43 Association of Research Libraries Research Library Issues 292 2017 of teamwork. We worked toward this and other aims with diligence early in the budget cycle. This year, we knew we had to spend every penny in every line. In the past, endowed funds allocated to support the collection had routinely rolled over from year to year. We identified this as something to change in the interest of good fiscal stewardship and accountability to our donors. We were ready to effect change although we were aware, generally, of previous challenges exhausting the full budgeted allocation. This knowledge might have cast a longer shadow than it did. Perhaps we put too much stock in the power of our good intention. As an associate university librarian in my first months at the university, I sought every opportunity to communicate about the need to meet the spending deadline. The message included these ideas: “In the past, budgeting and spending everything wasn’t a high priority, but now it is. Our budget is a reflection of our priorities and need. If we don’t exhaust our allocation, it might seem that our collection has everything necessary, but we know that’s far from true.” Our collections strategist and research services directors did the same. We heard the question, “Why?” often. “Even endowment payouts?” librarians asked. “Yes. It’s a new day,” we replied. “Our budget climate creates a different moment: It’s imperative that we spend our drawdown. Not to do so reflects a lack of need. These funds are protected from cuts. We explained the inflation situation and we were heard. We succeeded! Now we get to work.” Once the spending plan was in place, I and other leaders turned our attentions to the burning issues—thinking and rethinking how we would serve the needs of the university with an overall reduced compensation and operations budget. And so, in the end, when the rate of spending didn’t keep pace with the plan, and when invoicing lagged in the final month of the fiscal year, it
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