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).

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 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.

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).

Upcoming Webinars on School and Copyright Resources

As the 2020-2021 school year gets started, we are hosting two webinars that may be of interest to both public and school library audiences. Registration information can be found below.

Stack of books
Photo by Kimberly Farmer on Unsplash (https://unsplash.com/photos/lUaaKCUANVI)

Resources for the 2020-2021 School Year: TexShare, TexQuest, and more!

Tuesday, Sept 15 at 2: 00 p.m. Central

Register here: https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/2890745121447530255

The 2020-2021 school year is shaping up to be uniquely challenging. Some students will be in the classroom, and some will be at home and exploring online learning. Public and school libraries will need to work closely with each other and with families to ensure all students are able to equitably continue their education. During this webinar, we will explore TexShare and TexQuest databases, as well as additional resources, to help assist families both at home and in their classrooms.

We will be hearing from Kyla Hunt, Youth Services Consultant; Laura Tadena, Inclusive Services Consultant; Liz Philippi, School Program Coordinator; and Russlene Waukechon, Networked Information Coordinator.

This webinar will be recorded; however, for maximum benefit, including the ability to ask questions in real time, we strongly encourage you to attend the live session.

Copyright and Creative Commons resources for patrons, students, and library workers

Tuesday, Sept. 22 at 2:00 p.m. Central

Register here: https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/3252325017821180941

More than ever, libraries need resources for free, including copyrighted images and other online content. In this webinar, we will be exploring resources to help you find information on copyright issues involving remote learning and other services, as well as online repositories of content you can use with patrons and students.

We will also be taking a deep dive into Creative Commons, which allows content creators to create licenses to share their creations with the world while holding on to their copyright. They also provide searching tools for students, teachers and the public to find content to use for free.

In this session, Kyla Hunt, Youth Services Consultant with the Texas State Library and Archives Commission, and Liz Philippi, TSLAC’s School Program Coordinator, will explore ways to locate Creative Commons licensed materials and to promote their use in your library. Please note that the presenters are not lawyers and cannot provide legal advice.

This webinar will be recorded; however, for maximum benefit, including the ability to ask questions in real time, we strongly encourage you to attend the live session.

Yes, We’re Open: Talking with the Nueces County Keach Family Library

Nueces County Keach Family Library staff on the front steps of the library.

We have received many questions regarding how libraries throughout the state of Texas are providing services to the public. To help answer these questions, we are continuing a blog post series titled Yes, We’re Open, which will interview library directors and workers throughout the state to provide snapshots in library response. In this third installment of the series, we interviewed Ida Gonzalez-Garza , Director of the Nueces County Keach Family Library in Robstown, Texas.

In Part 1 of this series, we interviewed Marisol Vidales, Director of the Hector P. Garcia Memorial Library in Mercedes. In Part 2, we spoke with Michael Hardrick, director of the Forest Hill Public Library.

In what ways is your library open to the public?

Our librarians and staff are providing virtual online services to our patrons via Facebook Video (Live). We also created Facebook groups for our Summer Reading Program and Family Place families to provide LIVE videos and important information, as well as the Nueces County Public Libraries YouTube page. Our staff has been providing our patrons an online calendar of events for all our virtual programming. Our services and activities include:

  1. Virtual arts and crafts activities
  2. Virtual Storytime
  3. Kahoot!TM online trivia
  4. Virtual Sensory Storytime
  5. “Goodnight” Storytime
  6. Virtual escape room
  7. Nintendo Switch Mario Kart tournaments
  8. Mr. Kippy’s Storytime
  9. Science and Discover online program
  10. Bookmark contests in July and August 
  11. Curbside services – books and audiovisual materials for patrons and free books giveaway 
  12. Conducting inventories at two libraries and weeding library collections
  13. Online book display– Patrons can place these books on hold for curbside delivery 
  14. Book A Librarian – Virtually. Ask a Librarian for help finding books, movies, audiovisual materials; basic technology questions; research guidance for business and finance; legal resources; and more
  15. Nueces County Public Libraries Monthly Newsletter
  16. Free Wi-Fi at both county libraries, accessible from the libraries’ parking lot
  17. Promoting Nueces County Online “Art Gallery”. Patrons are submitting artwork and promote on our library website to the community.
  18. Summer Reading Program virtual: We use READsquared (online reading program) and have great success with our numbers. During this time our librarians’ and staff held virtual events, missions on READsquared, writing prompts on READsquared they submitted to our librarians to request codes, and Zoom programs such as Austin Reptile Show (Registration Required) and held live videos on our Facebook Group with Magician John O’Bryant.
  19. We are promoting our ONLINE database resources. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic we decided to utilize our book and audio-visual materials budget to subscribe to new online database resources. Our county judge is knowledgeable in the services that libraries are providing and the technology we have to offer and wanted us to subscribe to more online databases, making them available to our patrons.
  20. Sesame Street – Ebooks
  21. World Book online (distance learning) Pre-School to High School databases (FY2020)
  22. Hoopla Digital Resources
  23. RB DIGITAL / Hoonuit, Universal Class and Transparent Language (FY2020)
  24. Libby Overdrive
  25. SimplyE
  26. KHAN Academy – 1,800 video tutorials, math, science, history, finance, and test prep.
  27. Ebsco Flipster Online Magazine Subscription
  28. Proquest Ancestry (FY 2020)
  29. READsquared  – Reading program to promote children, teen, and adult programming.
  30. TexShare Databases
Flier advertising that curbside services are available now.

