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Integrating the Academic Libraries Survey (ALS) into IPEDS: Staff Types and Staffing Levels for Academic Libraries

The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) has integrated the Academic Libraries (AL) component, formerly known as the biennial Academic Libraries Survey (ALS), into its Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) 2014-15 collection. All degree-granting, Title IV postsecondary institutions in the U.S. and other jurisdictions are required to report library information annually beginning in December 2014 when the IPEDS Spring data collection opens.

There are major changes concerning library staffing in IPEDS.  Unlike the ALS, the AL component does not request information about library staff types and staffing levels; only expenditures for total salaries and wages are reported for all libraries. Additionally, the expenditures for fringe benefits are reported on the AL component if paid by the library.

When changes to the ALS were proposed in 2011, the Technical Review Panel discussing the survey suggested that:

  • The collection of academic staff and staffing data be relocated to the Human Resources (HR) component of IPEDS.
  • Instead of collecting staffing levels as fill-time equivalents (FTE), IPEDS should collect a headcount of part-time and full-time library staff, thereby maintaining consistency with how personnel data are collected throughout IPEDS.  The HR component also collects staffing information based on  race and ethnicity as well as by gender.
  • Collecting this data in the HR component would ensure consistent reporting and avoid duplication of data. Institutional personnel offices already track this information, so institutional keyholders will not need to rely on the library department to gather data.

[See Report and Suggestions from IPEDS Technical Review Panel #35, Reintegrating the Academic Libraries Survey into IPEDS. Available at].

IPEDS collects full-time and part-time headcounts for three library staff-related classifications from the 2010 Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Standard Occupational Classification (SOC). These classifications include: Librarians (25-4021); Library Technicians (25-4031); and Archivists, Curators, and Museum Technicians (25-4010).  The definitions from the 2010 SOC are provided below.

  • 25-4021 Librarians:  Administer libraries and perform related library services. Work in a variety of settings, including public libraries, educational institutions, museums, corporations, government agencies, law firms, non-profit organizations, and healthcare providers. Tasks may include selecting, acquiring, cataloguing, classifying, circulating, and maintaining library materials; and furnishing reference, bibliographical, and readers’ advisory services. May perform in-depth, strategic research, and synthesize, analyze, edit, and filter information. May set up or work with databases and information systems to catalogue and access information. Illustrative examples: Law Librarian, School Librarian, Music Librarian.
  • 25-4031 Library Technicians:  Assist librarians by helping readers in the use of library catalogs, databases, and indexes to locate books and other materials; and by answering questions that require only brief consultation of standard reference. Compile records; sort and shelve books or other media; remove or repair damaged books or other media; register patrons; and check materials in and out of the circulation process. Replace materials in shelving area (stacks) or files. Includes bookmobile drivers who assist with providing services in mobile libraries. Illustrative examples: Library Circulation Technician, Library Acquisitions Technician.
  • 25-4010 Archivists, Curators, and Museum Technicians: This broad occupation includes the following three detailed occupations — 25-4011 Archivists, 25-4012 Curators and 25-4013 Museum Technicians and Conservators.

[U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2010 SOC Definitions, February 2010 (Updated January 2013) and available at]

These personnel classifications are differ from those used in the 2012 ALS and ACRL/ARL annual surveys.

IPEDS has determined that all three library-related classifications are “non-instructional” personnel although library staff may hold “faculty status.” Part B1 of the HR component data collection instrument asks for the number of “Full-time Non-instruction Staff” arranged in rows by gender and ethnicity vertically on the left side of the form with the three aforementioned classifications situated horizontally as columns at the top. Part B2 of the survey form is used to collect data about faculty and non-faculty status for those in these three classifications. Faculty status includes those personnel tenured or on a tenure track. Staff with faculty status but not on a tenure track are counted on three vertical columns labeled as multiyear, continuing, or at-will contract; annual contract; and less-than-annual contract.  There is also a vertical data collection column for personnel in these three classifications without faculty status.  Similar HR component forms are used for part-time non-instructional staff (Parts D and E). An example of the Human Resources component survey form for degree-granting institutions and related administrative offices that have 15 or more full-time staff and a tenure system is accessible at

The results of these changes concerning staff types and staffing levels data collection and reporting are:

  • The AL component only asks about library expenditures for total salary and wages and fringe benefits.
  • Information collected about staff types and staffing levels have been relocated to the HR component of IPEDS and will be reported by the institution’s human resources/personnel office.
  • Headcounts are applied in IPEDS which means that staffing information about full-time equivalents are not collected or calculated. This will impact libraries using reported FTE levels for internal trend analysis, and for external benchmarking and best practices concerning academic library staff and staffing.
  • Education levels attained are unspecified in the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ definitions of the three classification; as a result, education is not a defining characteristic for 25-4021 Librarians and 25-4031 Library Technicians.
  • The categorization of library staff into one of the three BLS classifications is an institutional decision most often made by HR personnel or, in some cases, the institutional keyholder.  Therefore, academic library leadership may not be involved in the categorization of its personnel when the institution completes and submits the IPEDS HR component.

