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FY2013 Add Change Delete Data Elements

Page history last edited by Edythe Huffman 7 years, 5 months ago Saved with comment

Please add your new, changed and/or deleted data elements for the FY2013 PLS below.   Please post your comments by Friday, October 26.

You must have an account to post data elements and/or comments.


Back to the FY2013 Data Element Proposals main page: http://plsc.pbworks.com/w/page/55734940/FY2013%20Data%20Element%20Proposals


Results of Susan Mark's Survey Monkey




Proposed New Data Elements:


1. Circulation of Electric Books (E-books) – The total annual circulation of all e-books.

E-books are digital documents (including those digitized by the library), licensed or not, where searchable text is prevalent, and which can be seen in analogy to a printed book (monograph).  Include non-serial government documents.  E-books are loaned to users on portable devices (e-book readers) or by transmitting the contents to the user’s personal computer for a limited time.  Include e-books held locally and remote e-books for which permanent or temporary access rights have been acquired.   E-books packaged together as a unit (e.g., multiple titles on a single ebook reader) and checked out as a unit are counted as one unit.


Rationale:   We would like to see this placed in the survey because of the great increase in e-book loans.  Adding this statistic would allow us to calculate e-book circulation as a percentage of total circulation (Item # 550).  This is a trend worth measuring on a national level.  (The definition borrows from e-book collection, item #451.)


Proposed by: Jay Bank (KY) 


The attached document compiles the responses I received concerning who is obtaining separate circulation counts for downloadables.--Downloadable Survey 2012.docx


Bruce Pomerantz (MN)


2. Number of Supplementary Service Sites

A supplementary service site is characterized by (1) direct authorization by a public library as defined in your state's statutes, (2) library staff supervision or oversight and (3) any combination of (a) provides reference services, (b) lends materials to specific individuals or (c) maintains scheduled hours.


Note: Bookmobiles were not included in this because they are a library outlet. 


Note: Book stations are not included in this category because (a) the agency receiving the collection has authorized the service and (b) the agency, not the persons using the materials, is officially the borrower. However, I'm open to revising the definition so that they can be included.


Rationale: Libraries are increasingly finding alternative methods to deliver services. In Minnesota, one library closed three small branches and substituted kiosks that have lockers that people open with codes to pick up and return materials. Two other libraries use extensively trained volunteers staffing space in various places (e.g.: city hall)  continually overseen by library supervisors. A third library has a virtual reference office that responds to emails, chats and twitter questions.  


I opine this trend should be tracked to demonstrate to policymakers that libraries are responding with innovative, less costly ways to provide services.  


Minnesota collected this data in 2011. 


Submitted by: Bruce Pomerantz (MN)


3.   Does the Library offer a Summer Reading Program?

Summer reading programs are special programs and materials offered to patrons by public libraries during the summer months to promote reading, discovery of literature and use of the library. They often involve the use of incentive materials and awards to encourage participation. If the Library offers any summer reading programming, report "Yes", otherwise report "No". 


4.  Number of Summer Reading Program Participants

This is the count of patrons participating in the Library's Summer Reading Program.


Based on a visual review I conducted in 2011 of state survey data available online at the time I estimate about 25 states collect data related to Summer Reading Programming on their state survey.


Rationale 1, around half of the states are already collecting this or related information, and given the basic nature of the questions themselves, will (hopefully) pose a limited collection burden.


Rationale 2, "Having stats will allow us (and ILMS) to develop marketing and advocacy with the ultimate goal of raising funds and visibility for public libraries to continue to expand our programs with outreach. Considering the numbers public libraries reach each year during the summer compared to the amount of funding we have, we offer an incredible bargain." Martha Shinners, Youth Services Consultant, Washington State Library



#s 3 & 4 Submitted by: Evelyn Lindberg (WA)



Proposed Changed Data Elements:


1. 203 FSCS Public Library Definition (Current definition: http://plsc.pbworks.com/w/page/7422527/203%20FSCS%20Public%20Library%20Definition)

A public library is an entity that is established under stateenabling laws or regulations to serve a community, district, or region, and that provides all the requirements (203a-203e) below.


Answer <Y>es or <N>o to the following requirements:

203a. An organized collection of printed or other library materials, or a combination thereof;

q <Y>es or <N>o

203b. Paid staff;

q <Y>es or <N>o

203c. An established schedule in which services of the staff are available to the public;

q <Y>es or <N>o

203d. The facilities necessary to support such a collection, staff, and schedule; and

q <Y>es or <N>o

203e. Is supported in whole or in part with public funds.

q <Y>es or <N>o


Note: If you answer “<Y>es” to all of the above requirements the library is considered a FSCS Public Library.  If you answer “<N>o” to at least one of the above requirements the library is considered a Non-FSCS Public Library.  A Non-FSCS Public Library will not be included in the PLS report: analysis, state reports, and tables.  However, the library will be included in the data.  This file is useful by federal, state, and local policymakers; library and public policy researchers; and the public, journalists, and others.


