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D-Lib Magazine
January/February 2009

Volume 15 Number 1/2

ISSN 1082-9873

Challenges and Opportunities

As this new year begins, it's hard to avoid thinking about the economic downturn in the United States and other countries around the world, and the effect that the downturn is having – or will have – on organizations and institutions. Some are experiencing these effects directly already, and more challenges may lie ahead before things turn around. But turn around they will, as history teaches. Of critical importance, then, is how to deal with today's challenges in order to get through the current crisis most expeditiously and to be in a position to benefit most quickly from the turnaround when it comes.

Some questions to ask ourselves: Can we collaborate with other organizations to extend our resources? In which areas can we innovate and where would such innovation likely be most profitable? Are there areas in which costs can be cut without sacrificing organizational priorities, missions and goals? What resources are available that can be leveraged to solve current problems, and where can we find them?

Historically, libraries have been instrumental in helping individuals and businesses through difficult economic times. Ironically, they are frequently the first institutions to experience budget cuts – but perhaps that situation can be reversed. On January 13, 2009, the American Library Association (ALA) announced the availability of a new toolkit "Advocating in a Tough Economy" (, which offers concrete steps libraries can take to mitigate the effects of the recession on library budgets. ALA Executive Director Keith Michael Fiels states, "The new toolkit will arm librarians and library supporters with the facts and strategies they need to speak out effectively for libraries in this tough economy."

Yes, this is a challenging time, economically speaking, but it is also a time of great opportunity for those who are open-minded and well informed.

Bonita Wilson
Corporation for National Research Initiatives


Copyright© 2009 Corporation for National Research Initiatives

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