Skip to content

Texas Public Libraries and the Mystery of MOE – Explained!

2018 February 8
by Valicia Greenwood

The Texas Public Libraries Annual Report must be submitted between now and April 30, 2018.  This is the first in a series of blogs which will provide explanations for some of the questions that we receive.

Maintenance of Effort (MOE) is the average of the local support reported for the last three years, calculated using the amount reported in Question 4.2 (Local Operating Expenditures) of the Texas Public Libraries Annual Report (Annual Report).

Local Operating Expenditures are those operating expenditures funded from local sources only:   including local government(s), Friends group contributions, grants or donations from within the library’s legal service area/home county, and any fines, fees or donations the library can spend.

MOE is part of the Minimum Standards for Accreditation of Libraries in the State Library System in the Texas Administrative Code (TAC).  The accreditation criteria are also referred to as “rules.”  MOE is found in 13 TAC §1.74, “Local Operating Expenditures.” It has three parts:  how MOE is calculated; the level of minimum expenditures, typically for libraries serving fewer than 5,000 persons; and the level at which libraries are exempt from this criterion.

  • The Calculation
    Here are the two ways that MOE is calculated.  MOE is the LOWER calculated amount.  Keep in mind that the second method, which is more complicated, is typically lower only when the library is assigned population in an area that has declining population.

    1. The first, and quickest, method uses only the amount reported in Question 4.2 – Total Local Library Operating Expenditures. A simple average is taken of the previous three years.
    2. The second method totals the last three years’ reported amounts in 4.2, divided by the sum of the previous three years’ population assignments, then multiplied by the current year’s population assignment.

State Library staff compare the lower of these calculations with the current year’s reported amount in Question 4.2 of the Annual Report.  The library has met MOE if its local operating expenditures are at least the lower MOE amount.

For a short demonstration of how the calculations are made, view these slides:

  • The Minimum Expenditure

The library must have a minimum of $15,000 in local operating expenditures, as reported in Question 4.2.  In 2019, that amount will increase to $18,000; and in 2022, it will be $21,000.  This typically applies to the very smallest libraries serving fewer than 5,000 persons.

  • The Exemption

If a library expends at least $150,000 in local operating expenditures (4.2), AND it expends at least $17.50 per capita (local operating expenditures divided by population assignment), then it is exempt from the MOE criterion.

It is good to consider maintenance of effort when the library is doing budget planning.  There is a tool which can provide the library’s current population assignment and MOE here:

MOE is always based on the previous three-years of reported data, so it changes each year.  It is important to keep track of the library’s operating expenditures every year.

For more information, contact Library Statistics Specialist Valicia Greenwood ( or Program Coordinator Stacey Malek (, or call toll free inside Texas, 800/252-9386.

Be Sociable, Share!
No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Note: You can use basic XHTML in your comments. Your email address will never be published.

Subscribe to this comment feed via RSS