2020 Texas Public Library Statistics Available

Thank you to all the Texas public library directors and library staff who completed and submitted the 2020 Texas Public Library Annual Report! The statistics gathered provide the best picture of library service and funding, which is vital for stakeholders to know! Additionally, we are building a picture of how libraries handled the pandemic crisis which may inform the future.

Libraries meeting the minimum criteria for accreditation will receive formal accreditation letters by email by the end of September. Accredited libraries have access to statewide interlibrary loan (ILL), the federal telecommunications discount program E-rate, TexShare Database and TexShare Card programs, and any funding opportunities through this agency. Any library submitting an Annual Report will be able to order Summer Reading Program materials at no cost. Smaller libraries of less than 100,000 users submitting a report also have access to E-Read Texas, a statewide e-book platform.

Reports are locked, and the data is publicly available on our website. The collected statistics from all libraries are available in downloadable Excel files.

Individual Library Statistics and Comparison Charts for 2020. This workbook/tool has a total of 55 charts so a library can view individual library information, its status compared to its population group and to statewide averages. In addition, the library can be compared to up to five other libraries to create a customized report using vertical bar graphs.

All of the data collected in the 2020 Annual Report is published here: 2020-All. Local statistics dating back to 1996 are available on this webpage also. All can be downloaded into an Excel format.

Texas Public Library Five-Year Trend Charts. These Excel workbooks contain charts of a library’s activity for a variety of measures during 2015-2020.

Statewide data summaries and five-year trends have been published as well.

The 2020 information has been submitted to the national Public Library Survey (PLS). The 2020 data release is expected to happen in spring 2022. Data files for fiscal year 2019 were released earlier this summer.

For assistance in creating or customizing library statistical reports, please contact Library Data Coordinator Valicia Greenwood (vgreenwood@tsl.texas.gov).

Zoom in to Office Hours for the 2020 Texas Public Libraries Annual Report!

Reminder: The 2020 Texas Public Libraries Annual Report must be submitted on or before Friday, April 30, 2021, for the library to be eligible for accreditation. Revisions and changes will be accepted up until July 31, after the report form has been locked online.

OFFICE HOUR DATES
Thursdays
1:30 PM – 3:00 PM CST
February 11
February 25
March 11
March 25
April 15
April 29
Request Zoom link:
accreditation@tsl.texas.gov

Based on emails received so far, the closures and economic downturns of the past year have created some confusion about what to report for hours, programs, and services. Additionally, maintaining library accreditation based on last year’s performance is causing some anxiety.

Get your questions answered and the information you need to submit your library’s report accurately and on time! Anyone interested in any aspect of the 2020 Annual Report is invited to join, either to ask questions or just listen. You can join by computer or phone, no video required.

Using a Zoom link available by request, drop in at any point and talk with Valicia Greenwood, Library Data Coordinator. She will provide information on topics such as, but not limited to:

  • Accreditation criteria and concerns
  • Continuing education resources
  • Financials
  • Hours open for service
  • Operating vs. capital expenditures
  • Reporting grants
  • Reporting digital (downloadable) material
  • Reporting programs and attendance
  • Special section related to COVD-19 health crisis

If you are not available on Thursday afternoons, send your questions to accreditation@tsl.texas.gov. Answers will be provided promptly, typically within one business day.

RIPL “Data Boot Camp” Free Webinar Series

The Research Institute for Public Libraries (RIPL) opens their thought-changing, practice-expanding data conference experience to any who are interested in taking their library’s data to the next level. Curriculum from the RIPL 2020 national event is offered in a free webinar series this winter. These are NOT webinars spent listening and multi-tasking. Instead, participants must come ready to engage and interact in a variety of learning activities, some of which will occur in small groups in breakout rooms.

January 27 (12:00-1:30 CT): Observations: Data Hiding in Plain Sight Data is available anywhere you are! Participants learn about the purpose of observation, its strengths and limitations for library needs, and guidelines for conducting observations.

February 2 (12:00-1:30 CT): Can You Hear Me Now? Communicating Data to Stakeholders Try out the approaches, templates and engage in ideas to test what may apply for your specific situation. Learn to ask the three key questions about measures and data: What? So What? and Now What?

