$2-Million Shortfall Forces Further ALA Staff Reduction; 8 Positions Eliminated

May 11, 2010

ALA Executive Director Keith Michael Fiels announced this morning in an all-staff memo that a projected $2-million budget shortfall has forced the Association to reduce staff by eight positions. The memo to staff:

For the last three months, we have been working on the Association’s Fiscal Year 2011 budget, which has just this last week been finalized and approved by the ALA Executive Board and BARC. As you know from our discussion at our General Staff meetings in early April, we are currently dealing with a projected $2 million mid-year revenue shortfall, caused by the continued impact of the recession on the library economy. With library funding lagging the recession by perhaps two years, it is unclear when the library economy will “bottom out,” or when we will start to see a rebound in library funding nationally. In the meantime, everything from advertising to conference attendance has been affected.

One impact of this $2 million shortfall is the one week furlough we are all taking this spring. The Executive Board has just approved use of $400,000 in reserve funds to help cover the shortfall, but as I indicated in April, a second week of furlough may still be necessary, depending on how things play out over the next two months.

For 2011, we are looking at lower revenue estimates in almost all areas. Because of the decline in 2010 revenues, and the resultant lower 2011 revenue projections, we have no choice but to make further reductions in our general fund expenditures, including staffing. This means that we will need to eliminate or eliminate funding for an additional eight positions.

The affected positions are in: American Libraries, Booklist, Publishing/Production, Publishing/Marketing, Public Information Office, Office for Intellectual Freedom, Operations and Support Services, and the Washington Office.

While in many of these instances, positions have been held open in anticipation of the final budget decisions, four individuals: in Publishing/Marketing, Publishing/Production, Booklist, and American Libraries have had their positions eliminated as of today.

We are deeply sorry that these reductions are necessary, but have absolutely no choice but to reduce expenditures so that they are in line with anticipated revenue. And thanks to your furlough, the jobs of other ALA colleagues have been preserved. In all instances, those employees whose jobs have been eliminated will receive the best possible benefits and assistance from the Association.

Everyone is aware that 2011 will be a tough year despite these cuts. While we see some signs of stabilization and even expect some revenue growth in a few areas, the overall library economy is not likely to rebound quickly. While we believe that 2012 promises some improvement overall, the planning environment has never been more uncertain.

The 2011 budget also calls for an additional $250,000 in further expense reductions, so we are all going to need to work very closely together over the next year to identify these additional cost savings, while doing our best to preserve services to members and the staffing that is necessary to support these services.

We do look forward to getting through this difficult period and are confident that we will see a more positive financial environment and a stronger future ALA in the not too distant future.