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Annual Survey, Frequently Asked Questions

We will add questions for the FY2016 Public Library Annual Survey and answers as they are received.

Questions will be answered directly via email in response to the individual who asks;
common questions or areas that need clarification will be added to this list.

FY2016 Questions (TBA)

FY2015 Questions (Last updated Septemer 10, 2015)

  1. Can you change . . . [preloaded data]?
  2. Electronic resources. How do I count Zinio / TumbleBooks / Hoopla / etc.?
  3. Interlibrary Loans. The numbers I have for ILL "provided from OSL libraries" (Q97) and "received from OSL libraries" (Q101) include ILLS to/from my branch libraries. Can I use this number for ILL?
  4. Registered Borrowers. How do I count the number of registered borrowers? (Q29)
  5. Circulation of children's materials. Does this include YA? (Q88)
  6. Wireless Sessions. How do I count wireless sessions? (Q128)
  7. Hours calculator. What does "Annual Hours Closed" mean?
  8. Library Fines. I don't get to keep the fines my library collects, they go directly to the city. Should I count them in Revenue?
  9. Donations. How do I account for donations made by friends groups or others, such as program support?
  10. Electronic Materials Expenditures. How do I enter the extra money we give to OSL for eZone?
  11. Selective categories of operating expenditures - general. Should these add up to "other operating expenditures"?
  12. Selective categories of operating expenditures - subscriptions. What do I include in subscriptions? (Q156)
  13. Selective categories of operating expenditures - physical plant. What do I include in physical plant? (Q159)
  14. Capital Expenditures. I spent $10,000 from a bequest on building repairs; the amount is included in my operating budget so that when I reported this in Capital Expenditures the annual report adds that amount to my total revenue and it looks like we have more than we really do. How do I report this?
  15. Tax-based appropriation for library operations. Can I include expenditures in the city/town appropriation (Q210) that are not in the library's budget, such as town services for grass-cutting, snow removal, building insurance, etc.?
  16. Printing forms. Why does my GIA application/ GIA Certification have a "DRAFT" watermark on it when I print it?
  17. Waiver for ADA issues. Standard #1 has a lot of levels to it. My library meets just about everything, but there are portions of the ADA we do not meet. Do I need to apply for a waiver?
  18. Waiver Requests for Combined Libraries. The other library in my town is submitting waiver requests. Do I need to sign them?
  19. Listing Trustee chair/president. I have a new board chair as of July. Should I list the old chair or the new chair on the annual report. Who should sign the annual report?
  20. Long Range Plan. Where do I send my long range plan?


