Librarians have always been faced with the need to demonstrate the value of the services and products for which they budget. The budget is a powerful management and public relations tool and essential for explaining goals and objectives. This article compares the features, advantages and disadvantages of two budget models, the line item budget and the program budget. Examined throughout are patrons’ needs. The article also provides a step‐by‐step guide to the budget process, including the need for timelines, definitions of common accounting terms, and specific suggestions for budget preparation and presentation. The need to formalize and strengthen the relationship between the library and the finance department is also addressed. Finally, an overview of strategic planning is provided, describing the relationship between strategic planning and budgeting.
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