May 28, 2022

New Reports: Association of Research Libraries (ARL) Releases 2015-2016 Statistical Reports & 2016–2017 Annual Salary Survey

Note: The ARL Statistics 2015–2016ARL Academic Law Library Statistics 2015–2016ARL Academic Health Sciences Library Statistics 2015–2016, and ARL Annual Salary Survey 2016–2017  are fee-based reports  Selected finding are shared below. 

ARL Statistics

From the Association of Research Libraries (ARL):

2018-07-17_10-23-41The Association of Research Libraries (ARL) has published the ARL Statistics 2015–2016ARL Academic Law Library Statistics 2015–2016, and ARL Academic Health Sciences Library Statistics 2015–2016. These three publications present information describing the collections, staffing, expenditures, and service activities of the Association’s 124 member libraries in fiscal year 2015–2016. Of these 124 members, 114 are university libraries (15 in Canada and 99 in the US); the remaining 10 are public, governmental, and nonprofit research libraries (1 in Canada, 9 in the US). The law and health sciences publications focus on the 72 law libraries and 58 medical libraries among the Association’s membership that completed the law and health sciences surveys.

The ARL libraries are a relatively small subset of libraries in North America, but they account for a large portion of academic library resources in terms of assets, expenditures, and the number of users they serve. The total expenditures of all 124 member libraries in 2015–2016 were almost $4.7 billion; of that, approximately $3.5 billion was spent by the 114 university libraries and more than $1.3 billion by the nonuniversity libraries. The total number of participants in group presentations reported by all libraries was 3.1 million; the number of reference transactions was 5.6 million. The reporting law libraries spent a total of $211,417,122, delivered presentations to 110, 634 individuals, and reported 232,542 reference transactions. The reporting health sciences libraries spent a total of $238,148,802, delivered presentations to 198,549 individuals, and reported 331,601 reference transactions.

Salary Survey

From the Association of Research Libraries (ARL):

2018-07-17_10-25-19The Association of Research Libraries (ARL) has published the ARL Annual Salary Survey 2016–2017, which analyzes salary data for professional staff working in the 124 ARL member libraries during 2016–2017. Data are reported for 10,245 professional staff in the 114 university ARL libraries and for 5,337 professional staff in the 10 nonuniversity ARL libraries. In the Salary Survey, data for university library staff are usually reported in three distinct groups: general library systems, health sciences libraries, and law libraries.

The 2016–2017 data show that salary increases for professional staff in Canadian and US ARL libraries surpassed inflation. The median salary for professionals in US ARL university libraries in 2016–2017 was $72,560, an increase of 1.9% over the 2015–2016 median salary of $71,203. The US CPI rose 0.8% during the same period. The Canadian CPI rose 1.3%, and median salaries in Canadian university libraries increased from $94,236 (Canadian dollars) to $97,380 (Canadian dollars), a rise of 3.3%.

The ARL Annual Salary Survey 2016–2017 analyzes salary data from a number of different perspectives, including race, ethnicity, and gender. Minority librarians make up 15.0% of the professional staff in US ARL university libraries; the percentage of minorities in managerial or administrative positions is lower. Women comprise 67.5% of minority staff members. Gender-based salary differentials persist in ARL libraries in 2016–2017. The overall salary for women in the 114 ARL university libraries is 94.8% of that paid to men.

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.