Sunday, March 25, 2012

Winning your Next Budget Battle

This was a wonderful pre-conference session offered by Merris Sumrall.  Merris is the director of the Library Foundation which services as the support foundation for the Multnomah County Public Library system in Portland, Oregon.  The session began with each participant introducing themselves and their library.  But perhaps the most interesting part of introductions was the request to identify their current challenges and identify the key decision makers that affect their library.   For example, University of Alaska librarians identified the chancellor, while public libraries identified their borough assembly.  Throughout the conversation it became more apparent that the question was much more complicated.  For a school library for example, the principal may set the individual library budget, the principal’s budget is determined by the school board, and the school board’s budget is dependent on borough funding.

The session than focused on creating PR campaigns that targets those who hold the purse strings.    In addition to advocating for secure funding, the Library Foundation also seeks to engage library patrons.  The Multnomah County Public Library has a friend’s organization that any library would envy.  However, Sumrall gave useful ideas that can help any library master the art of advocacy.  You can learn more about the Library Foundation at

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