Planning and Budgeting: Executive Board Grapples with Financial Challenges
Fiels, Keith Michael, American Libraries
At the ALA Executive Board's spring meeting, held April 23--25 at the Association's headquarters in Chicago, the board spent a significant amount of time discussing the draft ALA 2015 Strategic Plan and the latest revisions made to the plan based on comments provided by over 750 ALA members. The ALA Council agenda includes discussion and, hopefully, adoption of the plan at Annual Conference in Washington, D.C., June 24-29.
Work on the plan has included an environmental analysis, a member survey, joint ALA/division and round table planning retreats, chapter and affiliate forums throughout the country. Council and membership planning sessions at the Midwinter Meeting in January, a review by committees and affiliates, and member comments.
A fiscally difficult year
The board also discussed the current status of the 2010 and 2011 ALA budgets. For 2010, a $2-million dollar mid-year revenue shortfall caused by the recession has necessitated expense reductions that have included the elimination of eight staff positions or funding for positions, a one week association-wide furlough, and the use of ALA reserve funds. Efforts have focused on maintaining member services and on continuing to move ahead on strategic initiatives.
After extensive discussion and review, the board approved a 2011 budget that reflects the lowered 2010 revenue estimates, and further expense reductions. Despite more encouraging economic news, library funding, which has lagged behind the economy at large, is not expected to bounce back quickly. This means that 2011 will be a very tight year fiscally.
Treasurer Rod Hersberger will be reporting in more detail on the 2010 and 2011 budgets in his Treasurer's report at Annual Conference. Read his assessment on page 12.
ALA Membership Director John Chrastka walked board members through the completely redesigned ALA membership web pages. The 60 new pages provide information on the benefits of ALA membership, many personal stories, and such tips as the "top ten ways to get involved in ALA," designed to help members "take the next step" with their membership. …