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Outputs and budgeting- it takes a community

On reading about ways of budgeting in a library, I became yet again aware of how little I know and so at this stage without experience, my opinions are very loosely held.

Evaluating and assessing the effective collections as a means of resourcing the library seems a sensible approach with an identification of the resources allocated into the varied text types and sources. However, working out the sums required left me feeling overwhelmed as I know that my current school library has a budget half of what is suggested as a means of maintaining an effective collection. Also, direction is needed for what purpose, needs, and with what paradigms do we develop an effective collection?

The output method based on use of resources appears to have some benefits but, would depend upon how well the library collection addresses the needs of all stakeholders. Within a Secondary school it would be easier to service the needs of humanities departments than mathematics and so to continue to cater for the ones already successfully utilising the collecting would continue to build imbalance and inequity within a system.

By selecting the core mission of the library and therefore the budget as a means of meeting learning needs it is essential that librarians know their learners and also collaborate with their professional colleagues to ensure that budget expenditure maximises learning opportunities within the library.

From someone who clearly knows much more than I do, I like the following rationalisation as it recognises the importance of a budget as an intentional measure in meeting the needs of a learning community.

‘Collections are often found to be at less than optimal standards, and so, need funding to achieve four purposes:

• to replace materials which are worn, outdated or unsuitable

• to build areas of the collection which cannot sufficiently support user demand

• to develop new collection areas and services to meet anticipated user demand, and

• to build the collection generally, so that it reflects state or provincial standards,’ (Debowski, 2001, p.303)

This for me is a starting point, a reference model for what I want a library to look like, to do, and who I want to involve, it is the enactment of the collaboration, the stewardship, and the thinking required as outlined in my previous post. It isn’t just outputs or inputs, but a mixture depending on the particular needs of the community.

References

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, Charles Sturt University. (e-reserve)

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