Reminder! 2020 Texas Public Libraries Annual Report

It is time to “spring” into action on your public library’s 2020 Annual Report! Although the hard-and-fast due date is Friday, April 30, 2021, we encourage librarians to submit their report by Wednesday, March 31, to allow agency accreditation staff enough time to process the more than 500 reports expected.

Some popular questions – with answers – are below!  Follow the Tip Sheet links, available on the Annual Report web page, for more details.

  • Reporting Service Hours Tip Sheet
    • Report ACTUAL time the library building was fully accessible to the public in questions 11.1 (annual hours) and 11.2 (annual weeks) for reporting year 2021.
    •  Report anticipated hours once pandemic restrictions are lifted in questions 11.3-11.5.
    • Curbside or drive-through services, if the building is locked, do not count for “open.”
  • Reporting Programs Tip Sheet:
    •  In Section 7, report in person programs and LIVE virtual programs. The program definitions have not changed from previous years, just the way that participants show up. A livestream is one in which library staff interacts with the participants during the session. Count participants as one device equals one person.
    • In the Special Section, report virtual and recorded programs. These should be marked as views for at least one-minute, and for a period of the first seven days after launch on the social media platform.
  • Local Financial Effort – Section 4:
    • Question 4.2 includes ALL operating expenditures funded locally. This includes any local financial donations, as well as local government funding. This is a calculated field in the online form that removes any non-local grant funds.
    • Question 4.1 is the local funds that were used for collection materials purchases. This includes any local financial donations, as well as local government funding. Again, this is a calculated field online.
    • Question 4.3 is only the local government funds that were used for operating expenditures. For some libraries, this is all that is used; for others, this is only a portion of local funding. Every library is different!
  • Maintenance of Effort (MOE):
    • Library expenditures must meet or exceed MOE to maintain accreditation.
    • MOE is the average of the last three years’ local operating expenditures as reported in question 4.2 (see above). Find the pre-calculated amounts for every library in the 2020 Population & MOE Planning Tool.
    • Libraries with reduced expenditures due to the economic impact of the pandemic may be eligible to request a waiver of this criterion, using the new Emergency Rule. Contact library accreditation staff at accreditation@tsl.texas.gov if this is the case for your library.

We are here to help! Contact Library Data Coordinator Valicia Greenwood at vgreenwood@tsl.texas.gov or accreditation@tsl.texas.gov if you have any questions or concerns. Agency staff continues to telecommute from home. However, Zoom calls, meetings or conferences can be set up upon request.

The next open Office Hours will be held on Thursday, March 25, 1:30 p.m. – 3:00 p.m., CT. Stop by and get an answer to any Annual Report issues!  There is nothing prepared, nor do we record the session. Anyone interested in these topics is welcome to join. Get the link on request through accreditation@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.

2020 Texas Public Libraries Annual Report: Data Collection Portal Open

Texas LibPAS, https://tx.countingopinions.com/, the data collection portal for the Texas Public Libraries Annual Report, is now open for reporting local fiscal year 2020 information. Public libraries are encouraged to submit their information by March 31, to allow staff time to review the reports and work through accreditation issues.

The Texas State Library and Archives Commission participates in a national public library data collection system and the data is used for the creation of a composite report on the public libraries of the United States and for state-to-state comparisons by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). Additionally, this report is used to accredit public libraries in Texas.

Accredited libraries can participate in statewide interlibrary loan and E-rate – the federal telecommunications discount program. They are also eligible to apply for the agency’s competitive grants and other funding opportunities and to participate in the TexShare Card and TexShare Database programs.

Libraries that submit a report may be eligible to participate in E-Read Texas, and to order Summer Reading Program materials at no cost.

Emails were sent in the first week of January reminding library directors of their Texas LibPAS log-in information. If you have not received the email, or you have questions about the Texas Public Libraries Annual Report, please contact Valicia Greenwood by email.

