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Child's Play: Youth Services on the Public Library Annual Report (Part 2 of 2)

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Part 2 of 2

This two-part blog post focuses on a few frequently asked questions, or "Aha!" moments that have stemmed from conversations in the field regarding youth services and the Wisconsin Public Library Annual Report. Read Part 1

Enlightenment Concept #3: Literacy Offerings as Umbrella Events

Rainbow beach umbrella
A Literacy Offering can be thought of as an
umbrella event (Pixabay)

Libraries create many experiences for patrons such as programs, displays, book lists, and drop-in activities. Not everything that libraries offer is counted on the Annual Report, but that does not mean libraries should not offer them. In fact, most library directors would balk if they had to count every single effort.

Literacy offerings are a specific kind of short-term event that many libraries offer to encourage reading and/or the development of literacy skills. The most common kind is a summer reading program, often targeting a specific audience such as children (ages 0-11). A literacy offering can be thought of as an umbrella--an overarching, highly visible structure under which other library events and activities are scheduled. Looking at this photo, imagine that the rainbow umbrella represents a "Color Your Summer with Books" literacy offering for children. The umbrella stands out from other things on the beach, much like a literacy offering stands out from a library's regular programs and services. Underneath the rainbow umbrella, the red cooler represents all of the programs that were offered during Color Your Summer with Books. The yellow flippers represent all of the drop-in activities that were offered. There are some other things, like displays, contests, and readers advisory that took place, but those items are not counted on the Annual Report.

In this example, in order to be involved in Color Your Summer with Books, a child must register, or sign up, any time during the eight week event. On the annual report, the library would report that it hosted one Summer Literacy Offering for Children, and the number of individuals involved would be the count of the unique persons signed up for Color Your Summer with Books.

As for all of the programs offered as part of Color Your Summer with Books, those get counted under Programs and Program Attendance. Programs always get counted under Programs.

As for all of the drop-in activities offered, those get counted under Drop-in Activities and Participation. Drop-ins always get counted under Drop-ins.

But wait! What if you count involvement differently at your library? For example, what if involvement for an individual in your summer literacy offering means completing a reading record? In this case, your library would be using participation in a drop-in activity (a reading record) as a measurement for two report elements--drop-in activities and literacy offerings. In this specific example, a library might have 25 reading record participants in a drop-in activity AND a 25 person count for individuals involved in the literacy offering. While it seems counterintuitive to count something twice, in this case it works because this is how your library determines what literacy offering involvement means. Refer to Enlightenment Concept #1: Ways to Count in Part 1 of this post and remember that the Annual Report does not dictate how you count, only that you count consistently.

Enlightenment Concept #4: Email Communication

Person emailing with worried expression
Direct burning annual report
questions to

Answers to your Annual Report questions are only an email away! Any questions regarding LibPAS, the Public Library Annual Report, or instructions should be directed to This account is monitored by several team members so that the Public Library Development Team can respond quickly and effectively.

Person receiving email with happy expression
Make sure you are included
on the YS-List for youth services
updates (Pixabay)

Have you ever received an email from me, usually addressed to "Wisconsin Library Staff Serving Youth"? Our team maintains a one-way email listserv for Wisconsin Youth Services (YS). In order to be included on this email list, your name and email address must be listed on the Annual Report, Section XIII, item 3. Staff Serving Youth. This email listserv is updated annually, and contact information is also utilized as an in-house directory of youth services staff around the state. Without this information, we don't have a way to readily identify youth services staff, especially for queries such as "Who is the new youth services person in Cranberryville?" or "Can you put me in touch with the youth services person from Cheddar Town who did that great webinar last month?".

In a nutshell, please be in touch with us, and help us to be in touch with you.

Want to learn more or test your knowledge? Here are three resources that are intended to support your data collection throughout the year, as well as during reporting season.

Wishing you a calm and consistent reporting season!

Written by Tessa Michaelson Schmidt, Public Library Development Team

Posted by Tessa Schmidt



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