their employees a full benefits package, pro-rated accordingly.

Think you’re worth more than you make?

How to communicate the value of your work 1

We live in a political world, and libraries are as vulnerable to shifting political priorities as any other public institution. A critical component in the effort to improve librarians’ salaries is to market what we do. Since many of our patrons, funders, and even board members don’t fully recognize or understand how libraries function, librarians must take advantage of every opportunity to articulate the nature of our work. As the Internet becomes more dominant in people’s lives, this message needs to be consistent and repeated often. For example:

  • Libraries are 21st century centers for information, for education, for literacy and culture. And librarians are the ultimate search engines. They save time and money by helping to find the best, most accurate and complete information, whether it’s online or in a book or video.
  • Today’s librarian is a well-trained, technology-savvy, information expert who can enrich the learning process of any library user—from early reader to graduate student to young Web surfer to retiring senior citizen.

Share the following quotable facts at any available opportunity, such as your next board meeting, in a press release, website, or newsletter, or during a conversation with a patron.

  • Americans visit libraries more than 1.3 billion times and check out more than 2.1 billion items each year. 2
  • In 2006, the average per-person tax support in Vermont was $21.64. The national average was $29.11. 3
  • Public libraries are a bargain. Nationally, the average cost to the taxpayer for access to this wide range of public-library resources is $31 a year, about the cost of one hardcover book. 2
  • The value of loans and use of books, videos, cassettes, CDs, newspapers, magazines, etc. to Vermont public library users each year is nearly $48 million. 4
  • Americans spend more than twice as much on salty snacks as they do on public libraries. 5
  • Total direct and indirect return on investment for every $1 expended on the state’s public libraries by Vermont state and local governments is $7.26. 4

Once your constituency is behind your library 100%, start putting your salary and operating budget into perspective for the decision-makers and voters in your municipality.

Nationally, Public Library Managers, defined as those who supervise support staff, make a median salary of $47,399 annually — and this doesn’t even include Department Heads or Directors, who make a median salary of $56,438. 6 The Library Manager salary is equivalent to $22.79 per hour based on a 40-hour work week. In Vermont, librarians who worked in public libraries, schools, colleges and universities, and corporations made an average of $19.00 per hour in 2008 7; library assistants made $13.04 per hour. 8

While your board may groan during budget season, the truth is that libraries in this state are run on a shoestring. Vermont’s libraries cost roughly $19.4 million to operate in 2008, of which 99.9% was provided by local sources (tax revenue, fundraising, endowments, etc.). 3 Compared to the cost of running public schools in this state — nearly $1.4 BILLION — libraries are a bargain. 9

For this small sum, Vermont’s libraries offer 2.8 million books, 275,000 audiobooks and videos, 6700 magazines and access to millions of periodical articles via the Vermont Online Library and other databases. 900+ computers are available for public use, and 91% of Vermont’s libraries offer high speed Internet access. 3 Isn’t it time to pay library staff a fair wage for the level of service that they provide?

Here are some additional statements to convince people that we’re worth more than we’re paid.

  • Librarians must be paid 21st century salaries if Vermonters are to enjoy 21st century library and information services.
  • Libraries shouldn’t have to choose between paying their staffs equitable salaries and buying books, adding hours, or updating their technology.
  • Everyone loves libraries, but library workers can’t live on love alone. Just ask our landlords, doctors, and families!
  • Libraries work because library workers make them work.
  • You can’t have good education without good libraries, and you can’t have good libraries without good staff.

HOW DO PUBLIC LIBRARIES ENHANCE THE QUALITY OF LIFE IN VERMONT? HERE ARE JUST SOME OF THE WAYS THAT LIBRARIES MAKE A DIFFERENCE IN PEOPLES’ LIVES:

Libraries…

  • Instill a love of reading in children through story hours , summer reading programs, and special events.
  • Provide homework help to students including instruction on Internet research and using online databases.
  • Train Vermont citizens to effectively search the Internet through one on one training and group classes.
  • Offer free community meeting and social space for seniors, stay-at-home parents, homeschoolers, and local organizations.
  • Reduce the stress of working adults through recreational reading, audiobooks, and videos, thus lowering health care costs.
  • Help people to find jobs, start small-businesses, and launch new careers.
  • Refer people to appropriate state and federal agencies, including consumer and legal services.
  • Provide free tax forms (including all of the attachments and instructions, not just the 1040!).
  • Enrich the lives of people in underserved communities, through bookmobile visits in rural areas, and outreach programs in day-care centers and retirement communities.
  • Provide volunteer outlets for hundreds of Vermont citizens.
  • Spark interest in new ideas and maintain a healthy democracy.
  • Offer cultural programming through book discussion groups, lectures, and other events.
  • Are often housed in historical buildings that lend architectural value to the town’s landscape.

