Following the Money

Boards have control over the library's expenditures. While the Board should delegate the power to purchase materials, supplies and other goods to the library director, it should be aware of all purchases and monitor the budget monthly throughout the year.

The director should provide the Board with a monthly statement that shows at minimum:

monthly income

total income for the year

cash on hand

monthly expenditures by budget category

cumulative expenditures for the year by budget expenditure

a list of library accounts including the library depreciation reserve fund and any trust fund or donation accounts

When reviewing the reports, look for yearly patterns of expenditures, such as energy bills in the winter, fees for building repairs or grounds maintenance in the summer, special program costs such as those associated with summer reading programs, and purchases of supplies and materials that occur once or twice a year.

This is also a good time to compare budget figures with actual amounts. Is the income as you expected? If not, the Board needs to find out why and make adjustments in the budget if necessary. Compare actual expenditures with budget amounts as well. Unusually high and low expenditures need to be explained by the director. If costs are greater than expected, the Board might have to adjust the budget. You also need to know why funds are not being spent. Perhaps an under spent book budget means the staff does not have the time to make book selections, and that funding more staff is becoming a priority.