Debowski (2001) may have written her suggestions for collection management funding over ten years ago but many of her strategies are relevant today as, back then, they focused on the key purpose of collection management – meeting the needs of the user and predicting what they will need in the future. Perhaps the element of future needs could be fleshed out a little more, though.
Where responsibility lies for the School Library Budget is a tricky one. On the surface, as a Teacher Librarian in a school it is indulgent to say, of course, I should be the one to create the budget for the Library that I have to manage, but experience tells me that there are impacts far beyond the Library Budget that would benefit additional input from others such as the Technology Committee and the Literacy Committee. That is not to say that the ultimate responsibility does not lies with the Teacher Librarian, but collaboration with these Committees is also essential so that a major expense, assumed to be met by the Library Budget because it is for texts, does not mean that the Librarian has to forego some important, planned replacement texts or Teachers Resources for new Units, or so on. Relying on the Teacher Librarian’s excellent collaborative skills and ability to take the lead and initiate discussions about whole of school planning for the coming year is essential for a well-planned and executed School Library budget.
In my experience, distributing the school library collection to teachers so that they can determine what should be added to the Library is a hit and miss exercise. It is preferable that School Library Budget Planning occurs after Stage Planning so that the Library Collection reflects the needs of the teachers and students, especially given the changes required in teaching and learning as a result of the introduction of the new Australian Curriculum. The Librarian is in an excellent position to be able to identify and curate appropriate resources in collaboration with teachers at the Teaching and Learning Plan development stage, as well as assist with mapping the curriculum needs to the existing collection. The Teacher Librarians skills as a Teacher first, and as a Librarian second, provide a unique set of skills for being able to assist teachers and Committees with the best, most cost-effective and engaging resources for their specific students. So yes, the Teacher Librarian should be responsible for the School Library Budget, but after careful consideration of a balanced collection and collaboration/negotiation with teachers.
Debowski, S. (2001). ‘Collection program funding management” In K. Dillon, J. Henri & J.McGregor (Eds.), Providing more with less : collection management for school libraries (2nd ed.) (pp. 299-326). Wagga Wagga, NSW : Centre for Information Studies,