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Working as a Research Librarian

There is more than meets the eye when it comes to being a research librarian. For example, did you know that they make an average of $24.52 an hour? That's $51,011 a year!

Between 2018 and 2028, the career is expected to grow 6% and produce 8,500 job opportunities across the U.S.

What Does a Research Librarian Do

There are certain skills that many research librarians have in order to accomplish their responsibilities. By taking a look through resumes, we were able to narrow down the most common skills for a person in this position. We discovered that a lot of resumes listed communication skills, initiative and interpersonal skills.

When it comes to the most important skills required to be a research librarian, we found that a lot of resumes listed 22.2% of research librarians included library services, while 15.8% of resumes included research projects, and 7.2% of resumes included collection development. Hard skills like these are helpful to have when it comes to performing essential job responsibilities.

When it comes to searching for a job, many search for a key term or phrase. Instead, it might be more helpful to search by industry, as you might be missing jobs that you never thought about in industries that you didn't even think offered positions related to the research librarian job title. But what industry to start with? Most research librarians actually find jobs in the professional and education industries.

How To Become a Research Librarian

If you're interested in becoming a research librarian, one of the first things to consider is how much education you need. We've determined that 26.9% of research librarians have a bachelor's degree. In terms of higher education levels, we found that 54.5% of research librarians have master's degrees. Even though most research librarians have a college degree, it's possible to become one with only a high school degree or GED.

Choosing the right major is always an important step when researching how to become a research librarian. When we researched the most common majors for a research librarian, we found that they most commonly earn master's degree degrees or bachelor's degree degrees. Other degrees that we often see on research librarian resumes include doctoral degree degrees or associate degree degrees.

You may find that experience in other jobs will help you become a research librarian. In fact, many research librarian jobs require experience in a role such as librarian. Meanwhile, many research librarians also have previous career experience in roles such as reference librarian or internship.

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Average Salary$51,011
Job Growth Rate6%

Research Librarian Career Paths

Top Careers Before Research Librarian

Librarian
14.0 %

Top Careers After Research Librarian

Librarian
20.4 %

What is the right job for my career path?

Tell us your goals and we'll match you with the rights job to get there.

Average Salary for a Research Librarian

Research Librarians in America make an average salary of $51,011 per year or $25 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $66,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $39,000 per year.
Average Salary
$51,011

Best Paying Cities

City
Average Salary
New Haven, CT
Salary Range59k - 91k$73k$73,382
Washington, DC
Salary Range55k - 84k$69k$68,660
Fullerton, CA
Salary Range52k - 86k$67k$67,073
Cambridge, MA
Salary Range54k - 81k$67k$66,709
New York, NY
Salary Range53k - 83k$67k$66,670
Baltimore, MD
Salary Range51k - 78k$64k$63,839
$35k
$91k

Recently Added Salaries

Job TitleCompanyCompanyStart DateSalary
Instruction & Research Librarian (Coordinator of Library Services)-Library & Learning Commons-Bunk
Instruction & Research Librarian (Coordinator of Library Services)-Library & Learning Commons-Bunk
Bunker Hill Community College
Bunker Hill Community College
01/16/2021
01/16/2021
$60,88801/16/2021
$60,888
Research Resources and Inclusivity Initiatives Librarian, Law Library
Research Resources and Inclusivity Initiatives Librarian, Law Library
Cornell University Library
Cornell University Library
11/25/2020
11/25/2020
$55,00011/25/2020
$55,000
Medical and Research Services Librarian
Medical and Research Services Librarian
American Library Association
American Library Association
11/24/2020
11/24/2020
$53,00011/24/2020
$53,000
Research Resources and Inclusivity Initiatives Librarian, Law Library
Research Resources and Inclusivity Initiatives Librarian, Law Library
American Library Association
American Library Association
11/06/2020
11/06/2020
$55,00011/06/2020
$55,000
Nursing and Research Services Librarian
Nursing and Research Services Librarian
American Library Association
American Library Association
10/22/2020
10/22/2020
$53,00010/22/2020
$53,000
See More Recent Salaries

