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Public Library Survey 2017 Webinar

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This is a recorded version of the South Dakota
Public Library’s annual survey Fiscal Year 2017 My name is Shawn Behrends;
that’s me on the left in the photograph. This is my fifth year running the Public
Library survey in South Dakota. After I’ve reviewed all of your reports, I
clean up the data and I submit it to the IMLS statisticians for processing. It takes a while to prepare the data files and we have federal deadlines to meet so that’s why it’s important to have your annual report completed by March 31st. I’m your contact person if you have any questions about the survey. Pick up the phone or email me. I love to hear from you. The nice young lady on the right in this photograph is my friend Kathleen Slocum. She is our Continuing Education Coordinator and she usually hosts the live webinars with me but she will not be here today. First, I’ll share a little background about the
Public Library Survey. Collection of data from US public libraries began in 1989. The Institute of Museum and Library Services [IMLS] is charged with collecting data from the Public Libraries Survey from more than 9,200 public libraries across the nation. This information is vital to researchers, journalists, and policymakers, as well as the general public, to help evaluate and plan for libraries now and in the future. Some of the questions on this survey are the federal questions (we call these data elements) and some are for data and information that the state uses for reporting, and for planning library development services. SD State mandate requires that all of our public libraries participate annually in the SD Public Libraries Survey. It is important to us because compliance is tied to receiving federal dollars that support our statewide electronic resources and other reference, informational, and continuing education services to South Dakota citizens. However, we don’t want you to just file your report and hand it over to us. Knowing your library’s financial and service statistics and how they compare gives you a professional edge and shows accountability when you’re dealing with the public and with your city and county officials. Do not underestimate the power of statistics to get your message out! That’s why doing your best to fill out the annual report carefully and thoroughly is important. Your fellow librarians depend on your library statistics for comparison data. So during this next hour I’m going to throw out some ideas for how you can use annual report statistics for benchmarking (peer comparisons), demonstrating need, resource allocation, and to shout out what your library adds to your community. The next six slides are a quick run-through of how to navigate the survey site. If you’ve done this before you can go ahead and skip to slide number 9 This is the login page to the survey site at sd.countingopinions.com. Your username & password is the same as last year. I’ve emailed those to you on the day the survey opened. After you login to the survey portal, you’ll see this page. On the Enter page, check for your library’s name. You should download and print out the files on this page before you hit the “Enter” button and begin. The Worksheet and What Goes Where? files will help you immensely in filling out the annual report correctly. You can find instructions for school/public combo libraries in the What Goes Where? file. You’ll find detailed instructions for answering the survey questions on these handouts, so we’ll be glossing over the details in this webinar. The final step to finishing your annual report is having the certification form signed and submitted. After you’ve printed out the help files, click on the Enter button to start the survey. It looks like this… If you’re working on the survey online and don’t understand how to answer a question you can… Click on the underlined question number. The pop-up window will show the meaning of the question and give further information on how to answer. (Be sure to have pop-up windows enabled on your browser.) Remember that the worksheet also has instructions for answering survey questions. Also, if you’re curious about which survey questions are the federal elements, those have the three digit number in parentheses after the question on the online form. You need to know how to find the notes field. Use this to clarify any answers that you feel need explaining. Some of our librarians use the notes field to itemize their answers and that can be helpful for completing next year’s report. You may also have to use the notes field to clear an edit check when you are verifying or submitting the survey. Edit checks happen when a number you enter is outside of the expected range compared to last year or compared to some of your other answers. Sometimes you get stuck on an edit check. If that happens don’t struggle for too long. Just pick up the phone or email me and we can usually fix it. Here’s a troubleshooting tip that may be useful: If you’re having a hard time changing an answer or saving a note, just refresh your browser and that will most likely fix it for you. Next we’re going to go through the survey section by section and talk about a few items that I get questions about. If you have a copy of the worksheet, you can follow along on that. I will mention some special instructions for school/public combo libraries, and… I’ll be explaining a little about what the different data elements mean and how you can use them. Section A is has general information about your library. You will notice that a lot of it is prefilled and locked. Fields that are locked are mostly ones where changes must be updated in multiple hidden federal element fields, so if you see any that you feel should be adjusted, please call or email me and we can fix those together. Do be sure to review these fields. Question A15 is the population of your legal service area. Legal Service area is the number of people in the geographic area for which a public library has been established to offer services and from which the library derives revenue. I use Census estimates to update this field every year. Please contact me if you feel your legal service area is incorrect. Legal Service Area is one of the most vital pieces of data because you need it to calculate per capita statistics. Per capita statistics allow you to compare your library’s