Budget in the Crosshairs? Navigating a Challenging Budget Year

Every librarian knows that funding is under threat for libraries in communities of all sizes and all across the nation. Unfortunately, these budget reductions are occurring at a time when customer demand for library services is increasing. Every library is potentially in the crosshairs. As a library director or manager, what can you do about it?

Start here. While every library’s situation has its own complexities, this guide to Navigating a Challenging Budget Year will provide a good foundation to help you navigate your challenging budget year. It will prove especially helpful to library directors and managers of small-to-medium sized public libraries, if you’re not a public librarian don’t stop reading . Much of the information contained in this guide is applicable to other kinds of libraries too – academic, school and special libraries. 

Above all, remember that you’re not alone, and you don’t have to figure out how to respond to the challenge all by yourself. There are great advocacy ideas everywhere. ALA’s website is rich in resources.


  1. Understand the Big Picture
         If Your Cuts are Challenging, But Fair
         If Your Cuts are Challenging, and Don’t Feel Fair
  2. Gear Up for Advocacy: Turn Worry into Action
         Understand Your Timeline
         Take Some Immediate Action
         Seek Advice
         Communicate Change
         Advocate for a Community Survey
  3. Build the Foundation for Your Library’s Message
         Your Library and Its Community
         Your Data Matters
  4. Marshall Your Resources: Strength in Numbers
         Build a “Budget Response Team”
  5. Tell Your Story: Persuading Decision Makers
         Craft Your Message
         Who’s Listening?
         Communicate in Many Ways
         Put People to Work
  6. Moving Forward: After the Dust Settles
         Say “Thank You”
         Develop an Ongoing Plan for Advocacy