UC Librarians Deserve Fair, Competitive Wages

Editor, Daily Nexus

University of California libraries are at the heart of the research and teaching missions of the University, and UC librarians and staff make them work. UC librarians select library resources, catalog library resources so that they can be found in the library’s database, help students with research questions in person and online and teach classes on research to undergraduate and graduate students. The salaries the University pays to low- and middle-rank librarians do not go very far in the expensive communities where UC campuses are located.

In recent negotiations with the University for long-overdue salary and professional development increases, librarians presented compelling evidence that low librarian salaries are negatively impacting the recruitment and retention of librarians of the caliber that University of California students and faculty have come to expect. Librarians asked for gradual raises to bring their salaries into line with their peers in public, community college and state university libraries. In response, the university offered salary increases of zero and professional development increases of $7-10 per year!

As a University of California alumna (B.A., M.A., and M.L.S), a parent of two current UC graduate students and a UC alumna, a member of five UC alumni associations, a UC donor and a UC librarian, I am perplexed, embarrassed and appalled that UC administrators place the needs of UC students, UC libraries and UC librarians so low on their priority list. The aggregate salary requests of UC librarians are minuscule compared to other labor settlements the University has recently made. Current salary inequities only serve to lower the quality of education the University offers. Recent labor settlements since the state’s financial reverses of last fall have demonstrated that the University can afford to pay its librarians fair, competitive, equitable salaries. High-level University administrators, well compensated themselves, just need to decide to do it.