Following the post on Lis News, I just read this excellent article at Law Librarians Should Learn to Drive Their Stock Up
While I object to the first sentence “Shhhhh! That’s what you’d expect to hear from law librarians.” – Since when? I agree with the rest. Salaries at UK law firms are similarly varied – I left a job I loved, with great colleagues, because the pay was just so low, and the HR department or whoever seemed to place no value on law librarians at all. Just take a look at the LisJobNet, or one of the other library job websites, and you’ll see salaries for Library Assistant positions that range from the lowest of the low, to higher than the mid-range salaries offered for qualified Librarian positions. It is madness.
The article had some good ideas for improving a librarian’s standing in the firm, including:
Billing for your time: This is something that was done at a couple of firms I have worked at, but not where I work currently. I found it annoying having to ask for file/matter numbers all the time, but it was good to let lawyers know that we charged for our time, it seemed to raise our position, and I wish we did it where I work now.
Preparing an annual report: This is an interesting idea – and something I’d never heard of before. Particularly useful, I suspect, if you do charge for your time, or are considering it. Most law firm libraries already gather some statistical data on enquiries, circulation, etc, it would be a simple matter to bundle it together to show how much money you have charged-back for the firm, how often various resources are used, which departments use the library more etc.