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Submitting the Annual Report for Public Libraries

The annual report provides a broad statistical summary of a year in the life of a public library, from visitation and programming, to finances and staffing, to circulation and holdings (both physical and digital). The report is submitted each year by every public library, and is used by our department as well as IMLS to help plan for the future, and to document the significance of libraries throughout the nation.

Most questions are determined by IMLS (Institute of Museum and Library Services) with input from the State Data Coordinators. A few questions have been specifically added by the Vermont Department of Libraries.

Information for this Year's Submission

What time period does the report cover?

This is one of the most potentially confusing aspects of the report. Libraries use many different fiscal calendars: Calendar Year (Jan 1-Dec 31), Traditional Fiscal Year (July 1-June 30), Federal Fiscal Year (Oct 1-Sept 30), and others!

Libraries should submit their last fiscal year that ended by Oct. 15. If you follow the traditional (July-June) or Federal (Oct-Sept) fiscal years, submit the current year (2020-2021. However, if you follow the calendar year (Jan-Dec), you should submit last year’s data (2021). I know this seems weird.

Please note – Libraries who are off schedule (who submitted Jan-Dec of 2021 last year, for example), or who have any question about their reporting period, should reach out to me.

Screenshot of New Portal

What's new for 2022?

  • Language - We’ve changed our questions to match the IMLS (federal) definitions where relevant. Many questions include a ? button, which will show the full question definition as a pop-up. We recommend getting in the habit of opening that before answering each question.
  • N/A - If there are any questions that you don’t have the answer for, enter N/A rather than -1. This especially includes new questions, which you may not be able to retroactively find.
  • Staffing – We ask for the number of permanent paid staff budgeted at your library.
  • Facilities – We’ve added a number of questions about when your library was built and expanded, how well the building’s size and condition meets your needs, details about your meeting room, and whether the town owns the library building. We also ask the same questions about any branch or secondary building you might have.
  • Revenue – We ask for a total income from late fines, and updated our “in-kind donation” questions to be yes/no and broken into categories. We’ve removed the “transfer” question, which covered funds from an endowment or savings; interest should now be included in “other income”, while principal should not be listed.
  • Expenditures – We have added questions about programming expenses (separated into adult, young adult, and children), as well as broken down other expenses into building, technology, and other expenses. Additionally, grant project expenses are no longer listed separately, and should go in whatever is the right category.
  • Library Collection – We’ve added a teen/young adult when breaking down numbers by age category.
  • Services – Physical circulation has also added a teen/young adult category, while downloadable circulation has been broken down by age (adult, teen/young adult, children) and type (eBook, audiobook).
  • Final Questions – We have re-added the “what’s new & what successes have you had” question, as well as a spot to share feedback about the survey and process.

Important Tips

  • Browser Buttons - You should avoid using your browser's back and forward buttons with the survey site, and should only use the site's Prev / Next buttons and the left side navigation to move between the pages. The survey is made to save content when any of those are clicked, while forward and back can cause it to lose filled-in information or otherwise behave strangely.
  • Browsers - Google Chrome seems to work best (if available). Mozilla Firefox should work, but could have quirks. Please avoid Microsoft Edge, as there are reports of issues.
  • Multiple Users - You should avoid having more than one person (or even more than one tab) open in the report at once, as their work can easily overwrite one another.
  • Stats for Online Resources - We've added a page to help with finding statistics for Vermont Online Library, Learning Express, Overdrive, and more - Online Stats Help Page (still needs to be updated for the current year)
  • Write It Down - The report shouldn't be the only place a number is written down, in case any of the data in the report disappears or gets overwritten. If you have any numbers that would be hard to come up with again (i.e. from a report, or that you were told over the phone), I recommend writing them down at least until you've submitted.

Useful Information

Data from Previous Years

You can find the data submitted from previous years on our Public Library Statistics page.