Public Library Data Collection; content provided by Programs and Services Branch, Culture Services Unit staff, Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport
Ministry staff use annual Ontario Public Library Statistics data to support policy, program and partnership work. Library Statistics are published to the Ministry website http://www.mtc.gov.on.ca/en/libraries/statistics.shtml Data is published by size of libraries to enable ease of comparison by library CEOs, staff and board members.Public library statistics help support “evidence-based” policy work within government by providing evidence government relies on in developing policy options, programs and to reach out to other ministries. Our policy staff consider the library statistics to be invaluable. They provide value-added insight into the work of the public library sector. The Minister’s Office use the statistics including for House Notes, and the Culture Division uses them as part of Culture Sector statistics.In particular we turn to the Summary and Comparison report. When government needs a short descriptive statistical summary of the sector’s work, this report yields interesting numbers. For instance, in 2011, Ontario public libraries received 75 million in person visits, circulated 132 million items, answered 8.6 million in person and electronic reference transactions and provided 172.5 thousand programs with 3.3 million attendees. They did this through 1,129 library service points, and through more than 11,000 workstations. They assisted 4.9 million library card holders as well as non-cardholders. They spent $646.3 million including $66.6 million for collections and employed 10,884 staff or 6,675 FTEs. Library programming included 50,429 early literacy and early learning programs with over a million attendees. 220 public library systems reported 525 education sector partnerships including with schools, school boards, colleges, universities, early childhood organizations, distance learning and other education partners.We use the data such as this within the provincial government but also with the federal government such as for any infrastructure program planning or for the Ministry of Intergovernmental Affairs. FOPL and library organizations use the statistics in their advocacy work. Public libraries use the statistics to compare themselves to their peers and to help them advocate locally. That includes for estimate planning and budget approval times. Public libraries can use the statistics to support their case. For instance, if they have high use, program and service activity compared to peer public libraries of similar size they can show that to their public library boards and municipalities to help ensure continued strong local support.
How can you make effective use of your library statistics?This simple chart shows some of the areas where there are definite links to be made. Let’s start at the top.It is very important that public libraries get their statistics in to the Ministry on time and that the data entered is as accurate as possible. We don’t want them to rush – we do check the numbers but the fewer mistakes there are or requests we make for clarification, the faster we can publish. Also, about a quarter of all annual surveys are submitted after the October deadline! This slows down the publishing of the statistics and the paying of your library operating support from the Ministry. We want libraries to use of all the fields in the survey to tell their library’s story, and use the comments boxes to explain and highlight their achievements. The more information we get, the more of a case we can build for Public Libraries. Municipal Government – the story that can be told through your statistics can be used to show your library boards and local governments how much the library is doing for the community and how much its services are being used. Once we work together to crack the outcome measurements of library services, this will add another dimension to the numbers libraries present at budget time and hopefully strengthen their case to council. OLSs – OLS consultants can tell you how they use library statistics. Accurate statistic reporting can let the ministry and OLSs know how the sector is spending end of year funding, and where there is need for more funding or services. The OLSs provide support to libraries to complete surveys, and provide key input into the types of questions asked. Other Provincial Ministries – government entities love numbers and statistics. At the half-day session at the Super Conference there were a lot of other ministries who became aware of the work public libraries are doing. And we urge public libraries to keep those other ministries aware! With the new programs and partnerships sections, libraries can show other ministries that they are already players in their field. For example, the 2011 stats show that there were 220 public libraries that had 525 Education Sector partnerships - 158 of those with Early Childhood organizations, and 157 of those with Local School Boards and Boards of Education. It is important to make other ministries aware of those things and to make sure that library partners in turn make their own school boards and Ministries aware. Services to Patrons – Serving the individual communities and patrons is the sector’s main business. When the statistics are complete and accurate, they can better tell, over time, what is working and what is not, which collections, programs or services are underused and which need a boost. When we work together to develop ways of measuring the outcomes of library programs (not program evaluation) they’ll be more able to tell how effective their programs are in achieving their goals.
