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Public Library Statistical Report

Help for completing the annual Oregon Public Library Statistical Report.

Part 2 - Library Staff - FAQs

What is a FTE? Why do I count staff that way?

A full-time equivalent or FTE is a way to express the time of a full-time worker. In other words, 1 FTE = 40 hours per week, 52 weeks a year. This is 2080 hours a year.

It is important to count staff that way so that libraries can compare the amount of labor they have available. One library might have a staff of two, and another have a staff of four people. If the staff of two both work full-time, and the staff of four are all 1/2 time, the two libraries really have the same amount of labor available. If one just looked at bodies, people would question why the library with the staff of four didn't produce twice as much work as the staff of two.


How do I count seasonal employees?

Careful thought is needed for this one. The instructions say to count the number of fte as of June 30. Having a set time to take a snapshot of staffing helps control for most variance, such as having a new position created, or having a position deleted.

Let's say, however, that as a normal part of the operating budget, the library hires a summer reading coordinator to work half-time (20 hrs/wk) from May 1 to Aug. 30 each year. According to the instructions, this person would show as 0.5 FTE in the staffing section, which makes this author squirm a bit. I would annualize the hours of this person to better reflect that the library doesn't have 20 hours from Sept. to April. This would assume all the other FTE are accurate annually.

So, 20 hrs/wk x 17 weeks = 340 hours worked in a season

340/2080 (a FTE)=.16 of a FTE (annualized.)


Do I count MLS's as librarians?

It depends on the position being held. The real focus here isn't staff with a MLS, its positions requiring an MLS - e.g. professional staffing level vs. support staffing level. If someone with an MLS is working as a circulation clerk, they would not be counted with the "Librarians with MLS" category.


What about vacant positions?

I know when we think of staff, our minds jump to warm, breathing bodies. In this case, however, we want to shift our thinking to staff as an input, or commodity. In other words, given a certain amount of staffing, what can the library do? Count vacant positions in the FTE count as they will be filled, and the library would normally have that labor available. Of course, there might be an exception. If a position is on the books, but is unfunded, and not likely to be funded in the next 2-3 years, one might not want to count it.


Do I count volunteers as staff?

No. The staff count section is for paid staff only.


Example of calculating FTE:

In counting FTE remember that you are counting the labor normally available to the library - positions both temporarily empty and those filled. So start with the positions the library had on June 30.

Say person A normally works 5 hours a week.

Person B normally works 2 hours a week.

Person C normally works 12 hours a week.

Method 1:

You could calculate the FTEs separately and add them together.

Divide the hours a person normally works a week by 40.

Person A works 5/40 of a full time week - or 0.125 FTE
Person B works 2/40 of a full time week - or 0.05 FTE

Person C works 12/40 of a full time week - or 0.30 FTE

Total is 0.475 FTE which rounds to 0.48 FTE

Method 2:

Add up everyone's normal hours in a week. Divide the total by 40.

A + B + C=19/40 or 0.475 rounding to 0.48 FTE