Sometimes the News is Good
journal contributionposted on 01.01.2012, 00:00 by Sandra M. Barstow
Even in difficult economic times, an institution as complex as a university sometimes approaches the end of the fiscal year with funds that must be expended. The sources of these funds are varied, as are the requirements for their use. For a public university supported by state funds, there are deadlines by which the funds must be used if they are not to be returned to the state. Federally funded research grants have specific guidelines for permissible uses of funds. Income streams such as tuition differentials and fees are often earmarked for particular purposes, but the existence of these funds may free up other budgeted monies for unrestricted uses. These unallocated funds provide opportunities to enhance library services, facilities and collections. If the library has a prominent role in the university’s ability to meet its strategic goals, the university administration is more likely to think of the library when looking for effective means of using the funds. From the library’s point of view, the sudden infusion of funds at the end of the fiscal year should be seen as a cause for celebration, even when these funds have strings attached. By planning ahead for potential year-end surprises of this kind, the library can respond quickly to use these funds wisely and in accordance with the requirements for any funding source or type. This kind of planning is often part of the job of the AUL, even if the library dean is the person who actually takes forward the proposals at the appropriate time.