Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What should be incuded in the count for number of patron seats Section G - Facilities?

A. Seats provided for users for reading or studying whether with or without equipment. Includes seats in carrels, in seminar and study rooms and the audiovisual and children's departments of the library. Includes seats in computer labs only if the labs are managed or operated by the library. Excludes seats in halls, and theaters intended for audiences of special events. Also excludes informal seating such as, floor space on which users may sit.

Q: Are central libraries to be included in the count of branches?

A: No, central libraries should not be included in the count for total branches.

Q: What is the definition of electronic retrievals?

A: Capture of electronic service activity for streaming/database services that the library offers.  Do not include circulation for e-books, downloadable audio books, music and video that are reported in Q.30.

Examples include counts from: Hoopla, Tumblebooks, ProQuest, Ebscohost, Mango Languages, Zinio, Gale, etc.

 The number of full-content units or descriptive records examined, downloaded, or otherwise supplied to user, from online library resources that require user authentication but do not have a circulation period. Examining documents is defined as having the full text of a digital document or electronic resource downloaded or fully displayed. This is normally NOT number of searches or hits. Some electronic services do not require downloading as simply viewing documents is normally sufficient for user needs.

 Q: Please explain total number of initial circulations?

A: Total days of circulation, excluding renewals.

Q: Please explain Average days of circulation?

A: Number of days, on average, items are circulating, ie., initial circulation days, as per policy, plus the number of renewal days divided by the total number of transactions.  While some ILS systems are able to provide this number others may not, please add a note to the question with a brief explanation why you are unable to retrieve this information.

Q: Total Number of Circulations: Is there an expectation that libraries can separate initial circulation from renewals by type of material for the count of Total Number of Initial Circulations?

A: Yes, we expect that Initial circulations should be more easily reported than average days of circulation. Initial circulations is a metric used by Academic libraries and we expect that such a report should be readily produced by most ILS systems.

Q: Average Days of Circulation: Is there an expectation that libraries keep records of when an item is checked out and the number of days from this date up to the date the item is returned to calculate Average Days of Circulation?

A: Yes, in theory, every ILS logs the date/time of the release of items and their return. The only challenge may be to run a report that sums the difference of each of these (return datetime - release datetime) divided by the total number of transactions.

Q: Future planning and expectations: Only some information has been given about this new section in the PLDS, is this section of questions only to be included this year or will decisions be made about including it in the future based on how many libraries have these data available to them?

A: It is expected that these questions will be asked again -- however -- no final decisions have been made and likely won't be until the results have been analyzed.

Q: What do the green checkmarks beside the questions mean?

A: The green checkmarks indicate that an edit check exists on the question and you may be prompted for a note if your response is outside of the edit check value.

Q: The Staff Hours Section has changed and I need some clarification. The survey says "include actual hours worked (including paid leave and vacation), paid by the library budget. "Does this mean to include paid time off as if it were time worked? If so, shouldn't we just make an estimate using our known FTE levels multipled by our annual standard number of hours? 

A: We are really after the number of hours actually worked or paid for.  One of the main objectives is to distinguish between a person who joins say starts in the last month of the year, their hours would not total 2080 for the year, but rather something closer to 1/12 of that or better yet, if they only started and worked 15 days in that year, then it would 15 times the standard daily hours for an FTE (typically somewhere between 7-8 hrs per day).  And if this person replaced someone who left earlier in the year, say 2 months previously) then another approach is to simply subtract out the hours that any position was vacant.

Q: Population of the Legal Service Area - my library is a small, mostly seasonal town with about 1,500 in the winter and 3,500 in the summer. Which number should be used?

A: Report the number of people in the geographical area for which the public library has been established to offer services and from which (or on behalf of which) the library derives income, plus any areas served under contract for which this library is the primary service provider, therefore enter 1,500 as the population served.

Q: I am the only librarian and work and work 8 hours/day (volunteer), do I report my hours worked?

A: This section accounts for paid positions, if there are no  paid positions then enter 0 for the responses.  You can attach a note indicating that the 8 hours worked is a volunteered position.

Q: Library expenditures - Does this include office supplies, heat, phone, etc.?

A: Yes

Q: What should be included in Other Circulation?

A: All other physical and electronic items not already accounted for in Q.25 or Q.26.  Note: if electronic downloads are included in total circulation, select "Yes" for question 30.

Q: Total annual in-library materials - What does this cover?

A: This is the annual count of materials being used in the library (ex. a book being read).  Most libraries do a weekly survey and extrapolate an annual number.

Q. Total number of library visits - Does this mean how many people visited the library during the fiscal year?

A: Yes

Q: Define locally produced digitized collection.

A: We define it as anything that is digitized by your library staff or materials from your system that you have contracted to be digitized.  It could be content in your DM if it was a library material that was scanned/digitized.

Q. Should electronic serial subscriptions be included in the number of Holdings?

A: Yes, count all items that are in your catalogue.

Q: Define does your website meet ADA accessibility standards.

A: The specific mechanisms to guarantee ADA compliance have changed over time (and will again moving forward) and since "full" compliance can differ somewhat across jurisdictions and organization types (federal, state and local gov't, NGO, public, private...), this question is intended to determine if the site has been (or currently is) ADA compliant relative to your local circumstance -- and not against any specific international set of standards or guidelines.  If you wish to elaborate on your level of accessibility, compliance or choice of testing criteria, you may use the Notes field to do so.