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Research Librarian Demographics

Gender

female

59.1 %

male

33.8 %

unknown

7.2 %

Ethnicity

White

79.7 %

Hispanic or Latino

7.8 %

Black or African American

6.5 %

Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

32.3 %

French

19.4 %

German

12.9 %
See More Demographics

Research Librarian Education

Degrees

Masters

54.5 %

Bachelors

26.9 %

Certificate

6.6 %

Top Colleges for Research Librarians

1. New York University

New York, NY • Private

In-State Tuition
$51,828
Enrollment
26,339

2. University of Maryland - College Park

College Park, MD • Public

In-State Tuition
$10,595
Enrollment
30,184

3. University of Washington

Seattle, WA • Public

In-State Tuition
$11,207
Enrollment
30,905

4. SUNY at Buffalo

Buffalo, NY • Public

In-State Tuition
$10,099
Enrollment
21,404

5. Syracuse University

Syracuse, NY • Private

In-State Tuition
$51,853
Enrollment
14,759

6. University of Iowa

Iowa City, IA • Public

In-State Tuition
$9,267
Enrollment
23,410

7. Louisiana State University and A&M College

Baton Rouge, LA • Public

In-State Tuition
$11,950
Enrollment
23,468

8. Drexel University

Philadelphia, PA • Private

In-State Tuition
$53,244
Enrollment
15,557

9. Simmons University

Boston, MA • Private

In-State Tuition
$40,850
Enrollment
1,790

10. St. John's University

Queens, NY • Private

In-State Tuition
$41,760
Enrollment
11,907
See More Education Info
Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary

Top Skills For a Research Librarian

The skills section on your resume can be almost as important as the experience section, so you want it to be an accurate portrayal of what you can do. Luckily, we've found all of the skills you'll need so even if you don't have these skills yet, you know what you need to work on. Out of all the resumes we looked through, 22.2% of research librarians listed library services on their resume, but soft skills such as communication skills and initiative are important as well.

  • Library Services, 22.2%
  • Research Projects, 15.8%
  • Collection Development, 7.2%
  • Research Services, 5.2%
  • Online Databases, 4.0%
  • Other Skills, 45.6%
  • See All Research Librarian Skills

Best States For a Research Librarian

Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as a research librarian. The best states for people in this position are Alaska, Connecticut, California, and New Jersey. Research librarians make the most in Alaska with an average salary of $73,745. Whereas in Connecticut and California, they would average $72,768 and $71,719, respectively. While research librarians would only make an average of $69,279 in New Jersey, you would still make more there than in the rest of the country. We determined these as the best states based on job availability and pay. By finding the median salary, cost of living, and using the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Location Quotient, we narrowed down our list of states to these four.

1. Rhode Island

Total Research Librarian Jobs:
14
Highest 10% Earn:
$94,000
Location Quotient:
2.17
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

2. North Dakota

Total Research Librarian Jobs:
6
Highest 10% Earn:
$84,000
Location Quotient:
1.13
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

3. Connecticut

Total Research Librarian Jobs:
18
Highest 10% Earn:
$108,000
Location Quotient:
0.78
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here
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Top Research Librarian Employers

1. The Dallas Morning News
4.4
Avg. Salary: 
$54,874
Research Librarians Hired: 
4+
2. Suburban Journals
3.8
Avg. Salary: 
$55,183
Research Librarians Hired: 
4+
3. William Blair & Company
4.9
Avg. Salary: 
$53,037
Research Librarians Hired: 
3+
4. Morgan Stanley
4.9
Avg. Salary: 
$59,240
Research Librarians Hired: 
3+
5. New York Public Library
4.5
Avg. Salary: 
$49,249
Research Librarians Hired: 
3+
6. Case Western Reserve University
4.3
Avg. Salary: 
$64,175
Research Librarians Hired: 
3+
Updated October 2, 2020