Are you new to completing this report? Register for the webinar, What is New and A Review of the 2020 Texas Public Libraries Annual Report, that will be held on Thursday, January 21 at 2:00 p.m. Those registered will receive a link to the recording once the webinar is over.

If you have concerns about accreditation, or questions about what to report, email accreditation@@tsl.texas.gov, or refer to the Annual Report webpage, https://www.tsl.texas.gov/ldn/annualreport.

New Training Videos for the Annual Report Available!

Texas participates in a nationwide public library data survey, and also accredits libraries through an annual report. The data collection period for local fiscal year 2020 is coming up in early January. 

A four-part series on Preparing for the 2020 Texas Public Libraries Annual Report is now ready for viewing on the Annual Report webpage, https://www.tsl.texas.gov/ldn/annualreport. Rather than hosting a one-hour webinar, these are short explorations of different topics, accompanied by a handout:

Part 1:  Basic Information all Texas Public Library Directors Should Know (video-9:56) (slides
Part 2:  Financial Sections of the Annual Report (video-12:09) (slides)
Part 3:  Tracking and Reporting Services and Technology (video-9:58) (slides)
Part 4:  Texas Public Library Accreditation (video-15:12) (slides)

These presentations can be watched in any order, or you can just watch the one(s) in which you have the most interest. However, if you are interested in obtaining continuing education credit for these, you will need to watch all four as a course in our online learning environment.

In addition to the trainings, we have several information links on the website to ensure the ease and success of the library’s annual report submission:

As always, if you have questions or need any additional assistance, please contact staff at accreditation@tsl.texas.gov.  We continue to telecommute, so email is the best contact.

New Public Library Accreditation Rule Passed by Archives Commission

In the upcoming Texas Public Libraries Annual Report, we expect to see fewer open hours, visits, programs, etc., from local libraries, as well as lower expenditures. With the pandemic shutting down libraries and local budgets decreasing, many are concerned about a loss of public library accreditation based on current rules.

At its fall meeting on November 9, 2020, the agency commission reviewed and passed an emergency rule relating to public emergencies. The new emergency rule, which is now in effect, allows TSLAC to waive one or more accreditation criteria if a library shows good cause, such as a pandemic, as to why it was unable to meet the criteria.

It will be important for the library to submit their 2020 Annual Report in advance of the April 30 due date if at all possible, and to offer detailed explanations, including dates and financial impact of the pandemic health crisis on its operation and community.

In addition to the emergency rule, which will be in effect for 120 days with the option for a 60-day extension, TSLAC has set in motion the process to formally adopt and incorporate this rule into the administrative rules for the minimum standards of public library accreditation, 13 TAC §1.71- §1.86. The text of the emergency and proposed rule is as follows,

§1.87. Emergency Waiver of Accreditation Criteria.

One or more accreditation criteria in this subchapter may be waived if a library shows good cause for failure to meet the criteria. For purposes of this subchapter, good cause means a public health emergency, including, but not limited to a pandemic or epidemic; a natural or man-made disaster, including, but not limited to a tornado, hurricane, flood, wildfire, explosion, or chemical spill; or other extraordinary hardship which is beyond the control of the library as determined by the agency.

The proposed rule will be published in the Texas Register for public comment in the coming weeks.

If your library falls into this category, we will work with you to resolve the situation. Look here for more information in the months to come.

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.

Ready for Input: 2019 Texas Public Libraries Annual Report

Texas LibPAS, https://tx.countingopinions.com/, the data collection portal for the Texas Public Libraries Annual Report, is now open for reporting local fiscal year 2019 information.   Public libraries are encouraged to submit their information by March 31 to allow staff time to review the reports and work through accreditation issues.

The Texas State Library and Archives Commission participates in a national public library data collection system and the data is used for the creation of a composite report on the public libraries of the United States, and for state-to-state comparisons by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS).  Additionally, some data elements in this report are used to accredit public libraries in the state of Texas.