The Public Library Statistics database was refreshed for 2011. This provided an opportunity to add or update fields to better serve the ministry and sector. To do this we consulted with the public library sector including an Ontario Library Association Super Conference session, and with input from meetings held with LOMSET and LEDR. We also did our regular planning with the four OLS consultants who work with public libraries and First Nation public libraries throughout the year on the public library statistics. OMBI library input was also received and reviewed. We also received input from public libraries through emails and considered all input in the resulting refreshed Annual Survey.New fields added for the 2011 Annual Survey of Public Libraries and resulting Ontario Public Library Statistics include:Data by Program type and attendees. Previously we knew Ontario and library-level program and attendance totals. Now we have data that shows the broad array of programs libraries offer, how many programs they offer in areas like early literacy, summer reading, services for newcomers, careers and job training, technology, social media and computer literacy, adult learning and seniors programming. This gives the Ministry key information for our policy staff that had been lacking. It also should help public libraries better to inform their local municipal decision makers on the programming they are providing to their communities.We added a new section on public library partnerships and initiatives. This has yielded data on consortia purchasing, Friends of libraries and foundations, social media participation by type, upcoming shovel-ready capital projects, cultural partnerships, education sector partnerships, government sector partnerships and information on significant achievements via a write-in field. We broke down revenue fields so that we could more readily identify types of provincial operating support (e.g. operating, pay equity or First Nation salary supplement) and project grants by types. Before Project Grants had been a single roll-up field, now libraries can report on funding sources like CAP Youth, summer experience, CDF etc.We responded to input from medium sized libraries and added a field on readers advisory services.Recognizing the work of public libraries in providing accessible library material, meeting the spirit and intent of Ontario’s Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA), we added a question numbers of requests for accessible material. We added fields as requested by the library sector, on their special collections (both original and digital formats). We added a field on lending laptops and netbooks as this service showed signs of growing to more libraries.We added comments boxes so libraries can explain their data or add to it or inform us with their ideas.
New fields added for the 2011 Annual Survey of Public Libraries and resulting Statistics include:Data by Program type and attendees. Previously we knew Ontario and library-level program and attendance totals. Now we have data that shows the broad array of programs libraries offer, how many programs they offer in areas like early literacy, summer reading, services for newcomers, careers and job training, technology, social media and computer literacy, adult learning and seniors programming. This gives the Ministry key information for our policy staff that had been lacking. It also should help public libraries to better inform their local municipal decision makers on the programming they are providing to their communities.We added a new section on public library partnerships and initiatives. This has yielded data on consortia purchasing, social media participation, upcoming shovel-ready capital projects, cultural partnerships, education sector partnerships, government sector partnerships and information on significant achievements via a write-in field. We broke down revenue fields so that we could more readily identify types of provincial operating support (e.g. operating, pay equity or First Nation salary supplement) and project grants by types. Before Project Grants had been a single roll-up field, now libraries can report on funding sources like CAP Youth, CDF etc.We responded to input from medium sized libraries and added a field on readers advisory services. Recognizing the work of public libraries in providing accessible library material and to meet the spirit and intent of the AODA, we added a question numbers of requests for accessible material. We added fields as requested by the library sector, on their special collections (both original and digital formats). We added a field on lending laptops and netbooks as this service showed signs of growing to more libraries. We added comments boxes so libraries can explain their data or add to it or inform us with their ideas.
