Blogger Jonathan Dolce

You Still Can’t Beat Free!

word "free" written in white on a green field. The words free has a red $0 price tag attached

You Can’t Beat Free I can’t remember the first time I said “you can’t beat free” as a librarian — I think it was 2003. 17 years later, it’s still true. And public librarians – gosh – we can squeeze a nickle sideways, am I right? Well, if you’re done squeezing blood from a nickle, try FREE on for size! The Secret of My Success The secret of my success has been my ability to not just grant write, brainstorm and work with some amazing teams. More often than not, it’s my ability to locate free stuff. Lots of times, the free stuff snowballs into something mega, or just plain comes in handy. Many of my colleagues wonder how I’ve done it. It’s not that I fall backwards into free things for libraries. Oh contraire. Sorry, it’s a lot of work. Step One? “Oh, good!”, I hear you say. It’s…


Notes from a Novice Budget Member

In July, I began my first year as a member of ALSC’s Budget Committee. “I’ll see the inner workings of the organization!” I thought. “I’m excited to learn more about how the division operates!” I manage budgets in my job as a children’s librarian–covering programming and materials collection for the children’s room–but those spreadsheets have fewer columns and definitely fewer zeroes than ALSC’s $3 million budget. I read the introductory documents and started getting myself acquainted with ALSC’s revenue streams and costs. (There are many. Let’s discuss the price of conference AV services another time.) I began to learn about how the division’s budget intersects with the finances of the larger ALA organization. I had opportunities to sit in on meetings and ask questions, but as a new member to the committee, I haven’t always known even what questions to pose. Sitting in the room for my first official Budget…

Grants and Fundraising

1876 Club – An Interview with Courtney Young and Andrew Medlar

Often it can be uncomfortable to think about or talk about the end of one’s life. None of us really wants to consider our own death, let alone how we want our assets handled after we are gone. However, such conversations are not only important but necessary. We may think that only celebrities or wealthy people need to worry about estate planning, but if you own a home, have a savings account, a life insurance policy, or even a few stocks, no matter how small, you should have an estate plan. While each person has their own considerations for such planning, I’d like to share an idea, a new program created by ALA. Named for the year of ALA’s founding, the 1876 Club is a planned giving program for ALA members under 50 years old. Planned giving, often called legacy giving, is a way to leave a specific amount of…

Administrative and Management Skills

The (Mis)Conceptions of Serving on the ALSC Budget Committee

When I tell people I am serving on the ALSC Budget Committee (my two-year term ends June 2019), they often respond with a “whoa” or “yikes” and say “that must be taxing.” I have to admit that when former Budget committee member Carolyn Phelan approached me about serving, visions of calculators, enormous spreadsheets, and perplexing figures that do not add up filled my brain. What if I messed up one of the ledgers? What if I botched the balance sheets?

Guest Blogger


I love being a children’s librarian.  But, I also have a secret love of numbers. Luckily for me, I am the chair of the ALSC budget committee where we have the thrill of looking at spreadsheets, puzzling out numbers and analyzing trends with ALSC’s Executive Director, Aimee Strittmatter.  My committee also has the honor of overseeing the Children’s Library Service Endowment, which provides funding of approximately $1500 annually for ALSC committee projects.  We make dreams come true, okay maybe not dreams, but we make good ideas a reality. The Children’s Library Service Endowment fund (CLSE) started in 1982 and was formerly known as the Helen Knight Memorial Fund.  The proceeds of this fund support long and short-range projects and programs of ALSC.  The endowment is designed to support committees that have ideas for special projects not covered by the operating budget. Through the years it is has been the financial…