Teachers Are Not Underpaid
I know that I often hear colleagues of mine in the library profession complaining about our salaries. This study does show that teachers are compensated more than librarians; however, I suspect that the library compensation figures are significantly lowered because of small to medium-sized public libraries. I've actually seen some comments on listservs lately ridiculing low salaries offered for some positions. Some of the comments do have validity. For example, a position requiring a lot of education and experience which pays poorly is going to have a high rate of turnover. However, some of them fail to take other factors into consideration. I believe that most school librarians are compensated similarly to teachers. I believe some academic libraries may fail to compensate librarians for the difference in a 12-month vs. 9-month appointment which is typical for teaching faculty; however, there are some academic libraries which also have librarians on 9-month contracts with reasonably comparable pay scales.
Sure - we'd all like a little extra cash! Part of that is the consumer-based nature of our culture. Part of that is driven by rising prices of gasoline and other goods (which are transported by vehicles requiring gasoline). Most people who have not gotten themselves in debt up to their eyebrows can actually get by on a little less by making small adjustments which may actually increase the quality of their lives by allowing more time with families and friends. People can have fun without spending a lot of money. I know we did that when I was a kid. It could be done today as well.