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Public Library Statistical Report

Help for completing the annual Oregon Public Library Statistical Report.

Part 4 - Library Expenditures - FAQs

Part 4 - Frequently Asked Questions

When reporting salary expenditures, do I include Ready to Read or grant-funded positions?

It depends on the nature of the employment. Yes, if these funds add hours to an existing part-timer, or fund some portion of a regular position. No, if one is talking about summer reading program entertainers or contractual work. Those items would be listed under Other operating expenses. One should also remember that such positions might factor into the personnel count.


For salary expenses in the fiscal year, do I use the budgeted amount, or actual expenditures?

Use actual expenditures. That way you will have a record of what really happened. Labor is a vital determinate to the level of services a library can offer. A budget is only a potential. Actual expenditures would reflect freezes and vacancies, which would be echoed by the level of such measures as open hours, reference, programming, etc.


The city pays for some library expenses, but we never see the money. Should we report it?

Yes. Basically, significant expenses made on the library';s behalf by a governmental entity should be reported. If the city didn't pay for the building directly, the library would have to pay. Aside from advocacy and shameless money-grubbing, the annual statistical report answers the question, What does it take to run this library for a year? To not report a significant expense made on the library's behalf is to skew the cost per service to unrealistic numbers. Have mercy for everyone else who might try to match that cost per service!


Where do I report expenditures for downloadable audio or video items?

Record them under Collections, Electronic Materials, not audio-visual materials expenses.


Do I count the cost of material pre-processing as collection expenditure?

Sometimes, as with leased items, pre-processing is part of the normal price and can't be separated out. In such a case, consider the pre-processing as part of the material cost.

If the pre-processing is discretionary, exclude it from the collection expense. Here's why: Your statistics paint a picture of what it really takes to run your library for a year. If you didn't pay for the vendor to laminate covers, produce labels, etc., you would have volunteers or staff do it. The expenses for this would be listed in Other operating expenditures. If Library X had its materials pre-processed and counted this as collection expense, and Library Y did processing in-house, it would really skew a comparison.


Do I include the shipping and handling on books in collection expense?

Yes. In an ideal, perfect world, shipping and handling would be part of other operating expense. However, asking libraries to separate this out would be an enormous reporting burden, and the resulting accuracy may not be of statistical significance. For almost all public libraries, the ability to drive across town and pick up the wide array of materials needed from a local vendor is pure fantasy. From a state perspective, paying shipping and handling for materials is a normal, unavoidable part of the cost of acquiring them.


I don't get insurance or retirement, but I still have benefits?

YES! If you are legally employed, your employer is required to pay certain benefits on your behalf, such as FICA tax and Workers' Compensation insurance.

  • FICA includes Social Security and Medicare. Tax is 7.65% of the gross wage.
  • Current information about Workers' Compensation insurance can be found at the Workers' Compensation Division web site.

I have board books, purchased with grant funds, that are given to new moms. Grant funds also purchase books to give to my kids' reading group which they keep. Where do I record the expense?

Given the use to which the books are put, it would seem that the best parallel would be reading incentives, such as prizes for summer reading, etc. Thus the expense would be listed with supplies in the Other Operating Expenses, Question 4.12. Note that grant revenue would be reported with revenue section.


The Friends bought books for us, where do I put the expenditure?

If the Friends or another group, give the library cash, and the library controls how it is spent, then the amount is Other Revenue. When the library spends the cash, the expenditure of that cash is reported with other expenditures. If the Friends keep control of the cash, and instead present the library with books, or other items, then the library does not record either revenue or expenditure.

Libraries should not record the worth of donated items in the statistical report. Basically, the statistical report is a measure of inputs and outputs, with the general question of "what amount of resources does it take in a normal year for the library to do what it does." The library doesn't control the actions or budget of a separate group, and gifts are not predictable like normal revenue.

There is a correlation between expenditures on books and the collection count, but it is not exact as the library adds a number of donations, and weeds a number of volumes.


Indirect Cost Charges - Do we report them?

Indirect costs are things that many governmental agencies are charged by their administrations, such as a percentage of cost of the legal department, the payroll clerk, the janitorial contract, utilities, etc. My inclination is that if the city adds to library revenue to cover indirect costs, and then bills the library for indirect costs, by all means report both the revenue and expenditure. If you know what the charge (expenditure) is, a director might add the same amount to revenue to properly express the income and outgo.

In some cases, the city or county may both budget and expense a library's indirect costs in a different budget line. It may be wiser in such an environment to call indirect costs a wash and not adjust revenue and expenditures.


E-books - Where do I record the expense?

Record the expense for e-books under electronic materials.


How do I report expense for being in Library2Go / Oregon Digital Library Consortium (ODLC)?

The expense would be reported under Electronic materials by whoever paid it.


Debt Service - Is it operating or capital expenditure?

I would recommend recording this one under capital expenditure generally. This would be the logic:

  1. Library gets voters to approve a bond over and above the regular library tax.
  2. Money is borrowed from the bank and used for construction or other major project.
  3. Money comes in from tax payers to reimburse the bank for its loan plus interest for the cost of using the money.

In this series of events, the lump sum received from the bank is listed as capital revenue the year it is received. The expenditures for the construction or project are listed as capital expenditures when they are made. In succeeding years, tax funds are received due taxes to pay off the bond. Accountants may call that as they may, but for statistical purposes, this is not normal operating money. It is money meant to pay for a capital project and should be put in with capital revenue. The expenditure was already made with the borrowed money, so none need be recorded.