Magazine article American Libraries

A Look at ALA's Finances: The Association's Budgets Reviewed and Approved

Magazine article American Libraries

A Look at ALA's Finances: The Association's Budgets Reviewed and Approved

Article excerpt

This is my first column as ALA treasurer, and my goal during my term in office is to make sure our membership has a clear understanding of where ALA is financially and that we strategically use the Association's resources to support programmatic priorities.

For fiscal year 2016, which just closed, I am glad that ALA came very close to its budget, with operating revenues of $50,815,693 and operating expenses of $51,259,221. It was a rather challenging year. We include a number of activities for our revenue: publishing ($11,705,837), Annual and Midwinter meetings ($5,564,072 and $2,785,904, respectively), membership ($5,515,846), division activities ($15,810,609), grants ($6,329,463), round table activities ($434,927), and investment income from the endowment and short-term cash investments ($936,052).

Within this overall budget, revenue sources varied somewhat from original projections. ALA publishing revenue was $1,193,513 (or approximately 9%) lower than original projections, as were the Annual and Midwinter conference revenue variances of $720,403 and $220,646 (11% and 7%, respectively). Within the general fund, these lower-than-projected revenues were partially offset by $1,164,139 lower expenses than budgeted. Grants were $1,468,200 higher than projected, as was revenue generated by the divisions ($155,413 greater than budget). Division expenses were also $1,400,738 lower than budget.

Given the final revenue results for publishing, ALA management took a close look at the initial projections for the 2017 fiscal year, which began September 1. Ultimately, the ALA Executive Board approved a final 2017 budget that included a $500,000 decrease of publishing revenue projections that were matched by expense reductions in publishing and the other ALA offices. This revised budget also included investments that will help grow publishing revenue in the future. …

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