It’s getting to that time of year – budget writing. I’ve been thinking about the next fiscal year for awhile. Honestly, I probably start thinking about the next year around the time we work on our amended budgets in January. At that point, I’m already starting to get an idea of how things might look in terms of increases for our databases, future needs for equipment, and possible travel for conferences and workshops for staff in the next fiscal year.
Now I’m in full planning mode. Like any manager could tell you, it’s complicated. There are many pieces in a library budget. I’m looking at different lines for our databases, print materials (which have two different budgets – books and periodicals), salaries for our student employees and part-time librarians, supplies budget, professional development line, etc. As the college has implemented a new strategic plan, we are doing some planning in the library for how our work will align with goals and objectives. I’ll be looking at how to more closely align our budget with some of our plans for the next year. As we are becoming more involved in various ways in different events throughout the college, our budget needs to reflect this.
Something I’ve been exploring more in depth over the past few years is how to use data to make budget decisions. An invaluable resource going forward will be Financial Management in Academic Libraries: Data-Driven Planning and Budgeting by Robert E. Dugan and Peter Hernon.
I don’t believe in doing more with less. It simply isn’t possible. We can’t provide materials or resources if we don’t have the money to support those things. In general, I’ve been very fortunate to be at a college that does provide what I need in those regards.