Please reprint any portion of this document to make the case for better library salaries.

Sources:

  1. Adapted from “Advocating for Better Salaries and Pay Equity Toolkit.” American Library Association, April 2007. http://ala-apa.org/toolkit.pdf.
  2. “Advocating in a Tough Economy Toolkit,” American Library Association, 2009. http://www.ala.org/ala/issuesadvocacy/advocacy/advocacyuniversity/toolkit/index.cfm
  3. “Vermont Public Library Statistics 2009 Annual Report,” Vermont Department of Libraries, March 2009, page 7. http://libraries.vermont.gov/libraries/stats/plstats
  4. “Vermont Public Library Statistics 2008 Biennial Report,” Vermont Department of Libraries, March 2008, page 9. http://libraries.vermont.gov/libraries/stats/plstats based on the Economic Value of Libraries.
  5. “Quotable Facts about America’s Libraries,” American Library Association, January 2007. http://www.ala.org/ala/aboutala/offices/ola/quotablefacts/quotable07_printer_010807.pdf
  6. ALA-APA Salary Survey 2008: Librarians– Public and Academic, American Library Association, 2008.
  7. “ELMI Occupation Report for Librarians,” Vermont Labor Market Information. http://www.vtlmi.info/oic3.cfm?occcode=25402100#wage
  8. “ELMI Occupation Report for Library Technicians,” Vermont Labor Market Information. http://www.vtlmi.info/oic3.cfm?occcode=25403100
  9. Vermont Department of Education School Report [2008],” Center for Rural Studies, Dec 2008. http://crs.uvm.edu/schlrpt/cfusion/schlrpt08/vermont.cfm

Benefits for Public Library Employees

In order to attract and retain qualified employees, it is essential that library boards offer a benefits package that is funded and reviewed annually. Developing a benefits package requires research. Your community provides the best benchmark. Look at what your municipal government offers its employees. Review the local teacher contract. Compare your library to other libraries of a similar size and nature. All of these provide a picture of a fair benefits package.

As the cost of benefits soars, it is vital to find creative solutions for funding. Join group plans whenever possible. Share the cost of benefits between the employer and employee. Offer options appropriate to employees’ needs. If your library has not previously offered benefits, you may plan to phase the cost in over a number of years. Meanwhile, immediately offer benefits, like time off or flex time, that don’t raise the budget. Many small libraries start by offering an annual cash benefit that employees can use for medical, dental, retirement, or other benefits payment. All benefits should be offered on a prorated basis, to avoid penalizing parttime employees.

Legally required benefits

Social Security — paid 50/50 by the employer and employee

Unemployment Compensation— paid by the employer

Worker’s Compensation— paid by the employer; check to see if the library can join the town’s plan.

Payment for time not worked

Vacations — According to U.S. Bureau of Labor statistics (http://www.bls.gov/opub/perspectives/issue2.pdf), in 2008 vacation leave ranged from an average of seven to twenty-two days per year, depending primarily on hours employed per week. The amount of vacation earned annually with years of service. For example, an employee with one to four years of service may earn two weeks of vacation, an employee with five to ten years of service may earn three weeks of vacation, and so on.

Holidays — Employees should always be paid for holidays that fall on days they are scheduled to work. The State of Vermont pays employees for the following holidays: New Year’s Day, Martin Luther King’s Birthday, Washington’s Birthday, Town Meeting Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Bennington Battle Day, Labor Day, Columbus Day Veteran’s Day, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day. A library might consider establishing a set number of holidays per year, and give staff the flexibility to take a “floating holiday” when a regular holiday falls on a day the employee is not scheduled to work or the library is closed.

Sick Days — One day of sick leave per month of service is a common benefit. Organizations must also determine how much sick leave may be accumulated.

Bereavement — Three days of paid leave is commonly given for the death of an immediate family member. Immediate family might include spouse, great-grandparents, grandparents, parents, siblings, children, and grandchildren of the employee and the employee’s spouse.

Lunch and Breaks — It is common for shorter lunch breaks (20-30 minutes) to be paid. It is also standard practice to allow employees a 15-minute break for every four hours worked.