Boot Camp
RIPL Data Boot Camp logo

February 23 (12:00-1:30 CT): Nothing for Us, Without Us: Getting Started with Culturally Responsive Evaluation Dr LaShaune Johnson introduces the field of Culturally Responsive and Equitable Evaluation (CREE) and participants explore the different kinds of community engagement and when to employ each method. Help create a welcoming space where community members see their culture, values, and lived experiences reflected in the library programing and collections.  Learn to establish an environment where the community is excited to contribute to transparent and collaborative program evaluations.

March 2 (1:00-2:30 CT): Meaningful Metrics for Your Organization Covering metrics selection criteria, metrics hierarchies, attributes of good metrics, and final questions to ask to ensure that the metrics selected will benefit the organization as intended. It will also address metrics reporting frequencies and present a simple, yet effective, dashboard model. Learn what to look for when analyzing metrics and interpreting metrics.

March 16 (1:00-2:30 CT): Evaluation + Culture = Change This session provides a brain-based framework for understanding resistance to change, particularly when it comes to evaluation. It considers change management fundamentals and provides basic strategies to use to foster culture change at your organization.

Go to https://ripl.lrs.org/ripl-data-boot-camp/ to learn more about each webinar and to register. Each session includes a 90-minute live webinar and a 60-minute recorded follow-up lesson for anyone who is interested in learning more about the topic. These webinars will be recorded.

2019 Texas Public Library Statistics Available

We are truly grateful for the tremendous effort made by Texas public librarians this year in submitting their 2019 Annual Report! Amidst library closures and staff working remotely, reports were submitted on time and accurately. These statistics provide the best picture of library service and funding, which is vitally important for stakeholders to know!

Libraries which met the minimum criteria for accreditation will receive formal accreditation letters by email soon. Accredited libraries have access to statewide interlibrary loan (ILL), the federal telecommunications discount program E-rate, TexShare Database and TexShare Card programs, and any funding opportunities through this agency. Any library submitting an Annual Report will be able to order Summer Reading Program materials at no cost. 

Reports are now locked, and the data is publicly available on our website. The collected statistics from all libraries is available in downloadable Excel files. In addition, there are other statistics at your fingertips:

  • Individual Library Statistics and Comparison Charts for 2019. This workbook tool allows a library to view individual library information, as well as view it against averages within their population group and across the state. In addition, it can be compared to up to four other libraries, for a customized report. These are displayed as vertical bar graphs in an Excel workbook. We acknowledge the amazing team at Connecticut State Library for the original work.
  • Statewide and Individual Library Trend Charts for 2019. These Excel workbooks provide a look at the library’s activity for a variety of measures during 2014-2019. A statewide summary is also available.
  • Every  library has access to additional reports once they log in to the data collection portal, Texas LibPAS (https://tx.countingopinions.com/):
    • Annual statistics
    • Library Snapshot brochure
    • Two-Year Comparison Reports

For log-in information, or assistance in creating or customizing statistical reports, please contact Library Data Coordinator Valicia Greenwood (vgreenwood@tsl.texas.gov).

Accreditation and the Pandemic: The 2020 Texas Public Libraries Annual Report, an FAQ

We acknowledge the hard work that public libraries did under very trying circumstances to submit their Annual Reports for 2019. Five hundred and forty libraries completed their reports, only three fewer than last year. We know that this was a challenge for many of you, and we appreciate your efforts to provide this important information to the Texas State Library and Archives Commission (TSLAC). As State Librarian and Director Mark Smith published recently, we feel your pain; we are all in this together.

Having anxiety about potential loss of accreditation due to circumstances beyond your control is understandable. We recognize that this year’s circumstances are extraordinary and will require a considered approach to both reporting and accreditation. There are legal requirements relating to accreditation that our agency must follow. It is our intention to bring together our agency leadership and in-house counsel to review these requirements and determine the best way to proceed.

We do not have all the answers yet but hope to have a plan that we can share with you by the end of the summer. We have your concerns in mind and will be working on providing some concrete information as soon as we can. Be assured that we will work on a broad solution to help libraries the best way possible.