Rationale: This question asks for the same information as the prior data element, but in the revised form will ask about each of the specific criteria for being classified as an FSCS library.  This will allow for analysis to examine why non-FSCS libraries do not meet the classification criteria.  For example, is it because of the funding criterion alone, or is it because they do not meet multiple criteria.  This will also provide for better edit checks.  For example, if the response to 203b, Paid Staff, is “No,” then that will translate to several data elements – 250 to 253: Paid staff and 350 to 352: Staffing Expenditures – to be correctly indicated as either zero or missing.


Submitted by IMLS



2.  451 Electronic Books (E-books)


Current Definition:

E-books are digital documents (including those digitized by the library), licensed or not, where searchable text is prevalent, and which can be seen in analogy to a printed book (monograph). Include non-serial government documents. E-books are loaned to users on portable devices (e-book readers) or by transmitting the contents to the user's personal computer for a limited time. Include e-books held locally and remote e-books for which permanent or temporary access rights have been acquired. Report the number of physical or electronic units, including duplicates, for all outlets. For smaller libraries, if volume data are not available, the number of titles may be counted. E-books packaged together as a unit (e.g., multiple titles on a single e-book reader) and checked out as a unit are counted as one unit.


Report the number of units. Report only items the library has selected as part of the collection (exclude public domain/uncopyrighted e-books that have unlimited access).


Proposed Changes:

Paragraph 1, sentences 5, 6 & 7 -

Report the number of physical or electronic units titles, including duplicates, for all outlets. For smaller libraries, if volume data are not available, the number of titles may be counted. E-books packaged together as a unit (e.g., multiple titles on a single e-book reader) and checked out as a unit are counted as one unit.


Paragraph 2, sentence 1 -

Report the number of units titles.


Rationale: For data elements 450-455, we are collecting data on a combination of physical and electronic items. We should be consistent in counting the physical items as units and the electronic items as titles. All follow this pattern but 451. Also, I'm willing to negotiate removing sentence 7 from the first paragraph if discussion can show a need to keep it.


Submitted by: Katina Jones (MO)



3.  Library Collections (Items 450 - 455)


In the discussion of proposed change #2 above, it becomes clear that there is inconsistent language about what is being counted.


Proposed Change:


Have the IMLS and Census staff, with the advice of the LSWG edit the language among these 6 items so that it is clear that we are not counting titles, but iterations of titles which libraries have purchased.


Submitted by: Michael Golrick (LA)




Proposed Deleted Data Elements:


Proposal to Delete Data Elements Pertaining to Capital Revenue / Capital Expenditures

1. 400 Local Government Capital Revenue

2. 401 State Government Capital Revenue

3. 402 Federal Government Capital Revenue

4. 403 Other Capital Revenue

5. 404 Total Capital Revenue

6. 405 Total Capital Expenditures



Funds which are defined as capital are not generally included as part of a library’s budget and are, in the majority of cases, designated for a specific purpose. Therefore, I feel that these elements should be considered for deletion.  Also, documentation regarding significant capital projects already exists elsewhere (Library Journal).

   When reviewing annual reports (in state), I have noted numerous issues regarding capital:

a)      many libraries consistently do not report capital (or erroneously include it in their operating budget).

b)      when capital revenue is reported it is often done incorrectly (the same funds are often carried over from year to year due to the fact that the money is unspent).

c)       libraries often have an undue burden to defend these figures once they are published / disseminated due to the inconsistency in which the funds were accumulated  and spent.



The topic of capital usually comes up for debate, in some form, each year during the conference and historically, the decision is to let it remain even though it has been documented that “the data are so volatile and difficult to edit as correct even with annotations”.


States who are able to award capital revenue to their libraries are aware of the dollar amounts which they award and have proper reporting mechanisms already in place in regard to these funds.  And, as there are very few federal grant programs for capital projects currently available, I feel that the need to continue to collect this data nationally (via the PLS) has become unnecessary.  Obviously, states that desire to continue the collection of capital revenue and capital expenditures may continue the practice of data collection. The proposal only eliminates the data collection as part of the PLS.


