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Library Financial Management - Essay Example

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Budgeting is essential for a library's financial management as good as it is for any other organisation. Dossett (2004) elaborates that budgets constitute an important aspect of any organisation's financial management. Like any other organisation, a library also has to undertake financial management process so as to minimise its costs and maximise the value it provides to the customers in the form of information…
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Download file to see previous pages Budgeting can also be used in library as standards and measures for future performance.
Budgets are basically of three types viz. line item budgeting, program budgeting and zero based budgeting. The budget type that is used by Anamerican college library is line item budget as it outlines various expenditures and resources of the library along with the various services that the library offers to its users. Dossett (2004) suggests that the line item budgeting is a type that is applied to almost every library setting. This type of budget classifies each sort of activity in a separate appearance.
The program budget emphasises the services or programs that are provided by the library to its customers. Hence this budget allows a library to evaluate performance with respect to various programs that it offers. Seer (2000, p188) says that "the primary characteristic of a program budget is that all expenditures needed to provide that product or functions are grouped together". Zero based budgeting, on the other hand, maintains its focus on the future aspects and accomplishment of the goals of the organisation. "Zero-based budgeting ignores previous practice and insists that every budget fully proves its worth, not in respect of what happened in the past but solely in terms of current organisational objectives" (Heery, 1999, p60).

The line item budget that this library uses appraises its performance by outlining all the expenditures and resources, while comparing it to that of the previous year. Seer (2000, p188) says that "a line item budget reflects input (what you are spending) not output (what your organization is getting for the money), resources not results". As Anamerican library uses line item budget to plan its various expenditures and evaluate the available funding and resources, the budget also sheds light on several aspects of information services and roles it performs. As indicated in the budget, the library provides various services such as referencing, circulation, and cataloguing to its users. The budget also shows various expenditures borne by the library towards employees' salaries and benefits along with its information resources such as books, periodicals/serials, electronic reference materials, microforms etc. and other assets, which include computers for different uses.
The referencing service of the library appears to be at the stronger side, with the library staff providing referencing and information services to the customers both on the usage of printed as well as online resources. These reference librarians also provide training and education to the users with regard to effective usage of all the materials available in the library. This is very important in when electronic resources constitute an eminent part of information as well as the library sources. According to Gessesse (1997, p92), "the fact that many library users will not have direct access to equipment or the knowledge levels to use effectively the online environment, requires that librarians continue to be sophisticated translators of patrons' needs". Interaction with users also allows reference ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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