Financial Management for Libraries. By William W. Sannwald. Chicago: ALA Neal-Schuman, 2018. 199 p. Paper $73.00 (ISBN-13: 978-0-8389-1560-8).

Function benchmarking, NPV, GASB—the vocabulary of budgets and finance can often seem like another language. Financial Management for Libraries clarifies these concepts by putting them in the context of real-life public and academic library management. For many years, the author, William Sannwald, presented budgeting workshops for the Library Leadership and Management Association (LLAMA), and he based this book on his teaching experience. Written for library science students and the accidental administrator faced with creating a budget, the book can serve as a primer to the entire process of financial management or as a reference resource to consult for guidance. As an aid to library school instructors, each chapter opens with learning objectives and closes with suggested exercises. Chapters also include helpful lists of references for more in-depth information on the topics covered.

The topics discussed include accounting concepts, the budgeting process, library performance measures, forecasting, and finding sources of financing for the inevitable large capital projects. Taken together, they provide the big picture of managing library finances. Where jargon is inevitable, the terms are placed in context and explained in plain English.

A major strength of the book are its actual library budgets from an academic library, a public library, and a district library. From these illustrations of widely different libraries, readers get a sampler of the various methods used to create and present a budget. These real-life examples are based on the author’s personal experiences as both a city librarian and, later, assistant to the city manager. This background is evident in the chapter titled “Budget Approval and Control,” which discusses communicating with stakeholders—a vital step in having a budget accepted. Especially helpful are bulleted lists of common questions to expect from governing bodies during the budget approval process. This chapter also gives tips on preventing fraud when creating a budget.

According to Sannweld, “A budget is a plan driven by the vision, mission, goals, and objectives of the library” (2). Viewed this way, the whole process of creating a budget becomes much more palatable, and Financial Management for Libraries goes a long way to making it simpler. Budget novices, as well as library science students and their instructors, will find this book a reassuring guide for their financial education.—Ann Agee, Librarian, School of Information, San Jose State University, San Jose, California


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