Managing a library budget is part of the role of the teacher librarian (TL). Library budgets are often limited, which calls for the TL to carefully consider the way the budget is spent, as well as varying ways that funds can be generated. Lamb and Johnson (2012) suggest that an effective budget manager must be a collaborator, steward and a thinker.
An effective collaborator works with all members of the school community including students, teachers, administration and the wider community (Lamb & Johnson, 2012). Creating an awareness of budget challenges and opportunities allows transparency and understanding from all community members. It may also serve as a means or prompt to build relationships with other lenders such as local libraries, or provide opportunities for groups and organisation to donate funds which can be used to purchase much needed resources and equipment.
As a steward of the library, the TL understands the importance of seeking input from others in regards to the library collection. This allows the needs of the community to be front and centre, ensuring that money is spent where it is needed most. This might look like developing surveys to find out what resources the teacher feel they need, or talking to the school principal to find out what the current priorities are and then purchasing resources accordingly. A steward uses their resources wisely.
As a thinker, the TL shows innovation and expertise. They are creative with resources and may need to look ‘outside the box’ in order to obtain more. To demonstrate their worth, they need to show that they have ideas which will benefit the school community and have an obvious presence within the school.
As Lamb and Johnson (2012) point out, the TL will not always have access to money that they need and so they need to carefully manage what funds they do have and in some cases, look for funding elsewhere.
Lamb, A. & Johnson, H.L. (2012). Program administration: Budget management. The School Library Media Specialist. Retrieved from http://eduscapes.com/sms/administration/budget.html