The recession, budgets, expectations and realities

Charles I. Guarria (Brooklyn Campus Library, Long Island University, Brooklyn, New York, USA)

The Bottom Line

ISSN: 0888-045X

Publication date: 29 November 2011



This article seeks to provide insight on how librarians managed through the recession. It aims to highlight key areas of concern such as budgets and personnel. It is the culmination of two surveys administered in the succeeding summers of 2009 and 2010.


The library community was notified of the surveys and provided the surveys' link via numerous library listservs. The same listservs were used for each survey. The responses received were from representatives of academic, special and public libraries.


An examination of the surveys reveals that budget cuts were worse in fiscal year (FY) 2009 than they were in 2010. Suggesting the cuts enacted in FY 2009 were effective thus less severe cuts were needed in FY 2010. Stress levels were high for FY 2009 and inched higher in FY 2010. There was no significant help, in terms of cost sharing for purchases, from the departments within the organizations the libraries served. Best practice suggestions were offered in many areas to include communication, purchasing and personnel.


When the economy experiences a contraction, businesses, governments and the general population begins to rein in expenses. This affects libraries of all types, special, academic and public. The article explores how the library community dealt with this issue and provides information that generates problem solving ideas for those in budgetary and leadership roles.



Guarria, C. (2011), "The recession, budgets, expectations and realities", The Bottom Line, Vol. 24 No. 4, pp. 200-217.

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