February 17, 2018

ALA Conference 2009: ALA To Cut Staff, Dip into Reserve

By Norman Oder

ALA Conference 2009

  • $1.6 million revenue shortfall
  • Unpaid holidays, three furlough days
  • Registration for annual conference strong

Faced with a mid-year revenue shortfall of $1.6 million in a projected $27 million budget, owing to a 30% decline in advertising revenue and lower net revenues from publications, subscriptions, and conferences, the American Library Association (ALA) will implement several cost-saving measures and reductions in staffing costs, as well as a one-time use of ALA’s reserve.

The $1.6 million represents 6% of the annual budget or 12% of the half-year budget. ALA will suspend print publication of the ALA Handbook of Organization for 2010 and 2011, establish Memorial Day and the Fourth of July as unpaid holidays this year, not allow vacation days to be carried over to 2010, and require all ALA employees to take three furlough days between now and August 31.

“These savings would be matched by a one-time use of ALA’s reserve, which we have built up over the last six years in part to meet unexpected exigencies,” wrote ALA executive director Keith Fiels and treasurer Rod Hersberger in a memo to Council. 

Annual conference looks strong
“The good news is that registration for annual conference is strong, and even ahead of registration for last year at this point, and we expect a very exciting and successful conference in Chicago in July,” wrote Fiels and Hersberger. “Membership also remains strong and steadily growing, especially among the library school students that represent the future for libraries and the profession.”

Job cuts
ALA also will eliminate approximately ten positions by FY 2010 and also will leave six positions unfunded in 2010. “In each instance, we will be making every effort to minimize the impact of any cost-cutting measures on services to members, libraries and the public,” Fiels and Hersberger wrote. “Our goal will be to create a stable, balanced budget for 2010, to maintain – and develop – services that meet the needs of member libraries, and to work on developing new revenue sources that will sustain and expand these services in the future.”

The personnel changes should save about $500,000, or nearly one-third of the shortfall. “By preparing a 2010 budget that reflects a balance between expenditures and our adjusted revenue expectations, we should hopefully provide for a more stable environment in the coming year,” Fiels wrote in a memo to staff.

Library Journal ALA Annual Conference News

Click here for more ALA 2009 Conference News coverage from Library Journal and School Library Journal.

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