  1. OLIS can change preloaded (greyed out) data. If OLIS has made a mistake in preloading the data, we apologize. If you have changed how you expended your grant-in-aid and OLIS has not yet received a request from you to change how you allocated your grant funds, you will need to send a letter to OLIS requesting the change, with a brief explanation of why the change was necessary. If you believe there was an error in how you reported your appropriation for FY2015 in your 2014 GIA application, please email Karen Mellor. Any requests for changes of data that was reported on your GIA applications the previous year must be documented in a letter to OLIS. However, you can begin the process with an email (preferable) or phone call if it's complicated. And we do understand, stuff does happen!
  2. In general, electronic resources that are paid for by the library and provided to patrons should be counted as local electronic collections (Q82a). Circulation of such items should not be counted. The question to ask when you consider whether an electronic resource should be counted in circulation or as a title, is whether the patron gets to keep the item indefinitely. If they do, just as you can keep an database article, then the collection should be counted as an electronic collection (Q82a). If titles have to be returned, but you have purchased access to a collection of titles (as opposed to selected titles), that should also be counted as an electronic collection and not included in circulation numbers. If you have a question about a specific collection and how to count it, please contact Karen Mellor. Please include the name of the resource, whether you select the titles and whether the patron gets to keep the download indefinitley.
  3. No, please do not include loans to your library branches in your ILL numbers. ILL by definition is library materials, or copies of the materials, provided by one autonomous library to another upon request. The libraries involved in interlibrary loans are not under the same library administration. "Library administration" means Administrative Entity (not anything broader). Do not include items loaned between outlets within the same library administrative entity.
    ILL numbers can be determined through Web Management Reports using Sierra. OSL is offering a special drop-in help session on working with Sierra Create Lists on Wednesday, Sept 2 only from 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm.
  4. To determine the number of wireless sessions, count the individual sessions of use of a library’s wireless service as captured by a library’s router software.  There is no need to count length of sessions or type of sessions. If this information is not available, check "N/A." Libraries should be investigating ways to capture this statistic for the FY2016 report, as wireless sessions are a useful indicator of community use of library services. Ocean State Libraries is investigating technology solutions for gathering this data at your library. You will likely need to install a new/updated router with software that can collect this data if your current router does not have this capability.
  5. A registered borrower is a library user who has applied for and received an identification number or card from the public library that has established conditions under which the user may borrow library materials or gain access to other library resources. The number of registered borrowers may be counted by determining the number of patrons in the OSL database that hold bar codes beginning with the prefix/prefixes for your library. Do not count registered borrowers by counting patrons with the zip code(s) of your community.
  6. The "annual hours closed" in the hours calculator are the hours that the library is closed when it would normally be scheduled to be open, e.g., regularly scheduled holidays, snow days, days closed for renovations/construction (short term), full day the library is closed for a staff meeting, disasters/loss of power, etc. It is important to capture the anomalies in closure so that the hours calculator accurately subtracts the hours the library is closed from the calculation determined by multiplying the number of weeks the library is open times the hours. If the library is closed for several weeks for construction, those weeks should be subtracted from the "weeks open" and not listed in the "annual hours closed."
  7. Circulation of children's materials (Q88) should not include YA materials. List YA circ in "other categories" (Q90).
  8. Fines that are passed through directly to the city or town (not "kept" by the library) should not be counted as Operating Revenue, as they are not used for operating expenses.
  9. Monetary donations or financial support from Friends groups and others should be included under "Other Operating Revenue" (Q132). Do not include the value of any contributed or in-kind services or the value of any non-monetary gifts and donations. (e.g., donations of books or services). Expenditures for books, programs, etc, should only be noted when those expenditures have been made from the library's budget.
  10. Count any money you give to OSL for E zone over what is itemized in your annual OSL fee in Q#147, electronic materials expenditures.  List only expenditures on electronic materials that are not part of OSL fees.
  11. Selective categories of operating expenditures - general: These are selective expenditures and may not include all expenditures included in Q151, Other Operating Expenditures. However, the total of Q156-159 should not be greater than the amount listed in Q151.
  12. Selective categories of operating expenditures - subscriptions (Q156). Include the cost of electronic and print subscriptions that the library pays directly. Do not include OSL fees.
  13. Selective categories of operating expenditures - physical plant (Q159). Include operating physical plant expenditures, such as utilities and ongoing maintenance. Do not include capital expenditures.
  14. Report only major capital expenditures (one time projects) in Capital Expenditures (Q154). Repairs and maintenance should be included as operating expenditures, under Other Operating Expenditures (Q151). Please review the Definition for Capital Expenditures (Click Q154) for further explanation on this data element.
  15. Expenditures by the municipality for library operations that are not included in the library's budget, such as town services for grass-cutting, snow removal, building insurance, etc., may be included in the answer for Q210 as long as these expenditures can be specifically documented as library expenditures. Use the Worksheet for Library Operations Budget to calculate this number.
  16. Print forms will display a watermark of "DRAFT" on them until you lock the individual form. Lock the form by going to the Print Preview page, then clicking the "Submit/Lock" button on the top right corner of the form, below the menu bar. Do not lock the form until you have entered the final numbers. Locked forms will display a "Locked" message in the top right corner instead of the Submit/Lock button. If you need to have the form unlocked, please contact Karen Andrews.
  17. Libraries that have previously applied for a waiver on ADA issues under Standard 1 of the 2013 Edition of the Minimum Standards for RI Public Libraries should continue to apply for a waiver. Before applying for a waiver of ADA requirements, though, the library should consider whether the issue existed prior to 1990 and if addressing the issue is not readily achievable (easily accomplished without much difficulty or expense). If the library has been renovated since 1990, the library should be in compliance with the ADA. If the issue is can be resolved without much difficulty or expense, than the library should file a waiver and include their plan and a timeline for addressing the issue.
  18. Every year each autonomous library must certify compliance with Minimum Standards for Public Libraries in conjunction with their application for public library grant-in-aid. All libraries must meet all standards, with the exception of Standard 17, which applies only to municipalities that have designated more than one library to provide library services, known as "combined libraries." Combined libraries must certify individual compliance with all standards, and that their combined services comply with the population categories in Standards 4, 11 and 12. In addition, Combined Libraries must meet Standard 17. As each library must meet the standards, the only waiver request that needs to be co-signed by multiple libraries is Standard 17. All other waiver requests require the signature of the non-compliant library only; each library must submit a separate waiver request for a standard not met.
  19. List the current trustee chair/president on the annual report; OLIS updates our directory with data you submit on the annual report. The current chair should sign the annual report, as it is submitted during their tenure.
  20. Email Long Range Plans to Karen Andrews. The subject line of the email message should include the library’s 3 letter code followed by “Long Range Plan” followed by the active years of the plan, e.g., DSL Long Range Plan, 2015-2020. In the body of the email, please include the name of the contact person for the library’s long range plan. The month and year when the plan begins and ends must be clearly noted on the cover page of the plan. Do not send a hard copy.