November 17, 2017

ALA Planning for Tough Year Ahead

By Norman Oder

  • Higher air fares, tighter travel budgets, hit home
  • ALA has cut $600,000 already
  • More details at Midwinter Meeting

In response to anticipated belt-tightening by librarians and libraries, and the subsequent impact on the American Library Association (ALA), ALA officials are taking steps to cut internal budgets and plan for lower conference revenue.

“At this point, we have revised our attendance and revenue projections for the Midwinter Meeting and Annual Conference to reflect the anticipated impact of higher air fares and tighter travel budgets,” ALA executive director Keith Fiels said in a message posted on the ALA Council electronic mailing list earlier this week. “Based on this, we have already implemented about $600,000 in departmental budget reductions and other cost-cutting measures in anticipation of what will be a tough year for everyone in the library community.”

“Treasurer Rod Hersberger, President Jim Rettig and I will be updating Council as developments occur,” he added, “and Rod Hersberger and BARC Chair Jim Neal will be reporting to Council in some detail at Midwinter.”

Fiels’s comments came during discussions about how ALA is responding to the national financial crisis. In one message, an ALA member indicated that numerous universities in the State of New York system will no longer reimburse staff for attending library conferences—and the increasing costs of travel make it less likely individual members will dig into their own pockets, especially since many have are facing their own setbacks.

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