income, expenditures, and services to others of differing sizes. Question A16 asks you to estimate population your library actually serves. For example if you are contracted to serve the city, but you also attract many patrons from the surrounding county or a neighboring city, then include that population. Also include the number of nonresident card holders you have. The IMLs will use your library’s legal service population as a comparison measure for finances and services, but if you are making an appeal to stakeholders, like commissioners and local residents, it is helpful to have a solid count of who the library really serves. In this section we’d also like to know about any expansion, remodeling, or other improvement projects happened at your library this year. At the end of Section A, we have a grid form for you to fill in your library’s public service hours. We only need the hours of the main library. We do not need the hours of branches or bookmobiles for this area. Section B has entries for the main library and each branch or bookmobile. So even if you don’t have any branch libraries you will have to fill out an entry for your library. Section B seems redundant, but it actually becomes a separate data file that’s submitted to the IMLS to record branch and bookmobile information for all U.S. libraries. Contact me to make any changes to the locked fields in Section B. Section C asks about the makeup of the library’s staff. Follow the directions in this section for reporting the number of staff in each category and the number of hours they work. Staff hours are automatically calculated as FTEs (full time equivalent staff) that the IMLS uses for comparison. If yours is a school/public combo library include any staff who serve the public. If the school librarian also serves public library patrons, then report him/her as staff. Director salaries [C02] are one of the more frequent data requests we get from you all. Those are available to you, your library board, and local governments. Total FTEs can be compared against open hours, population, staff expenditures, and services to help show need. C18 asks about the number of librarians on staff who have Master of Library Science degrees. That information is important both to the IMLS and to the State Library for the purpose of planning and funding training programs for library staff, for example, in South Dakota that data helps us justify the need for Library Institute and other continuing education opportunities for you all. If you have staff with MLIS degrees, but they are not serving in a librarian position, the federal definition does not allow them to be counted in this field. Section D asks about the library’s operating and capital income sources. IMLS wants to know the sources from which your library income is derived. Income is divided into two major categories: Operating income is what the library uses for day-to-day operating expenses. Capital Income is where you should report any revenue for one-time major expenditures. Things that should be included under capital expenditures are: new buildings, additions, remodeling projects, furnishings, equipment, collections for new spaces, computer hardware & software to support library operations, new vehicles, etc. Any revenue used for repair or replacement of existing library furniture and equipment, and regular purchasing of library materials should be reported in Operating Income. In terms of grants and donations, not report the value of any contributed or in-kind services or the value of non-monetary gifts and donations. Keep in mind that the way IMLS wants income and expenditures reported may not be the way your governing body reports these items. There are explicit directions for reporting on the worksheet and What Goes Where handout
so just refer to those. We often look at local per capita operating income as a way to gauge the community’s support for the library. Knowing the extent to which libraries are supported by their local funding base is valuable for public librarians and their library boards when submitting and defending budgets. As a reference, you should also have some idea of where your library stands in comparison to peer libraries. We can help you with that. The statewide average was around $34 per capita, but that varies a lot between libraries. You can find some of these ratio measures that I’ll be talking about on the table at the end of your annual report form. The graph on this slide shows how our SD average per capita operating income compared to our neighboring states in 2015. That’s one of the things that the IMLS publishes in their reports every year. Section E asks about expenses. Expenses are a measure of the library’s services. Basically the IMLS wants to know what it costs to run the library broken into these three categories: Staff, Collections, and Other Expenditures. Staff expenses will include salaries and benefits for the library staff. It will be the largest part of your library’s budget. Salary/wage information from the PLS can be used to justify salary increases for librarians and other staff. Collection expenditures is broken down into several categories: Print materials, electronic material (that is digital downloadable and streaming—things that can be accessed remotely), and other materials. You will find directions for reporting those in the worksheet. Collection expenditures is a useful statistic for communicating that the library is fulfilling its role of providing services to the public. It can be easier make the case for increased funding for collections than for other purposes. The third category of operating expenditures is… Other Operating Expenditures – That is the “bin” into which all the other expenses for running the library go. Include expenses for binding, supplies, repair & replacement of furnishings & equipment, bookmobile expenses, costs for building maintenance. Also remember to include SDLA and other conference fees, travel and related expenses, materials & supplies for library programs, utilities, ILS fees, computer software that supports library functions. All of those go in “Other Operating Expenditures” This slide compares spending for staff, collections, and other expenditures in SD libraries. Our SD averages are pretty close to the national average. You should be aware of your own library’s ratios and if you want to see how it compares to your neighbors or peer libraries, we can help you with that. If your library’s total operating income (D17) and total operating expenditures (E09) are not nearly the same you might hear
