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.

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.

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.

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.

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.