Number of Active Cardholders: Down from 5.1 million in 2010 to 4.9 million in 2011. This is not surprising as many Ontarians use library programs and services where they may not have to use a public library card. Examples: Internet use including wireless; programs; access to the library website; e-reference services. Some automated systems do not count library cardholders as “active” if all they do is download e-content.* Some representatives of the public library community have noted a need to come up with a way to count the “non-card-holder” using the library but few can agree on a method. Maybe a special grant to some targeted libraries could deliver statistics on non-card-holder use that could then be extrapolated for the sector or to other libraries. Number of Service Points: Up from 1,089 to 1,129. Service points include main libraries, branches, bookmobile stops and deposit stations. Not surprising this field shows an increase, as more libraries turn to mall kiosks, deposit stations in nursing homes, and the like to spread and increase access to their services. Number of Computer workstations, and number of computer workstations with Internet access – both up, not surprising, public libraries have been at the forefront of public Internet access since the mid-1990s. Despite costs for computers and connectivity going down, these statistics continue to rise through 2011.Number of people volunteering at public libraries – up, may reflect students doing community service, and aging Ontarians wishing to volunteer at the library. *From Stratford Public Library re active cardholders: (We estimate that for 2013 we will not be able to report about 1,200 active users of library services – which is a lot in a town of 32,000!)” The library has 10,000 card holders but estimates it is under-reporting another 1,200 because of the above scenario.
Direct circulation up from 124 million to 132 million – this increase may be e-book related.Reference transactions (in-person and electronic) down from 9.4 million to 8.6 million, and again reflecting a decline in in-person reference activity. Electronic reference transactions show a healthy trend up of close to 300,000.Library Visits Made in Person: Down from 77.7 million to 75 million. First decline since 2008 economic downturn and another reason why we need to track electronic use, remote access to the library’s website and social media use more.Number of Programs Held, and attendees. Up from 160K programs and 3.1 million attendees to 172K programs and 3.3 million attendees. A testament to the vigour, partnerships and breadth of public library services, their staff and their community partners and the attraction to these programs by the public.
Detailed program type and attendee data. These are new fields for 2011 so we cannot compare to 2010. Data is already being used in the Ministry to help with policy work and we believe it will be useful to public libraries and FOPL as well:
Partnership and Initiative data: These again are new fields for 2011 so we cannot compare to 2010. Some highlights:Consortia Purchasing: Libraries reported 854 total consortia purchasing partnerships including for e-books, integrated library systems, corporate discounts, and with their municipal governments.Social Media: Libraries reported 536 social media partnerships, with Facebook leading the way at 194 followed by Twitter at 93. Capital Projects: 69 shovel ready projects ready to go in the next two years with a total cost of $349 millionCultural Partnerships: 178 libraries reported 490 cultural partnerships, 86 with community museums, 76 with municipal cultural planning partnerships, 69 with heritage organizations, and 51 with art galleries.Education Partnerships: 220 libraries reported 525 education sector partnerships including 158 with early childhood organizations, 157 with school boards and schools, 40 with community colleges, 32 with universities 39 with distance education partners and 99 with other education sector partners.Government Partnerships: Libraries reported 235 of these including 183 with CAP, 123 with Service Ontario and 51 at the municipal level.
ASPL and the resulting statistics (inputs and outputs) Why do we need to measure outcomes, benefits and results? Why are they important?What do we already use: Anecdotes; visits to the library to see it in action; input and output dataThis works for some audiencesWhat is the competition doing?OutcomesConvincing “evidence-based” data includes outcomesOutcomes, results and benefits can buttress output data and anecdotes to “tell our stories”.
2012 data should be available June / July 2014 range.2013 Annual Survey of Public Libraries will be released in May 2013.New Fields:Outcomes / Results and Benefits of public library services (a write-in field, initially) – responds to Ministry needs, and needs identified by the North American public library sector.Number of Social Media Visits – important to capture this area of public library activity – responds to Ministry needs and needs expressed by the public library sector.Other Professional staff – addressing a sector need to report on expertise needed at public libraries as identified in job descriptions (e.g. accountants, human resources, information technology, and fund-raising professionals)Thinking ahead: If we learn more about how public libraries record and measure the outcomes, results, or benefits (or evaluate performance measures) of public library service we hope to be in a position to focus more of the survey on this and less on input and output measures.Open Data – published as csv format, similar to Excel and can be transferred to Excel. 1999 to 2010 are on the government Open Data site: https://www.ontario.ca/government/government-ontario-open-data; and specifically at this link: https://www.ontario.ca/arts-and-culture/ontario-public-library-statistics2011 will be added in about one month.New Data fields for 2014 and new Key Ratios – we obtain the sector’s ideas about new data fields or definitions that will further improve the Annual Survey of Public Libraries and resulting Ontario Public Library Statistics.Key Ratios – what about social media visits per capita, e-book circulation per capita. Others? Are there existing key ratios in the report that are no longer useful or whose formulas need revisions?