There have been many questions about the 2020 Annual Report and accreditation. Here is where we stand on those issues at present: If this FAQ does not answer your question, contact us at accreditation@tsl.texas.gov.

Q:  Our expenditures this year will not meet the library’s maintenance of effort (MOE). How can the library stay accredited?

A:  This issue is in discussion with staff here at TSLAC. Rules for accreditation are in Texas Administrative Code, so we must weigh in with in-house counsel as well as our commission. We hope to develop solutions and guidance over the next few months, including review by the Library Systems Act (LSA) Advisory Board in the fall.

Q:  We are facing budget cuts for the coming fiscal year or years, due to loss of tax revenue during the pandemic. How can the library stay accredited?

A:  Continue to submit the Annual Report. There may be indirect costs that can make up the difference. Alternatively, city- or county-wide cuts can form the basis of an appeal to the LSA Board.

Q:  Our library is closed for an indefinite time. Should we still submit an Annual Report?

A:  YES! The annual communication from your library to ours is vital for so many reasons. Outside of accreditation, the statistics we generate form a state- and nationwide picture of the role and value of libraries that should not be lost, even if our facilities are closed.

Q:  Our facility is not open to the public, but staff are working. Is the library open?

A:  Yes and… We expect to see fewer open hours on the 2020 report. Everyone is aware of the impact the pandemic has had on businesses, government, recreation, the economy, etc., so this will be reflected in the Annual Report. When reporting “hours open,” this is the number of hours the building is open to the public. You will have the opportunity to report the actual service hours–the hours that the staff has been answering questions, providing curbside delivery, cleaning, and weeding–at another place in the Report.

Q: How do we count library visits?

A:  Follow the current definition. These will be down since the library building is not open to the public. Curbside service will be reflected in the library’s circulation numbers, staff responses to questions will be reported in reference transactions, programs and attendance counts will be reported, as well.

Q:  All of our programs are now virtual. Will this be counted differently?

A:  Yes! For live programs that are held online count total or peak views. Recorded programs do not follow the existing definition but should be tracked and tallied for the library’s stakeholders. More information on this will be published on the Annual Report webpage, https://www.tsl.texas.gov/ldn/annualreport.

Q:  We now leave our Wi-Fi on 24 hour and have expanded its range. How do we report this?

A:  Wi-Fi sessions must be tracked using software on the library’s router. More information on how to do this can be found here:  Count Your Wi-Fi Usage.

New Census Data Dissemination Platform

Anyone who uses US Census data needs to be aware that big changes have occurred in the way the Census distributes information.  This is timely:  the new platform is up and running prior to the input of the decennial US Census.

American Fact Finder, the primary statistics and information search engine for the US Census, is being retired after 20 years.  It will remain as an archive until March 31, 2020, when data.census.gov takes over that function.  This site centralizes data access to allow for a more rapid response to customers.

In addition, Census has created quick tutorials and webinars, called Data Gems, to not only introduce this new platform, but show how to use it for a variety of applications:

….and so much more!

This site is still a work in progress and seeking customer feedback.  They are developing new functionalities in searching and printing options based on this information.

Data.Census.Gov offers a wealth of information that can be used for supporting grant proposals, municipal development planning, planning for library services, or any presentation which needs demographic or economic data.  Check it out soon!

Census 2020 and Your Library

Census Day is April 1, 2020. What’s new this year?

For the first time, the United States Census will be conducted primarily online. The Census is conducted only once every ten years. It counts every person who is residing in the U.S., regardless of immigration status or citizenship.

How is Census data used?

Census data informs how billions of federal dollars are spent, affecting programs from Medicaid to road construction to County Extension. It’s also an essential planning tool for businesses and local governments and is very useful to anyone researching their family history. Census data will also determine how many United States congressional delegates will represent Texas and will impact redistricting.

Why should the library get involved?

Libraries are trusted information brokers and can play an essential role in ensuring a fair and accurate count in their communities for the upcoming 2020 Census. In addition to providing internet and computer access to individuals unable to complete the census form at their residence, libraries can serve as a source of information and assist with basic questions about completing the Census 2020.