How have your library’s policies and procedures changed?

We did NOT have a pandemic policy in place, so we created one and then revised twice with changes that we did not expect. But I have been fortunate that we have supportive county governing authority and our emergency management department has also been very supportive during this pandemic. Of course, I have a very young staff who have been adaptive to the changes and are trying to cope with the strain of the challenges in the workplace.

How have you adapted your library space?

The first thing that we did was request plexiglass for our circulation desks. We didn’t have any problems getting this request filled for our libraries. I have also submitted a capital outlay request for permanent glass to be installed at the main branch and small branch areas for aesthetic pleasing purposes, but I know that this is going to be an expensive request. Due to time and funding, I chose to ask for this separately for next year’s budget. The plexiglass is a little flimsy, and it may secure enough to last the whole year. We received distance markers for the floor and our public works department has provided signage for the patrons to see that it is mandatory to wear face masks on premises. We have also moved our furniture and we will NOT be providing seating for patrons to sit and lounge in Phase I-III. We will NOT allow patrons to search for books in the stacks either. We will have all these areas inaccessible to the patrons.  We are using our multi-purpose room to quarantine our books. Our library staff enters the library after picking up the books from the book drop boxes, and they immediately quarantine the materials. We have also removed all our chairs for our seating areas so that when we open to the general public, they do not stay. We do not have any idea when this is going to happen. We still have a high rate of COVID-19 cases being reported and many deaths. We will be ready when this happens. We keep getting messages from patrons who want to know when we are going to open, and we tell them that we don’t know.

What services are you providing to vulnerable populations?

Our libraries are in the rural northwest and south, so we don’t have any homeless population at this time. Our service population is small, but we still communicate with all our school districts and offer our services to them. We have been trying to partner with our county community senior services department that delivers homebound meals to the elderly population, but it has been challenging. We are providing services to rural school districts that do not have the technology for their students. Our county judge had purchased iPads for the libraries to use while providing STEM technology training, and she asked us to allow the students in these rural areas to check them out the latter part of the spring semester. We may have to loan these out at the beginning of the school year to the schools that do not have any iPads.

How are you helping your staff during this time?

Nueces County is COVID-19 testing all of our staff for free, and they are also providing counseling. Our human resources department is very supportive, and they have sent us emails telling us to contact them if anyone needs help coping or referrals. The county is providing incentives to keep up morale, and try to keep a low-stress environment. 

Not all of our staff can work from home because of their job duties, and, since we are still technically open and trying to fill book requests, some of our staff has to stay in the library and work. The Keach Family Library librarians are working from home one or two days out of the week. All our other staff stays here at the library working.

Describe your decision-making process.

Our service population is 31,530, but the rural counties that do not have libraries may receive a free library card with restrictions. Our governing authority has never questioned our decision to allow people from other counties to use our libraries without assessing a service fee. The county judge and commissioners decided to close our libraries. We stayed working at the libraries, conducting inventory of all our materials at both libraries. Our libraries have been closed since March when the pandemic started. We are providing curbside services and virtual Storytime and arts and crafts for patrons. At the end of June, I contacted the emergency management department and asked if we could re-open for enhanced services and they said, “NO.” The numbers at that time were barely going up. At this time, we may be closing in a few weeks and going back to Phase 1 due to a HUGE increase in positive COVID-19 cases in Nueces County. I am very fortunate to have great support from our Commissioners Court administration and our County Judge.

How did you communicate with your governing authority?

I have a great communication with our County Judge and Commissioners, and they listen to our concerns. We receive directives regarding closures and re-opening stages from the Commissioners Court. We also have an emergency management department that is under the directive of the county judge, offering guidance to our department.

This conversation has been lightly edited for clarity.

Nueces County Keach Family library Summer Reading winners sitting outside in front of yard signs that say “a library champion lives here.”

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.

IMLS Releases 2017 Public Libraries Survey Data

The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) has published the dataset from the 2017 Public Libraries Survey. This provides a look at public library use, financial health, staffing, and resources from reporting year 2017.

Cover of 2017 Public Libraries Survey

For over 30 years, IMLS has published this information collected from over 9,000 public library systems representing all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and US territories.

According to IMLS Director Crosby Kemper, “Libraries continue to connect with their communities and provide services that support the needs and interests of their patrons, including access to digital materials. We are pleased to share the latest version of IMLS’s annual survey, which shows that attendance at library events is up, indicating an understanding of what the community wants from their library.”

Highlights in this report:

  • There were over 1.3 billion visits to libraries by 55% of those who lived in an area serviced by a public library.
  • Programs and program attendance increased significantly over 2016. There were 5.6 million programs attended by 118 million children, young adults and adults.
  • Electronic resources continue to grow, and their popularity has increased. Public libraries offered over 463.5 million e-books to their patrons.

Texas State Library staff truly appreciate the librarians and library directors who contributed to these findings, through their submission of the Texas Public Libraries Annual Report.  This information is vital to policymakers, researchers, journalists and the general public, to help evaluate and plan for libraries now and in the future.