Leaves of Absence — Training staff is a time- and labor-intensive process. It is, therefore, expensive. Consider negotiating leaves of absence—for illness, maternity leave, or even a sabbatical. A leave policy provides peace of mind to both employer and employee: the employer will welcome back a refreshed and renewed worker, and the employee is confident that his or her job is secure.

Retirement

VMERS —The Office of the State Treasurer manages the Vermont Municipal Retirement System. If a municipality participates in the program, the library board may decide to include the library, even if the town does not pay the library staff.

Simple 401(k) — Employees may contribute pretax salary to a 401(k) plan and the employer may match up to the entire amount. Any employer, including governmental and tax–exempt employers, can adopt a 401(k) plan. 401(k) plans are available from certified financial advisors.

SEP-IRA (Simplified Employee Pension) — Employers contribute up to 25% of the employee’s total compensation, with a maximum annual contribution of $44,000 in 2006. With the exception of the higher contribution limits, they are subject to the same rules as a regular IRA. In a SEP-IRA, contributions and the investment earnings can grow tax-deferred until withdrawal (assumed to be retirement); at which time they are taxed as ordinary income.

TSA (Tax Deferred Annuity) — TSAs are long-term investments specifically designed for retirement purposes. They are available to employees by an employer under a 403(b) tax-deferred annuity plan, in which a portion of one’s salary is contributed to the plan. Contribution limits vary by individual, but many people can contribute at least $14,000 per year. Withdrawals are generally subject to restrictions and a 10 percent penalty before age 59 1/2.

TIAA-CREF — A provider of retirement savings plans to colleges, universities, schools, research centers, medical organizations and other non-profit institutions, including libraries. TIAA-CREF offers a variety of retirement savings options and schedules.

Insurance-Related Benefits

Medical Insurance — The availability of medical insurance to public librarians varies widely. Do you work in a municipal or incorporated library? Are you a town employee? Are you considered to be employed full-time or part-time? The answers to these questions help you begin to understand your options.

Employees of municipal libraries may be entitled to participate in their town’s medical insurance program. Many Vermont municipalities purchase medical insurance for their employees through the Vermont League of Cities & Towns (VLCT). Municipal librarians in towns with medical insurance through VLCT, who work at least 17 hours per week AND who meet their town’s guidelines for participation are entitled to medical insurance. They cannot be excluded, even if they are not technically town employees.

Incorporated libraries might consider approaching their town to inquire whether the library can buy into the town’s medical insurance plan. The library, not the town, would be responsible for the entire premium. This option may be less expensive than purchasing medical insurance independently at the small group rate. Also, local chambers of commerce often offer members the opportunity to participate in their health insurance program at less-expensive large group rates.

Libraries choosing to purchase medical insurance independently have three choices in Vermont:

  • BlueCross BlueShield of Vermont 800-255-4550 http://www.bcbsvt.com
  • CIGNA [Connecticut General Life Insurance Co.] 508-798-8667 http://www.cigna.com
  • MVP Health Plan 800-TALK-MVP http://www.mvphealthcare.com

Health savings accounts—also known as flexible spending accounts and cafeteria plans—offer individuals and/or employers a method for setting aside non-taxed wages for medical and other expenses. Money set aside in such accounts can be withdrawn only for designated purposes. Depending on the plan, these purposes may include medical co-pays and deductibles, prescription and over-the-counter medications, dental and vision care, and in some cases, even child care. Consult IRS publication 969 (http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p969.pdf) for details.

Librarians who are unable to obtain medical insurance through their employer have additional options. They can purchase individual policies directly from any of the insurers listed above, or through an insurance broker. Or they might qualify for one of Vermont’s Green Mountain Care state-subsidized, low-income medical insurance programs. Guidelines for the programs change annually.

  • Green Mountain Care 1-800-250-8427 http://greenmountaincare.org

Please note: The American Library Association offers members the opportunity to buy into medical and dental insurance plans. However, due to state regulations, this member benefit is not available in Vermont.

Disability Insurance — Long and short-term disability insurance is available through most insurance companies.

Dental Insurance and / or eye care insurance — Dental and eye-care services may be provided as part of a health care policy or may be provided by independent companies.

Life Insurance — Most insurance companies can provide life insurance policies. Plans commonly pay one year of the insured’s salary to his or her beneficiaries.

Continuing Education

Education Costs — The cost of attending workshops and conferences as well at the cost of membership in professional organizations should be budgeted for each year.

