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South Dakota State Library Services

A list of services provided by the South Dakota State Library.

Public Libraries Survey (annual report)

  • The Public Libraries Survey (PLS) is a statistical survey of all public libraries in the U.S.
  • The State Library adds additional questions used for collecting additional administrative information and planning library development services.
  • All designated public libraries in South Dakota are required to by state statute (SDCL #14-2-40) to complete this annual statistical report.

Want to know more? Check out this video: Introduction to the SD Public Libraries Survey (7 min)

Several changes were made to the federal data elements regarding the reporting of library programming for FY 2021. The revisions are outlined below.

FYI: The State Library is providing a free tool called WhoFi Program Planner to help you record and track library programs. Using the Program Planner reporting form will help you align your program and program attendance records with the new changes to the federal data elements. This tool is free and available to all South Dakota public libraries regardless of whether you are using the WhoFi wireless session counter. More information on the Program Planner tool is available.

Synchronous Programs

This is basically how your reported live programs in past years, however, for 2021 you will be asked to track whether the program was offered on-site, off-site, or virtual; also note the addition of an all ages program category for general interest programs. These changes are highlighted in yellow below. Remember 

Number of In-Person Onsite Program Sessions
Number of In-Person Offsite Program Sessions
Number of Live Virtual Program Sessions
Total Number of Program Sessions

(auto summed)

Total Attendance at Synchronous Program Sessions
Children Ages 0-5
Children Ages 6-11
Young Adults Ages 12-18
Adults Age 19 or Older
General Interest


Reminder: A synchronous program is a planned event for a live audience which introduces the group attending to library services or which provides information to participants. Program sessions may cover use of the library, library services, or library tours. Program sessions may also provide cultural, recreational, or educational information. Examples of these types of program sessions include, but are not limited to, film showings, lectures, story hours, literacy programs, citizenship classes, and book discussions.

An additional General Interest age category has been added.

 A general interest program session is any planned event that is appropriate for any age group or multiple age groups. Include all-age, all-library, family, and intergenerational program sessions. Examples of these types of program sessions include, but are not limited to, family game nights, holiday events, storytelling programs, or chess clubs. Include all programs here that do not fit into the other age category elements. Each program session should only be counted in one age category based on its primary target audience; do not include program sessions here that have already been counted in earlier age category elements. Avoid including program sessions that are targeted at more than one non-adult age category (and are not targeted at adults); these should be counted in the child or young adult age category that best represents the target audience.

Report the venue of the program:

  • Onsite - An in-person onsite program session is any planned event that includes an in-person attendance option and takes place at library facilities. Examples include, but are not limited to, a job skills class in the library or a nature program on the library grounds. Regardless of the number of formats in which a program session is offered, each program session should only be counted once and in one format category. Include in-person program sessions that also have a virtual attendance option and count them as a single program session.
  • Offsite - An in-person offsite program session is any planned event that includes an in-person attendance option and takes place somewhere other than the library or the library grounds. Examples include, but are not limited to, facilitating a book club at a local nursing home, hosting a storytime at a local farmer’s market, or visiting a school to present about library services. Regardless of the number of formats in which a program session is offered, each program session should only be counted once and in one format category. Include in-person program sessions that also have a virtual attendance option and count them as a single program session.
  • Virtual - A synchronous (live) virtual program session is any planned event that is streamed virtually and can be viewed live as it progresses (i.e., live-streaming). Regardless of the number of formats in which a program session is offered, each program session should only be counted once and in one format category. Exclude program sessions that also have an in-person component; these should be counted under Number Synchronous In-Person Onsite Program Sessions or Number of Synchronous In-Person Offsite Program Sessions.

Asynchronous Program Presentations

Reminder: An asynchronous program presentation is any recording of program content that cannot be viewed live as it unfolds (i.e., on-demand streaming). Only include program presentations posted during the reporting period. Regardless of the number of platforms on which a presentation is posted, count each unique presentation only once. Include recordings of synchronous program sessions that were available for asynchronous viewing after the session ended.

Total Number of Asynchronous (Recorded) Program Presentations
Total Views of Asynchronous Program Presentations within 7 Days


We asked you to report recorded programs last year, however there is one change you should note for 2021:

  • You may count views up to a week after the program is posted online. (In 2020 we allowed you to report views for the entirety of the year.)
Access the Public Libraries Survey online report form at:
  • The FY 2020 South Dakota Public Libraries Survey is open February 1 - March 31, 2021.
  • Contact the SDSL Data Coordinator with your name, institution, and position if you need your library's account credentials to log in.
The following resources will help you complete your library's annual report.

