Salary & Benefits

Staff is the most valuable asset to the library and should be paid a professional wage that reflects their value and worth.  The following information is provided to assist library boards (and staff) to make informed decisions about staff salary and benefits.  NCLS understands the financial strain that libraries feel each year when budget decisions are being made.  But it’s important to note that quality programs don’t happen, relevant materials don’t get purchased, and new technology doesn’t get implemented without library staff.  Boards need to invest in their staff if they want their library to provide the best services possible.     

Establishing a salary that supports a living, professional wage for your director (and support staff) will:

  • Attract quality candidates with the desired skillset
  • Reduce staff turnover and increase retention of valuable employees
  • Save staff and board time and resources
  • Ultimately enhance library services

What’s a “living wage”?

A living wage is a more realistic wage that an individual needs to meet the cost of basic needs (housing, food, clothing, transportation and healthcare) taking into account the cost of living differences in a geographical area.  Throughout the NCLS service area the living wage is higher than the minimum wage of $10.40 per hour.

More information about living wage can be found at

To find what the living wage in your area, use the living wage calculator located at

Comparable Salaries for Non-MLS Director Positions

The majority of NCLS libraries do not require that their Director hold an ML(I)S degree. Even so, these positions should still be classified as a professional management job.  The Director manages or oversees the daily operations of the library, and would have similar responsibilities as a business manager, department head or building supervisor in another organization has.  Library directors should be making a salary similar to those in these positions.   Other positions that should be considered when comparing salaries include: school/municipal senior clerks, school transportation/building managers and local highway superintendent.  Salaries for these positions are public information and can easily be obtained. 

Your NCLS Consultant can help research local and statewide data to use for comparison. 

See  Standard 11: Paid Director for more information about director education requirements.

Other Salary Resources

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Health Insurance & Paid Vacation

Offering a benefits package is a good way to attract and retain valuable employees.  Libraries should consider purchasing an employer health insurance plan for their employees or reimbursing their employees who purchase their own health insurance.  Libraries should also consider offering paid vacation (on an accrual basis) and budget accordingly for library subs.

More information about health insurance plans can be found at