New Library Directors Handbook

Budgeting

Once you know where your funding comes from and how much you can expect, you can prepare the budget. Budgeting is vital to the library's planning process. You should get your board involved in the budgeting process, since it has final authority over the budget.

The budgeting process includes the following steps:

  • Define the library's goals for the upcoming year based on the library's long-range plan.
  • Gather information to project costs of providing services and meeting the year's goals.
  • Estimate potential income from taxes, gifts, fines, fees, grants and any other possible source of income.
  • Compare costs and income to see if all the goals can be met. If income exceeds or equals costs, the budgeting process continues.
  • Adjust objectives if funding doesn't cover goals, or search for additional funding.
  • Present the written budget to your board. If the board approves, present it to the funding body.

You and your library board work on the budget together, but ultimately, the library board is responsible for its approval and will typically present it to the entity with funding authority, within the required time frame and procedural steps.

As in any planning activity, it is important to establish a schedule. A comprehensive, balanced budget cannot be compiled overnight. Allow adequate time for planning, gathering information, reviewing goals and producing a finished product that will allow the library to meet the community's needs for library services. The schedule below shows specific steps for building the budget. You may have a different schedule at your library. This is simply a possibility for building your library's budget.