Budget cut strategies

Cottrell, T. (Terry). (2012). Three phantom budget cuts and how to avoid them. Bottom Line: Managing Library Finances, The, 25(1), 16-20. Emerald Group Publishing Limited. doi:10.1108/08880451211229171


Don’t spend time worrying how to explain to users that they are paying more (for tuition for example) and yet receiving less in the way of library services. Instead use your energies with the outside administrators who decide the overall budget given to the library.

Overall reductions across the community: Always work with your strategic plan in mind (should you have one, I guess?) and know what the community needs and wants from the library so that any potential impact will be understood by them in advance.

Zero Based Budgeting: When arguing for library technology expenses (everyone puts technology first when starting from 0), try to put them in the context of interaction with other campus technology, such as CMS, when possible and stress effect on the community, learning, research.

Historical precedent: watch out for budgets based on previous year expenditures– any one year has lots of anomalies, negotiations can impact unevenly.




Seligman, M. 2011. Flourish: A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Well-being (1st Free P.). New York: Free Press.

I was recently in a book store and came across this– couldn’t resist buying it.  I had Dr. Seligman as a professor in Experimental Psychology back in the ’60s, one of the few professors I remember well, and  his explanation of “learned helplessness” was one of my major take aways from that class.

The first 2/3 of the book was fascinating, the last 1/3 a bit looser.  He goes out on a limb in the preface and says that reading this book will help you flourish, and I think he is right.  All in all, his idea that “well-being” is the goal of positive psychology is well-reasoned and well documented.  He gives some exercises, some links to tests (yes, I am relatively optimistic), and follows a strengths-based approach.  A couple of quotes that I want to remember:

Re “applied” label for the new Masters of Applied Positive Psychology degree at Penn: “Even though Penn was founded by Benjamin Franklin to teach both the ‘applied’ and the ‘ornamental’, by which he meant ‘not currently useful’, the ornamental has long won out and I have labored for four decades as the ‘applied’ maverick in an almost solely ornamental department.”

“Popper accused Wittgenstein of suborning an entire generation of philosophers by setting them to work on puzzles — the preliminary to the preliminaries.  Philosophy, Popper argued, should not be about puzzles but about problems: morality, science, politics, religion, and law.”

“Good science requires the interplay of analysis and synthesis.”

“Application often points the way toward basic research, whereas basic research without a clue about how it might be applied is usually just wanking.”