Background on Our Budget: Reinvigorating Support for Service Imperatives

Article excerpt

The past year has been challenging for ALA, reflecting both the difficult economic conditions affecting libraries across the US and our continuing focus on a strong Association that serves its members and supports the work of libraries and the needs of their users.

ALA is ending FY2012 with a deficit. This reflects lower-than-expected revenue from conference exhibits and registration at Annual. It is also a product of delays in the final approval by the Library of Congress in the rollout of Resource Description and Access (RDA), and libraries' temporary reluctance to invest in this successor to AACR2. ALA management and staff have been able to reduce expenditures to partially offset these shortfalls, but we are ending the year with a deficit in the general fund (the administrative and program offices, conference services, publishing, and membership). As was the case last year, this deficit will be covered by the Association's reserve fund, which we have built up over the last decade to provide such rainy-day assistance.

The outlook for the FY2013 budget is stronger. Historically, both our Midwinter and Annual Conference sites, Seattle and Chicago, have been very robust in attendance and vendor support. RDA will be moving forward, and the new publishing imprints of Neal-Schuman and Huron Street Press will be fully implemented. ALA's continuing education capabilities will advance further and the global markets for ALA products and services will improve. Programmatically, the FY2013 budget reflects very little growth. There will be a 1% increase in staff salaries, and $100,000 has been allocated to support the Digital Content and Libraries initiative. It is important to note that between 2008 and 2010, the ALA general fund was reduced by $4 million and 30 positions were lost.

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There are also a number of important initiatives that are designed to strengthen ALA's capacity to better serve members, libraries, and the public. …