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Annual Report (Public Library Survey): Annual Report

Annual Report (Public Library Survey)

Annually, public libraries throughout the country are required to submit a statistical report to their respective state libraries. The Public Libraries Survey (PLS), or Annual Report, examines when, where, and how library services are changing to meet the needs of the public. The survey asks libraries to report on collections, circulation, visits, finances, staffing, programming, technology, etc.

Once the data is collected at the state level, it is reported at the federal level to the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). These data, supplied annually by over 9,000 public libraries across the country since 1988, provide information that policymakers and practitioners can use to make informed decisions about the support and strategic management of libraries.

The annual collection on statistics from the state's public libraries serves two purposes:

  • to compile data on North Dakota's public library services on a statewide basis
  • to report data on North Dakota's public library services to IMLS in Washington, DC

An annual report must be completed and submitted electronically to the North Dakota State Library (NDSL) for public libraries to remain eligible to qualify for State Aid.


All annual reports must be submitted to NDSL via Counting Opinions by the deadline. The PLS reporting period is currently closed.

When reporting your data, please follow these guidelines:

  • The data to be reported is for the calendar year that has just ended.
  • Adherence to definitions is important to ensure comparability of data; for the definitions, click on the number to the left of each question.
  • Enter "0" if the appropriate entry for an item is zero or none. (Example: If you did not have any children's programs, the answer is zero.)
  • Enter "N/A" if the figure is not available. (Example: If you had some children's programs, but did not keep track of how many, the answer is N/A.)

Some fields (questions) will be prefilled with data that cannot be modified by the individual completing the report. If you are aware that any of this information needs to be updated, please contact the State Data Coordinator.

All fields (questions) must have data entered in them or your report will not be able to be submitted.

All edit checks must be annotated in order for your report to be submitted. If you have annotated all edit checks and are still encountering errors when attempting to submit your report electronically, contact the State Data Coordinator.


North Dakota Libraries State Aid and Annual Report Walkthrough (2020 webinar)

Contact Information

State Data Coordinator

Michele Balliet Unrath
North Dakota State Library

Counting Opinions

Counting Opinions is a web-based report and application portal used by NDSL. North Dakota public libraries sign in to their accounts on Counting Opinions to submit the PLS.

Tracking Statistics

Public libraries should be tracking and retaining statistics on a regular basis. Browse the resources listed below for guidance.

Annual Report Data

These annual spreadsheets (XSLX) include the raw data for every question asked on the PLS/ annual report from every public library that submitted.