from us. That means balancing your operating expenditures
and your income means that you’re spending all of your budget. If that’s not the case, tell us why in a State Note. Also tell us what happened to the extra money. For example, you didn’t need the money you budgeted for snow removal, so if that’s the case tell us if what happened to the unspent funds. For example did they return to the city’s general fund? We also have some special instructions for reporting income & expenditures in combo libraries: Make sure you include school income that goes into library operating budget. Report income from both the local government and money the library receives from the school district. Report expenses for all staff that serve the public, all collections that are available to the public, all operating expenses that keep the library open and running. For combo libraries your operating income and expenditures probably will not balance. Don’t worry, just be sure to leave a note in D17 & E09 explaining why. Section F asks about the collections the library offers to patrons. How many books, ebooks, magazine subscriptions, dvds, etc. does the library have? We have provided detailed instructions for reporting your holdings on the worksheet, the What Goes Where help sheet, and by clicking on individual question numbers in the online survey. I have prefilled some of these fields for you. Please call or email me if you have collections or items you don’t know how to report. For school/public combo libraries: Any items that can be checked out by the public should be reported in holdings. If you have school resources that cannot be checked out to the public, do not count them. Having a large collection isn’t necessarily a good thing. It may mean you need weed (reduce) the collection— and that’s where having a good collection development policy is helpful. The State Library can also point you to a good weeding manual. One operation that is often done with holdings is calculating turnover. That is the number of materials checked out relative to the size of the collection. Calculating turnover can be especially useful if you are trying to determine which collections or genres need your attention. Section G covers all things related to library services and we’ll just hit briefly on a few items that generate the most questions. If you have branches or a bookmobile, don’t forget to add amounts for all service locations. Library Visits: [G02] You should count everybody who comes in the door for whatever purpose during the year. That’s the federal definition, and it’s vague, but what it means is that you should be counting people who come in for programs, to use computers, and just to meet up. Just use common sense on this one. Many of you don’t have people counters at your doors, so it’s okay to estimate this one by picking two typical weeks out of the year, then multiply by 26. I’ve seen it recommended that you sample a week in April and a week in October. If you can remember I think that seems like a good practice. Visits can be a very powerful statistic in demonstrating a demand for library services— maybe even more than circulation—because visits represent people. Think about it: To local government folks like the mayor or commissioners people=voters. Calculating library visits per capita is a good measure of public awareness about the library. The statewide average of visits per capita was just under 5 in 2016. Registered Users: [G04] Count everybody who has a library card or an assigned ID number for using library services. If your library has household cards, you should multiply the number of cards by the average number of user on the cards. I know that there are still a few libraries that do not issue cards and are using their total service area population for that element. If you do that, keep in mind that you can’t use this statistic as a valid measure of library services. The percentage of the population of your service area who are registered borrowers can be an indication of the library’s relevance to the community. For example, if 50% of your residents have a valid library card that is an indicator that at least half of your community could be considered library supporters. Keep in mind, however, that claim is only as good as your patron records. You need to keep your records current and purge them at least every three years. Statewide, the average for reported registered users was 48% in 2016. Every year we review what is a reference transaction…[G03] Reference transactions are when library staff assist people with research; when you help them find, interpret, or evaluate information; when you refer them to helpful sources. Because we all spend time helping library visitors with technology, the federal definition reminds us to be sure our reference transactions count includes whenever we help people use websites, instruct them on how to use library computers (for example helping set up email accounts), use their ereaders and downloading ebooks. Count all of those as reference transactions. Also please count reader’s advisory questions. They’re when you help readers find a book you think they’d love to read. I should also remind you that there are some things that we don’t count under the federal definition: Do not count directional transactions. You can see some examples of those on the slide. …and do not count policy questions, like what are the library’s overdue fines, and what are your open hours? One more thing: Checking out library materials to a patron is not a reference transaction. Last year circulation became collection use because of the abundance of digital collections and the different ways those are accessed. There are fields for physical materials, digital materials like downloadable audio and ebooks, and databases. It’s gotten complicated to explain, and we’re not going to go into the details here but don’t worry about it. I have a listing of which services to report in which categories on the What Goes Where help sheet. If you have one that’s not on the helpsheet, please contact me and we’ll figure it out together. Take a look at your circulation per capita (on the report form). If it seems low, you should also take a hard look at your materials expenditures and maybe your holdings per capita. As a reference, statewide average of circulation per capita was 7.8 in 2016. We also ask you to report