Proposed by: Michele Balliet Unrath (ND)





Comments (13)

BrucePomerantz said

at 3:32 am on Aug 15, 2012

#1 The exponential usage of downloadable materials is too important to take three years to provide policy makers with such data. I recommend, should we decide to tally downloadable circulation in December, that this data element be placed on a fast track so that we start collecting data in 2013 for a good estimate and 2014 data be acceptable for public discussion.--Bruce Pomerantz (MN)

BrucePomerantz said

at 10:21 pm on Sep 27, 2012

451 E-books--I'm still unclear on the terminaology. By titles, do you mean that if a library has three copies of the eBook Tom Sawyer that we count that as three? I think that is the intent. But if that is so, why not define each eBook copy a unit? Why have different terms for the same concept?

BrucePomerantz said

at 10:26 pm on Sep 27, 2012

203 Public Library Definition. Should we have a minimum amount of public funds support, say, and this is settinga low bar, 33% of all revenue? In Minnesota, we have a 50% minimum. To avoid a large public increase in case a library gets a large bequest or grant, we could make it an average of 33% of the last three years.

Michael Golrick said

at 12:23 am on Oct 4, 2012

451 - E-Books: For the language, the proposal suggests replacing "units" with titles. And while I understand that, I think that we may better be served with counting <b>COPIES</b> rather than titles. With the limits imposed (like one simultaneous user), larger libraries will have their collection sizes understated -- especially when compared with expenditures -- if we only count titles. If the language is changed to copies I will wholeheartedly support the change.

Katina Jones said

at 5:45 am on Oct 4, 2012

Bruce and Michael - my rationale was simply to suggest we make the definitions for 450 through 455 consistent. Right now, eBooks is units and downloadable Audio and Video are titles; physical books are units and physical audio and video are units. If you have interest in creating a discussion about terminology (units, titles, copies, items, thingamabobs...), please add it to the proposed change list as a separate item to be considered for 450 through 455. We don't want to repeat what I'm suggesting we fix here - changes that were made to some variables, but not all related ones. Thanks! KJ

Michael Golrick said

at 4:37 am on Oct 5, 2012


BrucePomerantz said

at 4:34 am on Oct 5, 2012

Summer Reading Program Participants

I opine the definition needs to define "Participant" because of the differemt types of summer reading programs and levels of participation: Examples: (A) Children who register to read but never check in (B)) the same child participates in two different organized events: A clown visit and a scavenger hunt. Is that one or two participants?

Michael Golrick said

at 11:20 pm on Oct 23, 2012

A comment on the proposed deletion of capital items. I am not sure that the LJ survey includes all capital items. It certainly includes new buildings and major renovations. I don't believe that they report capital projects like major automation system upgrades, etc. which would be a pain to track down from all the various sources.

I am also totally <b>NOT</b> convinced that eliminating this category will have the effect of having libraries report the revenue in the correct category. For many libraries capital expenses will not match any revenue because it is paid from fund balances. (That is true in Louisiana, and was true for several libraries where I worked in other states.)

I think we need to deal with the edit check problems separately from the data collection issues.

Katina Jones said

at 9:54 pm on Oct 24, 2012

I agree with Michael on not being convinced that removing the Capital variables will ensure that libraries report Operating correctly. We need to train them how to answer it/divide funds correctly for this survey OR how they should address the edit checks. Full disclosure - I am speaking from a state that has very few capital projects in the works and only 150 AEs...

Juan Tomás Lee said

at 2:40 am on Oct 24, 2012

I recommend we (SDCs) do not work in a vaccuum on this. Let's ask the experts what kind of information is really needed and what kind of information would actually be helpful. I recommend we contact the Collaborative Summer Reading Program (CSLP), which many of our states have joined. See: http://www.cslpreads.org/ Contacts: Allison Santos, CSLP President ASantos@princetonlibrary.org | Karen Day, CSLP Administrator karen.day@cslpreads.org I recommend we follow their definitions for participants. Also meaningful, is the number of participants who actually "completed" the program and agreeing WHAT constitutes completion is a BIG deal, but SDCs are used to those kinds of debates :-)

Katina Jones said

at 9:57 pm on Oct 24, 2012

Considering we can't even agree in my state on what "completed" means - I don't think we will have much luck coming up with a national definition as SDCs! :)

Edythe Huffman said

at 8:33 pm on Oct 24, 2012

Electronic book circulation - Should we separate that into total and children's, as we do circulation of materials?

Edythe Huffman said

at 8:36 pm on Oct 24, 2012

Other new data elements have been deemed important, too, but the 3 year process is really aimed at giving SDCs and public libraries time to get accurate data. I would not recommend a fast track for anything, data-wise.

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