The first step in achieving pay commensurate with the work performed, referred to as “pay equity,” is to understand the job duties and responsibilities. It will help to re-read the previous section in this chapter, What Do Public Library Directors Do?
Too often the work of library directors and staff is not understood, is undervalued and is not compensated fairly. In other words, many library directors (and staff) receive lower pay than other employees who do comparable work.
The questionnaire called “The Value of Librarians: Reaching Equitable Compensation,” can be used to compare to other positions in the local city or school district. Available on Iowa Library Services’ website, this tool helps to gather information about duties and responsibilities, education required, experience, computer skills, communication and contacts, customer satisfaction and service, working conditions, complexity and problem solving, and decision making. The information can then be used to compare to similar positions. In some libraries, the director’s position might be comparable to the city clerk; in another city, it might compare to another city department head. In any case, pay for the library director should be comparable to city / school district positions with similar education requirements and responsibilities.
A caution…library boards and directors often ask about salaries of directors of nearby libraries of like size. While that can be useful information it should not be the sole basis for decisions on salary for the library director. Because low pay is a common concern among libraries, comparing to other libraries’ salary schedules is often comparing to equally low salaries that don’t adequately compensate for the work performed.