how many of the total materials circulated were juvenile materials. That’s materials for kids under age 18 in G14. This is a good statistic to look at when considering your library services to children. A word about ILL (G33 & 34): Remember to track which types of libraries you’ve loaned books to as well as the ones you’ve borrowed from. There is a tally sheet on the State Library website for recording your monthly interlibrary loan transactions in the correct categories. For school/public combo libraries, if you keep separate track of public library circulation, then only report that. If you do not, then go ahead and report both public and school circulation together. Reporting programs and program attendance are questions that cause confusion every year. Programs [G20] are planned events hosted or co-hosted by the library. They can be onsite or off-site. Count each time an event (or session) is held as a program. For example, a book club or story time that happens once a week for 10 weeks is recorded as 10 programs Program attendance [G21]: Count the audience at each program. So, if it’s a children’s program, include the adults in the attendance count of that program. For example, if adults accompany their toddlers in a lap sit story time session, record the session as 1 Early Literacy program and include the adults in the headcount for that Early Literacy program. For a program that crosses multiple age groups, you choose the age group to report it under, and then count the house, regardless of age. Healthy program attendance is another statistic for getting the attention of your local elected officials because, again, it’s a people measure. IMLS does not allow us to count one-to-one programs here—only group events. We’ll talk about one-to-one programs on the next slide. For school/public combo libraries, do not count class visits to the library where no other library-sponsored programming is provided. If however, a class visit includes some type of presentation or learning activity hosted by the library staff, then count it as a library program and don’t forget to count the number of attendees. We want to get a snapshot of the personalized services that are going on in libraries and want you to be able to count this important type of programming service. That kind of assistance is counted in One-to-One programs [G22] For this you want to count only programs that you plan and promote. Count each one-to-one session that your staff or volunteers do with a patron or student. If you don’t have some kind of official program— in other words, dedicated time and staff set aside for this– then count your assistance as a reference transaction instead. This slide has some examples of things that might be counted as one-to-one programs. We have two federal questions about library computer and internet use and they are confusing. The first [G26] asks about how much use (counted in sessions) the library public computers get. The second question [G27] asks how often people use the library’s wifi to access the internet. We’ll spend a minute explaining each of these… For Public access / internet use sessions [G26] A single session is 30 minutes. So, if you have somebody that uses the library computers for 1 hour, you would count that as 2 sessions. If they use the computers for, say, 75 minutes, round that up to 3 sessions. You should report the total number of sessions for the year. It’s OK to “guestimate” over a 2 week period. (x 26) We also want to remind you: If you keep a log with patron names to keep track of Internet sessions, please remember to protect your patrons’ privacy by shredding the log page at the end of each day. As for the second question (G27): Wifi is one of those “invisible” services that public libraries offer and so we need to measure its use to show the value of it. Here is the definition of wireless sessions: A wireless session is every time someone connects to the library’s WiFi network to use the Internet. Doesn’t matter how long (not like Public Access computer sessions that we just covered). If someone comes in twice during the day to use the WiFi, count that as 2 sessions (regardless of how long they were online). For small libraries – paper/pencil count is OK. Don’t forget to count users outside in the parking lot. They count too. Again, guestimations are OK. Public computers and Internet access are still a really important service in South Dakota libraries. This service helps to even the playing field for people who don’t have access at home. AND libraries provide the assistance that many people need to set up email accounts, apply for jobs, look for health care information, and navigate government services. At the national level, these elements are being used for policy making and for creating funding opportunities like E-rate for schools & libraries and IMLS broadband initiatives. In section H we ask for contact information for your library board members. We ask that you keep us updated when a replacement member is appointed to your library’s board. We request that you include current email addresses for your trustees—especially the library board president. This is our most efficient method of contact with them. We email trustees rarely, but occasionally there is an announcement or opportunity that we need to share. I promise you we do not share trustee email addresses outside of the State Library. Library trustees have an important role in guiding the mission and policies of the library and we want to do our part to keep them informed about decisions and events that impact their library. We also have some tools and resources for you that are related to the annual report, like a nifty annual report brochure, return on Investment calculator, user survey templates, etc. and in order to save time I’ll just tell you that you can click on this link or or copy it down and put it in your browser and it’ll take you to a web page with all these different tools and resources. I want to thank you very much for taking the time to attend this webinar and to complete those annual reports every year. I have closed the evaluation survey so you don’t have to worry about that. Anyway, if you have any questions
don’t hesitate to call me. Shawn – my name is all over the online report form and all the handouts that I told you about so you won’t have any trouble
getting hold of me. Once again thank you for your time and have a nice day.

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