I’ve been reading with interest the process of Library budgeting and I am glad that I have had a fair amount of experience in budgeting large scale projects and reports in my previous life as a Communications Manager. These experiences have meant that I am finding it easier to draw on the three roles of the Librarian in budgeting mode.
Collaboration with colleagues is essential, for the sum of our parts is much greater than us alone. As a member of the Literacy Committee and adviser to the Technology Committee, Librarians can find opportunities to collaborate on projects and share joint funds with mutual benefit. This might include sharing the cost of apps or e-books or teacher’s resources that apply to each of the areas.
Librarians can be a steward, providing opportunities for students to suggest new books, promoting new arrivals to teachers and seeking feedback about those that they find most useful. They can seek suggestions for complementary resources and meet with Stage groups on a regular basis to identify gaps in the current collection or flag new themes or topics for investigating current collection adequacy and new ways (especially digital) to source resources to meet these needs as a lowest cost, biggest gain opportunity.
As a Thinker, the Librarian develops budget proposals drawing on evidence from the library database covering usage, curriculum mapping, weeding and required replacement, as well as reflecting student literacy data. Ensuring that higher cost and lower cost alternatives are provided also demonstrates an awareness of the limitations of funds and recognises whole of school priorities. Offering suggestions for fund-raising to provide additional funding for the library program further demonstrates a willingness to actively pursue additional funds rather than be limited to what can be supported by the administration.
When considering budget issues in the Library environment, being cognisant of competing priorities and finding opportunities to extend, rather than be limited by the budget will let us do our own Tom Cruise and “Show me the money!”