Public library data (i school uoft april 22 2014) ver5 for symposium
Ontario Library Data Collection
Ontario’s Public Library
• How does the Ministry use data?
• What can/should public libraries do
with the statistics?
Using Library Statistics and Key Ratios
Ontario Public Library Statistics – Background
• Ontario Public Library Statistics are a Ministry
publication and have been collected since the early
• Statistics are collected:
o Under the authority of the Public Libraries Act (PLA) and
its Regulation 976.
o By an Annual Survey of Public Libraries, online since
1999, which in turn is supported by a Typical Week Survey.
• Over 380 public libraries, First Nation public libraries
and organizations that contract for public library
services report on their statistics. Submission of
complete and accurate statistics are one requirement
for Ministry public library operating support.
• Adding and Removing Survey Fields
o Public Libraries, Library Organizations
(LOMSET, LEDR, OMBI), OLSs, library e-mails to the Ministry
New fields added
• Data by Program type and attendees – e.g. early literacy and early
learning, summer reading, services for newcomers, careers and job
training, technology, social media and computer literacy, teen
programming, seniors programming
• Public Library Partnerships and initiatives – e.g. consortia purchasing,
social media participation, cultural partnerships, education sector
partnerships, government sector partnerships, information on shovel-
• More information on revenue streams including breakdowns on
provincial operating, and project grant types.
• How often libraries address requests for Accessible material.
Trends 2010 to 2011
• Library cardholders down from 5.1 million to 4.9 million. But are they
• Service points – up from 1,089 to 1,129 – growth of deposit
• Internet access workstations up to 9,053; number of people
volunteering in libraries up to 16,695
• Total electronic periodical titles - up to nearly 7 million, an exciting
trend reflecting Ministry year-end support administered by SOLS
Trends 2010 to 2011 cont’d.
• Direct circulation up from 124 million to 132 million – reflects e-books
• Reference transactions – down from 9.4 million to 8.6 million, however
electronic reference transactions up by 300,000.
• Library visits made in person – down from 77 million to 75 million
• Program types and attendees – up from 160K programs and 3.1 million
attendees to 172K programs and 3.3 million attendees
• Early literacy and early learning – 50,429 programs with
• Other children’s programming – 22,758 programs with
• Class instruction at a library or school – 14,826 programs with
• Newcomer focus – 7,528 programs with 135,993 attendees
• Adult learning – 7,384 programs with 99,500 attendees
• Seniors programing – 3,853 programs with 47,897 attendees
• Culture Days – 2,121 programs with 80,511 attendees
Partnerships and Initiatives
• 854 Consortia purchasing partnerships
• 536 Social Media initiatives
• 69 Shovel Ready Capital projects ready in next two years with a total
cost of $349 million
• 178 public libraries reported 490 cultural partnerships, of which 86 with
community museums, 76 with municipal cultural planning
partnerships, 69 with heritage organizations and 51 with art galleries.
• 220 libraries reported 525 education sector partnerships
• 235 government sector partnerships
Government and Public Library Statistics
• The Annual Survey of
o Statistics – input and output;
summary and comparative data;
• Moving it to the next level
o Going beyond input and output
o Why measuring outcomes,
benefits and results is important
Public Library Statistics for
2012 and 2013
• 2012 release
• Plans for 2013
o New Fields
o Thinking ahead - Outcomes
• Open Data
• Key Ratios
o Using Key Ratios at the local level
o New Key Ratios?
• New Data fields for 2014 Survey – New