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Building the Learning Environment: Budget

Update December 2020:
This web page is a companion to the 2016 version of the School Library Program Rubric. NYSED released an updated School Library Program Rubric in December 2020.

Student Snapshot: Library media program has adequate, sustained funding to support student needs to attain the learning standards and achieve school mission, goals, and objectives.

The American Association of School Librarians (1998) states, “sufficient funding is fundamental to the success of the library media program. Creating an information literate society is an expensive task. The school library media program requires a level of funding that will give all students adequate opportunities. In an era when access to information defines the difference between wealth and poverty, the library media program must provide access to all the information and instruction that students and others need for active, authentic, information-based learning. The school library media program requires a budget that supports the continuous collection of information in all formats and that provides the instructional infrastructure that will help students learn to use that information in creative, meaningful ways.”

Source: American Association of School Librarians. Information Power: Building Partnerships for Learning. American Library Association, 1998. Print.

Citation for Photo: Willamor, James. Crossroad at Charlotte: Participatory Budgeting Meeting. 2010. Flickr.

This web page features a photo from James Willamor, available under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.5 Generic license.

In Practice

SLJ’s 2014 Spending Survey: Savvy Librarians are Doing More with Less

Description: In an increasingly digital world, school and public libraries’ use of digital tools, ebooks, and other resources continues to grow—even as their own budgets do not. This article explores how some librarians are getting creative and using technology to do more with less money.

Resource/Citation: Barack, Lauren. "SLJ's 2014 Spending Survey: Savvy Librarians Are Doing More with Less." School Library Journal, Apr. 2014.

Library Budget Spreadsheet with MS Excel

Description: How to create a spreadsheet for your school library budget using Microsoft Excel.

Resource/Citation: Denomy, Yvonne. “Library Budget Spreadsheet with MS Excel”. YouTube, uploaded by Yvonne Denomy, 5 March 2011.

Library Budget with Google Docs

Description: How to create a spreadsheet for your school library budget using Google Docs.

Resource/Citation: Denomy, Yvonne. “Library Budget with Google Docs”. YouTube, uploaded by Yvonne Denomy, 5 March 2011.

In Theory

Budgeting for School Libraries

Description: This five-part web report is a very useful tool in planning for library budgeting. It explores information around:  benchmarking, technology, book prices and external funding mechanisms.

Citation: American Library Association. "Budgeting for School Libraries."  American Library Association, Aug. 2014.

The Shoestring Library

Description: The Shoestring Library offers hope, incentive, and direction to librarians who may lack budget but do not lack passion. The book is organized around 300 hints - more than 114 of which are green alternatives - for administering a library in tough times. The book is divided into two parts: support functions and physical plant. The support section investigates such topics as how to best use volunteers and how to get free materials for your library. The physical plant section, amply supplemented with dozens of photos, helps a librarian identify and fix problems with dismal walls, ceilings, windows, shelving, desks, seating, and lighting, proposing low-cost or no-cost solutions to all these woes.

*Resource/Citation: Fullner, Sheryl Kindle. The Shoestring Library. Linworth, 2010.

Program Administration: Budget Management

Description: Budgeting is a major concern of a learning community. Although you may be in charge of a single budget, it's essential that the teacher librarian understand the finances of the entire school. As part of the larger learning community, it's also essential to build relationships with others who deal with financial issues. Whether brainstorming ways to buy data projectors or seeking ideas for funding literature circle projects, the media specialist must be both frugal and flexible.

Resource/Citation: The School Library Media Specialist. "Program Administration: Budget Management.” The School Library Media Specialist, 2013.

The Frugal Librarian: Thriving in Tough Economic Times

Description: The Frugal Librarian helps library professionals in several ways. It includes information on finding supplementary funding sources, including grants; saving money by sharing resources, using tiered staffing for technical services, and implementing green IT; describing ways to tap into grassroots movements to save neighborhood libraries and discusses methods that can preserve and enhance important library functions like programming, outreach, and staff development, despite a tight budget. This book offers plenty of ideas that can be implemented immediately.

*Resource/Citation: Smallwood, Carol, Ed. The Frugal Librarian: Thriving in Tough Economic Times. ALA Editions, 2011.


Name: Dr. Colleen D. Sadowski


Bio: Dr. Sadowski is the Director of the Rochester City School Library System. She completed her MSLIS at Syracuse University. She earned her doctoral degree from the University of Rochester. Dr. Sadowski’s research was on school finance and the tracking of instructional resources.

*To access restricted database articles speak with your school librarian or public librarian.