Annual Report - FAQ

General Questions

Who do I contact with questions?
If at any point you run into any problems or have any questions, please contact Joshua Muse. In fact, if you even suspect you might have a question, please don't hesitate to get in touch.

Where and How do I login?
The new web address and login information will be going out as soon as the report is live. If you're not sure of one or both, contact Josh.

Do I need to do the report in order?
You can work on the report in any order. You can stop and come back to the report as often as you would like, just make sure to click Save when you stop.

How do I get help, or see last year's data?
Click the question mark icon to get help on a specific question. Click Show Last Year’s Answers in the upper-right hand corner to see your data from last year.

When should I measure for "snapshot" questions?
When the report asks for a "snapshot" measurement, rather than a count over time, you should measure it near the end of the period you are reporting on. This includes questions like item holdings and number of patrons. For example, if you follow the traditional fiscal year (July 1-June 30), you would measure it on or near June 30. As always, do the best you can, and ask Josh if you have questions.

Why are some questions already filled in?
For some questions that rarely change - basic contact info, service population, square footage - the answers are already filled in (the fields will be grayed out). These should generally be correct, but if you notice a problem or change, let us know.

What is an edit check?
An edit check occurs when the system thinks data in a field doesn't match its expectation. This typically means it’s significantly higher or lower than last year. Once you have entered all of your data, click Status in the menu. This shows all edit checks you need to complete.

Okay, how do I complete an edit check?
For each check, you'll need to give an explanation for the year-to-year difference, such as "we did more programming" or "our children’s librarian was out." Each check will let you know whether it needs to be Federal, State, or Local (click the appropriate tab). Once you’ve entered all of your checks, click Submit Corrections at the bottom of the page. If everything has a green check, you are set. If you see a red X, you still need to adjust something.

Do I need to keep a running tab of everything, or can I use a sample period?
Obviously, keeping a running total is ideal, but we know that's not always possible. One alternative is to take a sample over a couple of typical weeks, and average the results. Sampling can be a good option for questions like library visits, reference questions, WiFi sessions, and website visits.

Specific Questions

If our staff received a grant to attend a conference (VLA, NELA, ARSL, etc...), where should I include that?
Conference grants should go under Other Federal Grants (D12h and i).

Under Outreach (H30-32), where do we include deliveries to schools?
Please include outreach deliveries to schools as Deliveries to Other Sites (H32).

How do we account for money that is withdrawn from an Endowment/Savings account for use in a Capital Project?
We've updated our guidance on this question. If you’ve received money (this year or previously) that has gone into an endowment or other special fund, and you use it for a capital expense, please include it under Other Capital Revenue (E04) as well as Capital Expenditures (F14).

Should lending within a consortium count as ILL's?
If possible, intra-consortium lending should be counted as an Inter Library Loan (by both sending and receiving libraries). However, we recognize those stats could be challenging to separate out, so libraries shouldn’t feel stressed if they are not able, especially this time around. We'll consider this a work in progress.

If we don’t have stats for a field (for example, wireless usage or website visits), how should we indicate that?
In general, if you don't have stats for something, or don't own any of them, enter 0. Additionally, if the survey is requiring you to fill out a field that otherwise isn't relevant, just enter 0.

Where do I find stats for Universal Class?
Though we mistakenly referenced it in the report, stats for individual libraries are not currently available fromUniversal Class, due to the way they handle consortia. Though patrons are initially authenticated by library card number, they are then all lumped into one large group. The reporting makes no reference to where they have come from.

When counting hours for staff with Public Library Certificates, how should we include them?
Staff with certificates but without MLS degrees should be included in the non-MLS numbers. We’ll discuss whether to add a question for certified staff.

How do we include seasonal/non-regular staff hours, like bookmobile staff or subs?
We may revisit this for next year, but if you are able to take the annual hours for non-regular staff, and then divide it by 52 weeks, you can add that number to the “all other staff” category.

Should In-Kind Support include support from a municipality?
Yes. I misread it at the training, but it’s pretty clear. Any services that are provided, but not allotted within your budget, should be included. This question is not asked by IMLS.

When does volunteer work constitute In-Kind Support?
My general rule of thumb is whether the person would typically receive payment for their service, and whether the library would have considered paying someone to do it if the person had not offered. This question is not asked by IMLS.

Where do we include expenses for repair due to flooding or similar damage?
If the incoming money were already included in your budget, it would be considered regular income; if it were not, it would be included as capital revenue. If budgeted, the expense side would be included under all other operating expenses, while if not budgeted it would be capital expenditures.

How do I handle restricted gifts?
Our documentation suggests that income “collected as restricted contributions to the endowment, savings or for special purposes” is not to be included; it also says that “Restricted contributions are not reported.” Under other local income, it reads “Report here all other unrestricted cash contributions to the library.” The IMLS instructions only say that contributions to the endowment shouldn’t be included. We may rewrite things next year, but for now please exclude restricted gifts.

If grant funds and budgeted funds are used to complete a project, is the full amount or only the granted amount included in Funds Spent on Grant Projects?
Include only the portion of the project covered by grant funds under Grant Expenditures. This question is not asked by IMLS.

Where do I include Young Adult book holdings and circulation?
YA book holdings can be included under adult holdings and circulation, as their minimum is age 14 so there is more overlap. We may look into the possibility of adding a YA category.

What is a reference question?
(shared by our reference librarian, April Shaw) The general guideline is any question that imparts knowledge to a person and teaches them something they didn’t know. Anything where the librarian looks up the answer, refers them to another person who would have the answer, or even gives them directions to another location. Roughly speaking, it includes anything beyond “Where is the bathroom?” and “When is my book due?”

Should checkouts for ILL be included under the general circulation count?
Borrowed ILL’s checked out to your patrons should be included, but items checked out to other libraries should not, if it’s possible to separate those numbers.

When do other organizations programs held in the building count for programming?
The IMLS instructions read: “Count all programs, whether held on- or off-site, that are sponsored or co-sponsored by the library. Exclude programs sponsored by other groups that use library facilities.” My sense is that the line is probably whether you provided the program support beyond setup and breakdown, including advertising.

Does outreach include bringing non-cataloged books somewhere, like a food shelf or little free library?
After some discussion, we feel outreach should include delivering items, whether they are cataloged or not, and regardless of whether they are intended to come back. This question is not asked by IMLS.

Should the count of WiFi sessions include staff computers or devices?
Neither the IMLS nor state instructions make any reference to removing sessions for staff devices.

Does the new question on website visits include social media
No, it does not. It's certainly possible that IMLS will look to add a related question in the future, but for now this is focused purely on library websites.

Where do we report grant funds for migrating libraries to the Verso ILS?
For the income section, include it under Other Federal Grants (D12h & D12i); you can just refer to it as "Verso grant." In terms of expenses, please use Funds Spent on Grant Projects (F12 & F13).