Financially Healthy

A positive income balance at the end of FY2015

January 4, 2016

Mario Gonzalez

As ALA Treasurer, I am reporting back to the membership on the financial health of the Association.

The final audit for the 2015 fiscal year will be presented at the 2016 Midwinter Meeting in Boston. However, I would like to share with you now that preliminary results show a positive outcome for the Association. Overall, revenues generated by ALA and its divisions were 5% higher than expected, while expenses were slightly lower. This resulted in a net income balance of $533,000 for the total ALA budget. As for the General Fund, which includes Membership, Conferences, Publishing, and ALA Offices, income exceeded expenses, leaving us a positive balance of $278,373.

This positive result is partly attributed to a very strong 2015 ALA Annual Conference in San Francisco, a successful ACRL conference in Portland, Oregon, and savings in expenses across the Association and its divisions.

In looking to 2016, I would like to note that we increased the number of Spectrum Scholarships from 50 to 60. Also of note is the addition this fall of 3,500 public library trustees and friends to the ALA membership as part of the ALA/United for Libraries State Group Membership Program. In addition, nearly two-thirds of library school students and about half of all library professionals in the United States are ALA members. In the 2016 fiscal year, ALA’s hardworking staff will also receive a 2% salary increase in their base pay.

For every $5 of ALA revenues, $1 comes from member dues, and $4 comes from publishing, conferences, and our endowment. Many of the programs of the Association—advocacy, information policy, professional development, intellectual freedom, diversity, research, literacy, equitable access to information, international relations, recruitment, and the Libraries Transform public awareness campaign—would be much smaller without this crucial additional support.

This is why a financially strong Association is so vital to our mission. If we are going to continue to “provide leadership for the development, promotion, and improvement of library and information services and the profession of librarianship in order to enhance learning and ensure access to information for all,” according to ALA’s mission statement, then we need all the resources we can muster.

Our colleagues, our libraries, and the many millions of people who depend on our libraries are counting on us to be there for them.

Special recognition goes out to the ALA members who have become part of the Legacy Society through the 15×15 Planned Giving Campaign to raise $15 million by the end of 2015. At this point, $5.8 million has been pledged, and another $9 million is actively being considered by members. This campaign is building a stronger Association by enlarging the ALA endowment, which supports a wide range of activities, including advocacy, information policy and intellectual freedom work, our many professional and leadership development programs, and the Spectrum Scholarships.

While my focus as treasurer is on the finances of the Association, all of us who serve as elected officers know that our goal is to make sure that ALA provides the strongest possible service and support to our members, libraries, and the public at large, while supporting the Association’s strategic directions.

For those of you who will be at Midwinter, I will be sharing more detailed information about our fiscal year 2015 and 2016 budgets with all members, including Council, and the Planning and Budget Assembly. As always, more budget information can also be found on the ALA treasurer’s page.

I am proud, honored, and diligent in serving you as your treasurer.


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