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Lindsay Bosch (staff)'s picture

March 26 – April 2 pre-vote discussion: Friends Fund Disbursement Request

Dear Board members,

At the 2013 ALA Midwinter Meeting the ACRL Board of Directors agreed to assume responsibility for disbursing Friends Funds to more directly support the Plan for Excellence.


The attached Action Form reviews the background of this disbursement request and Appendix A outlines a number of project proposals for possible funding.  The ACRL Budget and Finance Committee discussed the proposed Friends Fund projects via ALA Connect between March 13 and 18, 2013.  Their comments have been appended underneath each project description in Appendix A.


Please note that Appendix A outlines more projects than ACRL is currently able to fund through Friends Donations this fiscal cycle.  The discussion period for this action will be crucial in guiding funding selections and assisting us to craft a revised action focused on specific projects. The discussion period for this action will be March 26 - April 2, with a proposed voting period of April 2 - April 9. After the conclusion of the discussion period, the Board action form will be updated to indicate the specific projects to be funded.


With this in mind, please include within your comments those projects (referencing project number) that you would like to take current action on with existing funds.


Please let me know if you have any questions




Joyce Ogburn's picture

I am raising a question more than advocating for Project 2, which is about uploading the backfiles of C&RL into HighWire. $18,000 is a hefty price tag but we don't have that in our operating budget. Illinois made these files possible through its donation of time and resources - i wonder if we could see the use of the Friends funds as a complement to this effort - that collectively we made OA a reality for the whole journal run. Just a thought.

Project 5 is about the Library Copyright Alliance and goes to advocacy. I know that when I donated to this part of the Friends fund this is the kind of initiative I was expecting us to fund. I'm not sure why there would be an objection to using Friends funding for consultants. Maybe Cindy has more information on this? There is no policy that says we can't use these funds for consultants, correct? I would support the use of the funds for advocacy and for consultants.

I don't have comments on the other projects at the moment. I wanted to start a conversation on these two.

ACRL President 2011-12

Julie Garrison's picture

I am also curious about Project #2. It seems like this might be an impactful way to spend the funds, in a way that will be visible to the whole ACRL community.


Other than that, it seems like Projects 3, 4, and 5 align well with ACRL strategic directions.



Cynthia Steinhoff's picture

Re using Friends money to add the backfiles of C&RL to the Highwire site, project #2:  The comments from B&F members were that a web-based, open access journal is no longer new enough to be considered a way to "model new dissemination practices."  One person noted that loading more recent issues into Highwire, which ACRL has already done, was the modeling of a "new dissemination practice."  There was also a feeling by some B&F members that ACRL should not replace funds in the ACRL operating budget with donated funds.  (There is funding in the FY 2013 operating budget to load the remaining issues of C&RL into Highwire.)

Re Copyright Advisory Network, project #3, not 5 as noted in the comment above:  Some members were opposed to using donated funds for consultants.  It seemed to be a philosophical issue for them.  One member said that donors should be asked if they are comfortable with their donations supporting the use of consultants.  This was also seen as "backfilling" the operating budget.  

If it really is project 5, to provide additional coaching in the "Assessment in Action project," the objection was the use of donated funds for consultants.  The B&F Committee was divided on this project, with 4 members supporting it, one noting "maybe," another ranking it 3rd (or 6) projects, and 3 saying not supporting it.

I hope this provides some clarification.  Let me know if there are other questions.





Joyce Ogburn's picture

I am puzzling over the philosophical objections to paying for consultants from the Friends funds. I was not part of the discussion and may not understand the context but my reaction is that if a project is worthy and the use of consultants is the way to conduct the project it shouldn't be an issue. And since ACRL guidelines do not prohibit the hiring of consultants I worry about the potential derailment of a worthy project based on personal objections versus the ACRL guidelines (which are not that restrictive). 

There are consultants who do consulting projects for a living and others who do them as professional projects and growth opportunities - is there a distinction here?

I am concerned about this, which is my personal viewpoint, of course, so others on the board might think i am off base with this observation and concern. Perhaps we should discuss this, though, to guide future decisions on the disbursement of the funds?

ACRL President 2011-12

Steven Bell's picture

I support approval of funding for both the C&RL and LCA projects. 