Accredited libraries can participate in statewide interlibrary loan and E-rate–the federal telecommunications discount program.  They are also eligible to apply for the agency’s competitive grants and other funding opportunities, and to participate in the TexShare Card and TexShare Database programs.

Information on preliminary population assignment and the library’s maintenance of effort (MOE) is available on the portal login page or the Annual Report webpage, under Tips and Tools, Population & MOE Planning Toolhttps://www.tsl.texas.gov/ldn/annualreport.

Emails were sent out last week reminding library directors of their Texas LibPAS log-in information. If you have not received the email, or you have questions about the Texas Public Libraries Annual Report, please contact Valicia Greenwood by email or call within Texas toll-free 800-252-9386.

Webinar This Week! Introduction to the 2019 Texas Public Libraries Annual Report

On Thursday, January 9, at 2 p.m., Library Statistics Specialist Valicia Greenwood will present an Introduction to the 2019 Texas Public Libraries Annual Report.

This webinar contains all you need to know about the Texas Public Libraries Annual Report and public library accreditation.  Whether this is your first time through, or have been doing it for years, it will be worth your time to participate.

You’ll learn tips for successful completion and what changes have been made in report questions.  There will be time spent on the financial reporting sections and details about maintenance of effort (MOE).  There will be links to tools that will help you understand the questions, from reporting downloadable materials to program statistics.  Each section of the report will be discussed and you will see a live demonstration of how to work your way around Texas LibPAS, the data collection portal. This is a great time to ask the questions you may have about reporting and accreditation.

This webinar provides 1 TSLAC CE hour of credit with the live viewing.  Join us!  Register at Introduction to the 2019 Texas Public Libraries Annual Report.

Prepare for the 2019 Texas Public Libraries Annual Report

Now is the time to prepare for the 2019 Texas Public Libraries Annual Report! Putting the information together now will reduce the aggravation, anxiety and frustration of pulling it together next year!

Join LSTA/Accreditation Program Coordinator Stacey Malek and Library Statistics Specialist Valicia Greenwood on Tuesday, November 12, 2019, 2:00-3:00 p.m., to learn about the information needed to complete the 2019 Texas Public Libraries Annual Report. Check out our new AR Prep Excel workbook and learn how to calculate the library’s maintenance of effort (MOE). Register here:
Preparing for the 2019 Texas Public Libraries Annual Report:  https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/765988369853380867.

Aren’t available that afternoon? Register now and receive an email when the recording is available, so that you can watch when it is convenient for you.

Questions? Contact us at accreditation@tsl.texas.gov.

2018 Texas Public Library Statistics Available

Thank You! once again, to the 542 Texas public librarians and library directors who submitted their library’s 2018 Texas Public Libraries Annual Report. Collected data has been reviewed, analyzed, and submitted to the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) for national publication. Formal letters confirming accreditation were sent by email a week ago.  If you believe your library should have received one, and did not, please let us know!

The statistics for 2018, including statewide trend information,  can be found on the Texas Public Library Statistics page, https://tsl.texas.gov/ldn/pubs/texaspubliclibrarystatistics.  The collected information from all Texas public libraries is displayed in reports through Texas LibPAS, which can be downloaded into Excel files.

Check out the 2018 Individual Library Statistics and Comparison Charts.This workbook has separate tabs that allow a library to view individual library information; averages within its population group and the state as a whole.  There are also comparison charts with up to four other libraries on a variety of measures.

For tips and directions on using these statistics, register now for the Using Texas Public Library Statistics in Reports and Presentations webinar on Thursday October 10, 2:00-3:00 p.m.

If you need any information for presentations, please contact Library Statistics Specialist Valicia Greenwood (vgreenwood@tsl.texas.gov) or Program Coordinator Stacey Malek (smalek@tsl.texas.gov).  We will be happy to assist you!