Mileage Reimbursement — Mileage costs for attendance at approved professional workshops should be provided. You can find the current federal mileage reimbursement rates at http://www.gsa.gov.

Helpful Resources for Compensation

Books available from the Vermont Department of Libraries

ALA-APA salary survey 2008: librarians – public and academic, originally titled ALA survey of
librarian salaries. American Library Association, 1982-.
LS 331.2 2008 or most recent available; UVM also owns.
Based on an annual survey of libraries employing full-time academic and public librarians. Surveys very few Vermont public libraries.

Brumley, Rebecca, 1959- Neal-Schuman directory of public library job descriptions. Neal-Schuman, c2005.
LS 023.2
Current, detailed, and extremely broad coverage including branch director, bookmobile staff, circulation assistant, et al.

Gordon, Rachel Singer. The Nextgen Librarian’s Survival Guide. Information Today, 2006
LS 020.23
Moving from library school through the job hunt and into balancing work and life.

Expectations of librarians in the 21st century / edited by Karl Bridges. Greenwood Press, 2003.
LS 020.23
Thoughtful essays about the qualities professional librarians hope to find in the twenty-first century librarian. These clarify the profession beyond the “likes books and people” myths of librarians.

Kane, Laura Townsend. Straight from the stacks: a firsthand guide to careers in library and
information science. American Library Association, 2003.
LS 020.2373
Career choices for librarians with sample job descriptions. Useful for librarians thinking about using their skills in many fields.

Shontz, Priscilla K. Jump start your career in library and information science. Scarecrow Press, 2002.
LS 020.23
Managing your career from the job search through networking, mentoring, and writing for publication.

—–. The librarian’s career guidebook. Scarecrow Press, 2004.
LS 020.23
Short articles on career choices, balance, and attitude.

Singer, Paula M. Developing a compensation plan for your library. American Library Association, 2002.
LS 023.9
Skilled guidance for the library or group of libraries that decides to review and develop its compensation plan internally. Includes detailed material on evaluating jobs using a point system and information to use in capturing survey data. Discusses trends in the work force and anticipating them in compensation issues.

Watson-Boone, Rebecca A. A good match: library career opportunities for graduates of liberal arts colleges (ALA Research Series). American Library Association, 2007.
LS 020.2373
Choosing librarianship as an opportunity for service.

Webliography

“Advocating for Better Salaries and Pay Equity Toolkit.” American Library Association. Apr 2007. Viewed 22 April 2009. http://ala-apa.org/toolkit.pdf

Salaries & wages

“Endorsement of a Nonbinding Minimum Salary for Professional Librarians.” Viewed 22 April 2009. http://www.ala-apa.org/about/20062007APACD15.pdf

“Living Wage Resolution Passed by ALA-APA Council.” 22 May 2008. Viewed 30 April 2009. http://www.ala-apa.org/news/news.html#LivingWage

“Latest Cost-of-Living Adjustment.” Social Security Online. 24 Dec 2008. Viewed 22 April 2009. http://www.ssa.gov/OACT/COLA/latestCOLA.html

“Wages by Area and Occupation.” U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics. 6 Dec 2006. Viewed 22 April 2009. http://www.bls.gov/bls/blswage.htm

“Teacher/Staff Full-Time Equivalency (FTE) and Salary Report.” Vermont Department of Education. 28 Oct 2008. Viewed 22 April 2009. http://www.state.vt.us/educ/new/html/data/teacher_FTE.html

“Salary Increases for VT Public Librarians.” Vermont Library Association. 25 October 2008. Viewed 30, April 2009. http://www.vermontlibraries.org/salary-increases-for-vt-public-librarians

“Vermont State Employee Pay Chart.” Vermont Department of Human Resources. Effective 6 Jul 2008. Viewed 22 April 2009. http://www.vermontpersonnel.org/employee/compensation_payplan.php

“Minimum Wage Rate.” Vermont Department of Labor. Effective 01 Jan 2009. Viewed 22 May 2009. http://labor.vermont.gov/Portals/0/UI/WH-11%2008%20Minimum%20Wage%20Rate.pdf

“Vermont Public Libraries Statistics 2009 Annual Report.” Vermont Department of Libraries. March 2009. Viewed 22 April 2009. http://libraries.vermont.gov/sites/libraries/files/stats/plstats07_08.pdf

