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Dollar$ for Data

In 2005 the Nebraska Library Commission implemented a state aid grant program called "Dollars for Data." These payments are made to unaccredited public libraries that completed the annual public library statistical report, providing answers to at least all of the federal data elements on the report, using the Web-based survey provided through Bibliostat™ Collect. Unaccredited public libraries are eligible for a payment of $200.

The purpose of this incentive program was to encourage more public libraries in Nebraska to provide their annual statistical data, thus providing a more complete and accurate picture of the state of library services and funding, and allowing for more reasonable guideline expectations based on broader input from libraries of all sizes. Online provision of public library data is an important step in a library's ability to become accredited. Accredited libraries are eligible for a larger direct state aid payment, as well as for a variety of competitive grant programs offered throughout the year by the Library Commission.

Twenty-seven libraries qualified and received the payment in 2005. During the following year, eight of those libraries were able to meet the accreditation guidelines. In 2006, the number of libraries that received the Dollars for Data payment was again 27, but there were eight libraries that had not qualified in 2005. In 2007, two additional libraries submitted statistics. In 2008, 45 libraries received Dollars for Data payments. Of these, 22 of the libraries had never received the payment before, and many submitted statistics online for the first time. Three of the award recipients from 2009, one from 2010, one from 2011, and one from 2012  have now become accredited libraries. In 2015, 45 libraries were awarded Dollars for Data.

Provision of public library data is an important activity for all libraries so that both the Library Commission and the Institute of Museum and Library Services has a truer picture of public library service throughout Nebraska. Since this is a necessary element toward meeting the standards of service outlined in the Public Library Accreditation Guidelines, these libraries are one step closer to achieving accredited status.

For more information, contact Sam Shaw.