The Annoyed Librarian has written another thought-provoking post. In a way, I take offense at the notion that librarians can demand higher pay, because in public libraries that doesn't seem possible. The city and the union decide on a pay scale and there is no salary negotiation. Someone else will take the job if the pay isn't enough for me. Of course, this is exactly the problem - the fact that *someone* will take the job, so there is no need to raise the pay. But the fact of the matter is that you can't always choose to go work at the higher paying libraries because job openings are so rare and field is so competitive. If you want to work in a public library, you don't have a hell of a lot of choice.
But AL is right - working in public library is a choice in itself. I could very well take my skills and go work for a company that will pay me more for those skills. I choose not to, at least not right now, because of various factors too numerous and boring to list here.
As for librarianship being a "calling," I'm not sure what that even means. I've always thought a calling is something spiritual and since I am about as spiritual as a baked potato, I'm probably not the best person to address this topic. But I think it implies that you have no choice, that it is your destiny, and it's a mystery to me why that means that you can't be paid fairly.
In my case it's definitely not a calling, it's an interest. I have a lot of interests, and maybe someday I'll get a job doing something else I am interested in such as petting cats or eating cheese. I have great skills in those areas, so I'm sure to command a large salary.