Last night I attended this fall’s 2nd “Salon des Bibliothécaires” hosted by the CLA Montreal Chapter. Like October’s salon, it was held at EM Café in Mile End and although less people attended than last month, it was still very fun and informative. Our two experts were Ann Moffat, the newly retired director of Westmount Public Library and Suzanne Payette, the director of la Bibliothèque de Brossard. Both these women have extensive experience creating and managing library budgets and they shared many examples of practical advice on how they have dealt with issues like budget cuts, staff demands, getting extra money for special projects, etc. At first I didn’t think that it would be relevant for me to attend this “salon” because I figured that once I graduate from library school in April, it will be awhile before I am in a position where I need to manage a library’s budget. However, I have heard recently of two graduates from last April who were hired as head cégep librarians. This means they must not only manage the budget but also the staff of library technicians and circulation employees, the collection, and all the other administrative duties. Whew! Talk about a baptism by immersion!
I guess the lesson that I retained from last night’s Salon is to be ready for anything. Both Ann Moffat and Suzanne Payette emphasized the fact that budgets are not as scary as they seem which reassured me that by paying attention and applying a bit of common sense, I should do fine if one day if I do need to manage a budget.