Saturday, September 11, 2010

How much is enough?



Most of this week I spent working out and allocating this years budget and looking at what the plans are and what we can achieve with what we have been allocated compared to what we hoped to have been allocated and achieved.

As part of an international IB school, and a supportive school principal we do have a generous budget, and I am aware that some schools across the world are closing their libraries, and others have their budgets slashed in these troubling economic times, and others are allocated very little, and some schools never had a school library so this is not a whinge session, rather a reflection on how much money is really enough for a school library to offer the full range of services to help move their students into 21st century learning.

Some of the questions that I have been thinking about ...
How many paper books do we need to purchase? Fiction AND / OR Non fiction? Replacements? New?
Online databases - how many are enough? which are the best value for money?
Where can we access similar data for a lower price or even free (use of public libraries?) Is the access easy?
What about audio and e-books - best practise - how much do I need to spend on these? How will they be delivered? What is the format?
Magazines - what is a realistic number to cater for student interests and curriculum support?
Professional Resources that have a wide scope in application across the school - how many do we need?
Author visits and authors in residence - I know these make a difference to students, however they are getting more expensive, what are we paying for?
The library operating system - is it value for money? does it deliver?
Other library services we use, these all add up, what is essential and what are luxury items.
Value added library services - self check out, displays, computer terminals and support, atmosphere, displays etc.

If you could have as much money as you could nominate to not only maintain your library at the current level, but to move it forward into 21st Century what would that figure be?

The figure I came up with was $65,000USD for a K-13 IB International school (where we need to ship everything in) that is growing by 150 students a year, to reach a population of 1400. I certainly did not get as much as $65,000.

What would be your ideal figure?

Picture from http://bit.ly/cbTG5w

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