“FAQs & Figures.” Vermont Livable Wage Campaign. Viewed 22 April 2009. http://www.vtlivablewage.org/faqs.html

“Basic Needs Budgets and the Livable Wage.” Vermont Joint Fiscal Office. 15 Jan 2009. Viewed April 22, 2009. http://www.leg.state.vt.us/jfo/Reports/2009%20Basic%20Needs%20Budgets.pdf

“ELMI Occupation Report for Librarians,” Vermont Labor Market Information. Viewed 22 April 2009. http://www.vtlmi.info/oic3.cfm?occcode=25402100#wage

“ELMI Occupation Report for Library Technicians,” Vermont Labor Market Information. Viewed 22 April 2009. http://www.vtlmi.info/oic3.cfm?occcode=25403100

“Scheduled Teachers’ Salaries in Vermont 2006-2007: All Vermont-NEA Uniserv Regions.” Vermont—National Education Association. Viewed 22 April 2009. http://www.vtnea.org/Teacher_Salaries_2006-07.pdf

“Salaries & Benefits: A Survey of Vermont Public Librarians.” Vermont Library Association Personnel Committee. 2009. http://vermontlibraries.org/finalreport2009.pdf

Job descriptions

“Advocating for Pay Equity in New Hampshire Libraries: A Toolkit.” New Hampshire Library Association Pay Equity Task Force. 2004. Viewed 22 April 2009. http://www.nhlibrarians.org/payequitytoolkit.pdf

“Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2008-2009 edition.” U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of  Labor Statistics. Viewed 22 April 2009. http://www.bls.gov/oco

“Vermont State Employee Job Specifications.” Vermont Department of Human Resources. 22 April 2009. Viewed 22 April 2009. http://www.vermontpersonnel.org/employee/specs.php

Advocacy

“Quotable Facts about America’s Libraries.” American Library Association. Dec 2003. Viewed 22 April 2009. http://www.ala.org/ala/aboutala/offices/pio/availablepiomat/quotablefact.pdf

“Vermont Department of Education School Report [2008],” Center for Rural Studies, Dec 2008. Viewed 22 April 2009. http://crs.uvm.edu/schlrpt/cfusion/schlrpt08/vermont.cfm

“Libraries: How They Stack Up.” OCLC, Sept 2003. Viewed 22 April 2009. http://www5.oclc.org/downloads/community/librariesstackup.pdf

“Advocating in a Tough Economy Toolkit.” American Library Association. 2009. Viewed April 30, 2009. http://www.ala.org/ala/issuesadvocacy/advocacy/advocacyuniversity/toolkit/index.cfm

“Economic & Labor Market Information.” Vermont Department of Labor. Viewed 22 April 2009. http://www.vtlmi.info/

Benefits

BlueCross BlueShield of Vermont. Viewed 22 April 2009. http://www.bcbsvt.com

CIGNA. Viewed 22 April 2009. http://www.cigna.com

“Publication 969: Health Savings Accounts and Other Tax-Favored Health Plans.” Internal Revenue Service. 12 Dec 2008. Viewed 22 April 2009. http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p969.pdf

MVP Health Plan. Viewed 22 April 2009. http://www.mvphealthcare.com

“Vermont Municipal Employees Retirement System (VMERS).” Office of the Vermont State Treasurer. 2007. Viewed 22 April 2009. http://www.vermonttreasurer.gov/retirement/muni/index.html

“Defined Contribution/Retirement Plans.” TIAA-CREF. 2009. Viewed 22 April 2009. http://www.tiaa-cref.org/products/retirement/employer_sponsored/index.html

“National Compensation Survey—Benefits.” U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Viewed 22 April 2009. http://www.bls.gov/ncs/ebs/home.htm

“Privately Owned Vehicle (POV) Mileage Reimbursement Rates.” U.S. General Services Administration. 1 Jan 2009. Viewed 22 April 2009. http://www.gsa.gov/Portal/gsa/ep/contentView.do?contentType=GSA_BASIC&contentId=9646

“Health Insurance in Vermont.” Vermont Agency of Human Services Department for Children and Families. 2009. Viewed 22 April 2009. http://dcf.vermont.gov/health_insurance

Green Mountain Care. Viewed 7 May 2009 http://greenmountaincare.org

Appendix & Worksheets

[see full document for original formatting, graphs, tables, charts, appendices, and/or worksheets]

Increasing Public Library Compensation: a How-to Guide for Vermont Libraries (PDF, 264 KB)