They are also available on the online PLS form.

Worksheet contains definitions and instructions for PLS data elements on the FY 2020 annual report. Also find detailed instructions for reporting library programs and website visits in the appendices.

What Goes Where help sheet gives instructions for which fields to report specific items such as your library's digital collections, grants received by the library, other income/expenditure items, programs, and special instructions for school/public combo libraries.

Video overviews of PLS report form have helpful information on completing your library's annual report. Links to these videos are posted on the  PLS online form.

FAQs - Got a question? You might find your answer here.  
If you don't find an answer, contact the SDSL Data Coordinator.


Public service hours (A24)

Q: Since our hours changed in April and again in July what should I put down? Our hours normally, currently, combination?

A: Fill in the schedule grid with the hours your library would normally be open (under non-pandemic circumstances.

Weeks per year library is open (B11, #715, #716,)

Q: How do we handle reduced hours of operation during the pandemic? The building was closed to the public March to August but the staff worked 8 am to 5 pm. August we opened but with limited hours.

A: IMLS temporarily added two additional questions (#715 & #716) to capture changes in library operation hours due to COVID. If the library was closed to the public--regardless of whether staff were still working--then report the number of weeks closed in #715. If the library was open to the public, but under limited circumstances--reduced hours, limited occupancy, visitor time limits, closed off areas, etc.--then report the number of weeks in #716 and include these weeks in B11 Number of weeks per year the library is open.

Typical week (B14, B14)

Q: Do I use our current limited hours of operation or pre-pandemic hours?

A: Report the number of hours (B14) and number of days (B15) the library is open under normal circumstances. That would be your pre-pandemic schedule if you are still operating at limited capacity

Library visits / curbside services (G02)

Q: Can we count the curbside service we provided while the library was closed as library visits?

A: No. In the library visits field you may only count people who enter the library during public services hours. However, if you counted the number of people you served curbside, through home delivery service, etc., you may report those transactions in G28 one-to-one programs.

Passive program activities (G26, G27)

Q: What types of activities can we count in this area?

A: Many of you provided activities for your patrons to complete independently while social distancing prevented in-person programs. You may count activities organized by your library that required in investment in staff time and materials. Remember, programs provide information about the library or deliver cultural, recreational, or educational information. You may count activities like take & make craft bags, story walks, I-Spy window activities, social media challenges organized by library staff. Do not count bags of candy you handed out at Halloween and Christmas, or activities like Legos, a puzzle, or checkers game you left out for play.

Q: Do you have any good ideas for how to count participants at activities like storywalks or I Spy windows?

A: You may have to be creative to find a solution. Our CYS coordinator, Laura, has a few suggestions: 

  • Hang a sign at the beginning of the walk and end asking to post a message of your experience or a picture. Count the postings; maybe create a photo shoot that says, " I completed the storywalk!"
  • Post a QR Code they could scan with a quick survey or conduct a survey at the end of a summer reading program of activities you attended.
  • Collect comment cards located at the end or next to the I Spy activity.
  • Turn in or show your completed I Spy sheet to librarian for a small prize or enter into drawing, count how many sheets you provide and how many are left.
  • Post your picture of completed I Spy with a you in the picture.
  • Stickers they place on a board at the end of the walk saying they completed or take a sticker once you complete an activity count remaining stickers.
  • End storywalk at the library and mark down participants as you see them   
Curbside service (G28)

Q: Our library provided curbside service while the library was closed to the public. Is there a place to report that?

A: Yes, if you provided services like curbside or home delivery while the library was closed to the public due to the Coronavirus pandemic, you may report the number of patrons served in one-to-one programs.

Public computers (G32)

Q: We normally have 8 public access computers but with COVID spacing we are down to 3. How would you like me to report that?

A: You probably had 8 until sometime in March and if you anticipate opening all stations up again after the pandemic, then report 8 and leave a note that says you reduced available public computers to 3 during the pandemic.

Annual Wireless Sessions (G35)

Q: Which measure from our library's WhoFi report should we be using to complete the annual wireless sessions question?

A: The usage metric you should use from your WhoFi report is "Total Session Count".

How can I use the Public Libraries Survey statistics?

The State Library makes the data available for use by South Dakota public librarians and their stakeholders. Use statistics from "peer" libraries to demonstrate need, for resource allocation, and to show the good your library does for your community.

If you want to know more or you would like help accessing and analyzing your library's data, contact the SDSL Data Coordinator.

Annual reports for individual public libraries are available on request. Contact the State Library Data Coordinator.

Here are a few tools to help you combine your library's financial and services statistics with information about patron expectations, community goals, and potential partnerships.