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.

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.