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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

  • Dates for 2023: Monday, Oct. 16 - Friday, Dec. 30, 2023
  • Extension: By request, to Friday Jan. 19, 2024
  • Web Address:
  • Username and passwords are unchanged, and were sent to the point of contact for each library.

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 (2022-2023. However, if you follow the calendar year (Jan-Dec), you should submit last year’s data (2022). I know this seems weird.

Please note – Libraries who are off schedule (who submitted Jan-Dec of 2022 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 2023?

  • Directory Info – This report, we just ask how many weeks and total hours the library was open. There aren’t any questions about “open by appointment” or “weeks with limited access.”
  • Facilities – The facilities questions will auto-populate with last year’s answers, and only need to be updated for changes/corrections.
  • Revenue – The in-kind yes/no questions will auto-populate with last year’s answers, and only need to be updated for changes/corrections.
  • Services – Removed the curbside circulation question.
  • COVID – Removed the COVID yes/no questions.
  • General – Last year, we moved away from having libraries enter -1 for questions that aren't known. Libraries should continue to enter 0 for things they didn't do ("We have 0 video items"), and N/A for numbers that aren't available ("We don't know how many reference questions were asked"). We’ve tried to increase the number of fields that will accept N/A; if you can't enter N/A for a field that needs it, let Josh know. Also minor language and organization changes throughout.
  • Estimates - Our intention over the next two years is to move away from estimates that aren’t based on sample data. Going forward, estimates should come from one or more sample weeks, multiplied to create an estimate for the entire year. Ideally, you should choose periods that aren't expected to be notably quiet or busy. For example, a library could choose two weeks in May and two more in October, to capture everything that you don't always track (for example reference questions, computer use, or even door count). Beyond that, libraries shouldn’t feel any hesitation to enter N/A (not available) whenever there is a number they don’t have, especially moving forward. Ultimately, we would rather have no data than unsupported data.

Important Tips

  • Help Icon - We strongly recommend getting in the habit of clicking the help (?) icon when answering each question that has one. This will give you the entire language of the question, and not just the title, and should help significantly with answering questions.
  • 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.