Moving forward it may be that we will want to draw attention to ACRL as an association that provides value to its members, but also makes possible projects that benefit all academic librarians (non-members) and the higher education enterprise. Completing the backfiles could have enormous benefit for future researchers. Consider the impact of the LCA's briefs in on the Kiertsang vs Wiley decision; the money we invest has far reaching implications on which it is even difficult to put a price.

There are also assumptions being made about how donors intended for their contributions to be applied by ACRL to various projects. This situation may be somewhat unusual in that we have this pot that we want to allocate now - so that we can share news of these projects at ACRL 2013. I don't know that we really do know enough about what the donors would support or oppose -other then how they target their donations by fund area. But would they oppose using the funds to hire consultants if that helps to advance the Plan for Excellence? We may need to improve our capacity to understand our donors and their perspectives on how the funds are used.

Steven Bell Associate University Librarian Temple University bells@temple.edu http://stevenbell.info

Maggie Farrell's picture

I fully supportive of the backfile project but share the concern about using the FF to pay for this as I see the strategic focus of the funds.  But I am not sure how else to fund this and we need to complete this project.  Will continue to mull on ideas.

Maggie Farrell
Dean of Libraries
University of Nevada Las Vegas
Loretta Parham's picture

When I think of donations I have made to groups that allowed me to target projects, I was never concerned about the manner in which the project was advanced.  The fact that I was donating, spoke of my confidence and trust that the group would spend (and evaluate) those resources wisely.  So, I agree, I don't think that many Friends Funds donors would object about using external talent to advance the project purposes.

Loretta Parham

CEO & Director, Atlanta University Center Woodruff Library

Irene Herold's picture

Having finally read through all of this, I would support Projects #1, #2, #3, and #5.

For Projects #4 and #6 I think #4 needs to become self-sustaining (so it is time to re-think the institutional funding model) and I don't see Project #6 as ground-breaking in terms of the definitions of the strategic plan.  That is not to say that #4 and #6 aren't worthy projects.

Irene Herold

ACRL Board, Past President 2017-2018

Lisabeth Chabot's picture

I support the projects with one reservation.  I agree with the B&F committee member who raised the issue of identifying the source of funds for the annual maintenance costs for the survey reporting service (project #6).

In regard to Project #4, we have moved from completely underwriting the cost of the Schol Comm workshops  to a partially subsidized model.  The content and activities presented in the workshops align with one of our strategic goals and the workshops receive excellent evaluations from participants.   As Irene mentions, the Board may want to review the current funding model going forward.  

Lis Chabot

ACRL Board, Director at Large


Joyce Ogburn's picture

I support 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5. I too hope that we can start moving the schol com workshop to being self sustaining over time. This is a step in that direction.

In priority order: 1, 3, 5, 4, 2


ACRL President 2011-12

Trevor Dawes's picture

My apologies for jumping in late to this discussion. 


I support, in order of preference:

  • project 1 (Spectrum Support)
  • project 3 (LCA)
  • project 6 (although this would need to find a way to receive ongoing support - perhaps through sales of the product)
  • project 4 (Schol. Comm Workshop), and I agree with Joyce that these should hopefully become self-sustaining.  
  • Project 2 (C&RL backfiles) I believe we should find a way to cover this expense through general operating funds - or at least partially through general funds, and perhaps partially through the friends funds.  While this will provide "one-stop" access to our members, achieving this goal will provide a convenience to our members rather than something new or innovative - (or even strategic?)
  • Project 5: (Assessment in Action): Let's do some evaluation


Trevor A. Dawes

Lindsay Bosch (staff)'s picture

Dear Board Members,

Thank you so much for your comments and discussion on this issue.  Your notes have helped us to craft the revised Action Letter and Appendix A which I am attaching here.   Beginning today and running through April 10, 2013 we will be hosting five individual votes regarding five funding recommendations, allowing Board Members to consider each separately.   (The same Action Letter and Appendix will also be attached to each vote, for reference.)

Please note that approval of all five recommendations would disburse $32,967 of the current $42,770 Friends Fund balance, allowing us to retain reserve balance of $9,803 (23%).  

Don't hesitate to let me know if any questions arise.

With many thanks,

Lindsay Bosch