Text: Because Good Decisions Depend on Good Data, #Librariestransform
Text: Because good decisions depend on good data, #Librariestransform.

How can my library support the Census?

Identify hard-to-count populations in your service area using the Census ROAM mapping tool. Examples of these populations include:

  • Children under 5
  • Households without Internet access
  • Renters
  • Households in poverty

Develop partnerships with other groups in your community that are already working on the Census. Groups that may already be working on this include:

Create programs about the Census or incorporate information about the Census into ongoing programs.

Host children’s programs.

Share information about the purpose of the Census with staff, board members, volunteers, and community partners.

Prepare library staff for the Census. Impacts may include:

  • Increased computer use
  • Increased Wi-Fi use
  • Questions from patrons

More information

Libraries & Census 2020

Local governments & Census 2020

Image of a map of the United States comprised of images of people. Text: #Countonlibraries U.S. Census 2020
Image of a map of the United States comprised of images of people. Text: #Countonlibraries U.S. Census 2020.

Research Institute for Public Libraries (RIPL) National Event

Are you passionate about data? Are you looking to enhance your data and analysis skills to improve your library? Apply now to be a part of RIPL 2020, an immersive, bootcamp-style event for public library staff to learn practical methods for gathering, analyzing and applying data. Tailored to meet the needs of any data level experience, this event provides hands-on, experiential learning and the opportunity to connect with instructors and colleagues from around the US (and beyond!) who are passionate about creating data-powered libraries. This event is hosted by the Colorado State Library and the Colorado Library Consortium.

Gain the skills you need to use data for planning, management, and communicating impact!

RIPL participants work in public libraries and are…
> Interested in using data for savvy and strategic planning.
> Looking for both inspiration and instruction in a hands-on, participatory environment.
> Seeking to learn about outcomes and how to measure library impact.
> Committed to leading their organizations in making data-based decisions.
> Eager to develop a peer network to support research and evaluation efforts.

RIPL alumni are welcome!

Logo for RIPL, the Research Institute for Public Libraries
July 12-15, 2020

Where: The Eaglewood Resort & Spa, 1401 Nordic Road, Itasca, IL 60143
When: July 12-15, 2020
Cost: Early Bird fee is $1,300, which includes registration, three nights lodging and all meals. After March 1, the fee is $1,450.

RIPL began in 2015 as an immersive, boot camp-style event for public library staff to learn practical methods for gathering, analyzing, and using data for planning, management, and communicating impact. Now, after three national events and more than twenty-five regional events, it’s time for the next wave.

Calling all Texas public libraries: Take the 2019 TSLAC Public Library Speed Test!

The Texas State Library is currently collecting Internet speeds from all Texas public libraries (both mains and branches) with an online speed test. The test measures how much Internet speed (how fast things load from the Internet) patrons can receive from their library location and automatically sends that data to us at the State Library. The data will be invaluable in our planning and help us determine further statewide needs for broadband.

Photo of Fort Worth Public library public access computers
Fort Worth Public Library public access computers

Email invitations with the testing link were sent out Monday to all directors. Please use the link from the email and conduct your test at the library location(s) by Friday, December 13th. If you didn’t receive the invitation, please contact Henry Stokes, 512-463-6624 or ld@tsl.texas.gov.

Many thanks to those speedy libraries who’ve already participated this year!

animated words saying "Thank You!"

Using Texas Public Library Statistics in Reports and Presentations

As the saying goes, “Without data, all you have is another opinion.” However the challenges many librarians face are, (a) where to find appropriate data, and (b) how to present it effectively.

In a free webinar on Thursday, October 10, 2:00-3:00 p.m., join TSLAC Horizontal bar graphLibrary Statistics Specialist Valicia Greenwood and Program Coordinator Stacey Malek as they explore national, statewide and local statistical resources. They will also demonstrate how to create custom reports in Texas LibPAS, the Texas public library data collection portal (https://tx.countingopinions.com/). Discover what to do with the information you collect in the Texas Public Libraries Annual Report, and learn a few tips on how to showcase the library in a new way.

Checkout the handout and the slides in advance. Register here:  https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/1353745504620421891.