North Dakota public libraries are required by law to submit an annual report to their governing body (either the city and/or county commission). This report is different from the PLS (Public Library Survey)/ annual report that is submitted to the State Library.
NDCC 40-38-09. Annual report of board of directors…
According to NDCC 40-38-09, “The board of directors shall make a report on July first of each year to the governing body of the city or board of county commissioners, as the case may be…”
NDCC 40-38-09 also includes a list of what should be included in this report:
- The condition of the library and property.
- The various sums of money received from all sources.
- How much money has been expended and for what purpose.
- The number of books and periodicals on hand.
- The number of books and periodicals added by purchase or gift during the year and the number thereof lost or loaned out.
- The character and kind of books contained in the library.
- Such other statistics, information, and suggestions as the board may deem of general interest or as may be required by the state library.
Creating the Annual Report
NDCC 40-38-09 outlines what needs to be included, but there are numerous ways in which this annual report could be approached.
Your report should be organized, well-thought-out, visual, and informative. With a little time and dedication, you should be able to create a report without any issues. Take advantage of Microsoft Word, Publisher, etc. to help create your report.
Fun facts about the library, highlights from the past year, photographs, and any other relevant information should absolutely be included in the report.
Definitely include information from your library’s most recent PLS; however, you should NOT just print this off and submit it as your annual report to the governing body. The raw data in the PLS can be bland, and it includes information that the governing body may not understand without proper context.
Numbers can really drive the point home. However, don’t use too many figures. That may overwhelm folks. Consider doing something fun with the data, like an infographic. Infographics are brief and visual. You don’t have to be a graphic designer to create an infographic. You can easily create free infographics online by using websites like Canva (other, similar websites are also available).
This report can also serve another purpose: advocacy. Never miss an opportunity to advocate for your library, and the annual report is a wonderful opportunity to do this. The governing body should be able to review the report and visualize the impact the library is making in the community.
Also, take advantage of the Library Value Calculator. You can use this calculator to help determine your library’s value and return on investment. The calculator is available on ALA’s website (www.ala.org/advocacy/library-value-calculator). An Excel Spreadsheet version of this calculator can be downloaded here (this version is easier to print and the data can be easily updated): library-value-calculator.xlsx
Speaking of library advocacy, additional information and resources on this topic are available here: http://bit.ly/2Yube2I
Examples of Library Annual Reports