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.

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.

2019 Texas Public Libraries Annual Report Portal Locks on April 30

Thank you and congratulations! to the two-thirds of Texas public librarians who have locked their Annual Report for 2019!  And if you are one of the nearly 50% who have submitted the signed Application for Accreditation, then give yourself an pat on the back!

This report does more than accredit Texas public libraries.  It provides the information that represents Texas libraries to the rest of the nation and beyond.  It allows stakeholders to have access to the data that tells every library’s story and to demonstrate the library’s value to the community.

However, there are still nearly 200 public libraries that need to get their report in by Thursday, April 30th!  For those of you who have completed the process, reach out to the library in the next town or county and make certain they have submitted everything that is needed.

Known issue:  question 3.9b will not always calculate and this will prevent report submission.  Valicia Greenwood can force the calculation on the back end.  Send an email to vgreenwood@tsl.texas.gov if you encounter this problem.  Other issues have been addressed here.

Libraries that submit an Annual Report are eligible to order Summer Reading Program materials at no cost, through this agency and CSLP.  Libraries that are accredited can benefit from the TexShare Card and TexShare Databases programs, from statewide interlibrary loan, from the competitive grants and other funding opportunities that come through this agency, and from E-rate, the federal telecommunications program that can provide up to a 90% discount for telecommunications.

Questions?  Submission Issues?  Accreditation concerns?  Visit the Annual Report webpage, or contact Valicia Greenwood by email.

Thank you, again, for your participation! Your library’s voice strengthens libraries everywhere.

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!

It’s Time! Submit the 2019 Texas Public Libraries Annual Report!

As we all “spring forward,” it’s time for Texas public library directors to get all of the library statistics collected over the last local fiscal year and enter them into Texas LibPAS.  This report is due no later than Thursday, April 30, 2020, a due date which cannot be extended.  We recommend that libraries complete the report before the end of this month, to allow staff enough time to review the reports from over 550 Texas public libraries!

Log-in information was emailed to public library directors in early January.  If there has been a change in leadership at your library, or if the information is no longer available, contact us at your earliest convenience (information below).

Answers to Frequent Questions

The new question, 7.9:  Successful Retrieval of Electronic Information. This question intends to capture use of databases (also called electronic collections) that cannot be included in the item and circulation count easily. If the library has databases either on its own or through a consortium, report the usage statistics from the vendor.  Report only sessions or full text items that your patrons have viewed. Report “0” (zero) in 7.9 if your library has ONLY TexShare databases.  A database that is freely available in the public domain should not be included.

Edit check on question 3.11:  Total Operating Expenditures, which states,

The ratio of TOTAL OPERATING EXPENDITURES to TOTAL STAFF EXPENDITURES is higher/lower than expected. Please check for possible errors or explain why the correct data are out of range.”

This is an edit check we have carried from our federal report that pops up when staff expenditures exceed half to two-thirds of the total operating expenditures.  There is no judgement here:  it is a mathematical check.  To resolve it, please add a note explaining that staff and total operating expenditures have been checked and verified. 

Printing the report:  clicking on the word “Print” at the top of the page will pop up a dialogue box with the following choices:

  • Template – this is the entire workbook, with question definitions and responses.
  • Screen – this is just the questions and responses, much as what is seen on the screen.
  • Cancel – if you don’t want to print, click on this.

If you print the report before it is locked, you will see a watermark of the word “Draft” on every page.  That no longer appears once the report is locked, even though you can still print the report.

Much more information is found on the Annual Report webpage:  https://www.tsl.texas.gov/ldn/annualreport, including

Don’t forget to submit the signed Application for Accreditation, once your report is locked.

Email (accreditation@tsl.texas.gov) or call (800-252-9386 or 512-463-5466) if additional clarification is needed. 

Your participation helps give a voice to libraries nationwide.  Thank you for all your time and effort!

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.

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.

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.

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!