To ensure institutional accuracy for the upcoming IPEDS Spring collection which includes both the AL and HR components, it is strongly recommended that library leaders learn more about the institutional processes supporting survey information collection and reporting by talking or meeting with the institutional keyholder. This discovery effort should include asking about the institution’s alignment of library staff types and staffing levels with the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ SOC classifications discussed above.

– Robert Dugan, Chair, ACRL Academic Library Trends and Statistics Survey Editorial Board

A Message to the FSU Community from the ACRL Board of Directors

The ACRL Board of Directors, along with the entire academic community, was shocked and saddened by the news of the senseless act of violence that occurred early Thursday morning at the Florida State University (FSU) Strozier Library.

The Strozier Library, like academic libraries across the nation, represents the heart and soul of campus. The actions of the Strozier Library faculty and staff during, and following, these tragic events show the dedication of the academic library community to the personal, as well as intellectual, well-being of our students.

Many of our fellow ACRL members are affected both professionally and personally by the events at Strozier. Please know that those dealing with aftermath of this tragedy, including FSU students, staff, and faculty, are in our thoughts.

Karen A. Williams, president
Ann Campion Riley, vice-president/president-elect
Trevor A. Dawes, past-president
Mary Ellen K. Davis, executive director
Members of the ACRL Board of Directors

C&RL News – November 2014

C&RL News - November 2014

The November 2014 issue of C&RL News is now freely available online. With the growing trend of libraries as publisher, more institutions are focusing attention on locally created research and publications authored both by faculty and students. Danielle Barandiaran, Betty Rozum, and Becky Thoms outline the Utah State University’s program of “Focusing on student research in the institutional repository” through the DigitalCommons@USU program.

The University of Michigan science library makes a concerted effort of highlighting publications by faculty authors through a series of exhibits and events. Jennifer Bonnet, Barbara Alvarez, and Sigrid Anderson Cordell discuss the program in their article “Let’s get this party started.”

The place of the print book in an environment of online access and changing roles for library spaces continues to be a topic of discussion on many campuses. Stefanie R. Bluemle and Carla B. Tracy take a look a legacy print collections in the learning-centered library in their piece “The lives of books.”

The Princeton University Costen Children’s Library highlights the legacy of print through a rare books education program in local elementary schools, Dana Sheridan discusses their approach to “Teaching the untouchable” in this issue’s The Way I See It essay.

In this month’s Scholarly Communication column, Korey Jackson of Oregon State University examines open access evaluation in the Humanities in his article “More than gatekeeping.”

Registration is open for the ACRL 2015 Conference to be held March 25—28, 2015, in Portland, Oregon. In this month’s issue, Angie Beiriger and Dan Kelley take us on a tour through the “Neighborhoods of Portland,” highlighting the unique offerings of our host city.

We return to our look back at the history of the association this month with our 75th Anniversary feature “Cruising through the ’50s” by Sarah H. Northam.

Make sure to check out the other features and departments this month, including Internet Resources on the history of medicine by Jolie Braun, and an overview of the contents of the November issue of our online-only scholarly research College and Research Libraries.




Everything You Need to Know About Integrating the Academic Libraries Survey (ALS) into IPEDS: Important Resources for Academic Libraries

The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) has integrated the Academic Libraries (AL) component, formerly known as the biennial Academic Libraries Survey (ALS), into its Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) 2014-15 collection. All degree-granting, Title IV postsecondary institutions in the U.S. and other jurisdictions are required to report library information annually beginning with the spring IPEDS collection beginning in December 2014.

On October 1, 2014, the ACRL Academic Library Trends and Statistics Survey Editorial Board sponsored a webcast, Update on the New IPEDS Academic Library Component,attended by 347 participants.  Many of the questions raised during the session can be answered through existing information resources, including:

- Academic Libraries Information Center (Institute of Education Statistics, National Center for Education Statistics (NCES)). The site provides information about the IPEDS process and schedule.  Resources include:  Comparing the ALS to IPEDS AL Component; Crosswalk of 2012 to 2014-15 Academic Libraries Variables; Technical Review Panel Summary for Reintegrating ALS into IPEDS; 2014-15 AL Survey Screens, Instructions, and Glossary; Establishing AL Reporting Relationships; and Frequently Asked Questions.

- “2014-15 Survey Materials > Form – Academic Libraries Overview” (NCES). This webpage displays the AL component survey form and provides instructions and definitions. When viewed online, definitions from the IPEDS glossary appear in a pop-up window when the viewer clicks on specific underlined links on the displayed survey form.

- IPEDS Glossary with definitions.

- IPEDS Help Desk has been receiving great reviews for being helpful and prompt. Their phone number is 1-877-225-2568 and email is

Other informative links include:

- The one-hour webcast, “Update on the New IPEDS Academic Library Component”. Presenters include Bill Miller from Florida Atlantic University, Bob Dugan from the University of West Florida, and Carl Thompson from Counting Opinions.

- Bob Dugan is maintaining a tab on a LibGuide with documents and links about the reintegration including a crosswalk  that compares the ACRL Annual Survey, the IPEDS AL component, and the 2012 Academic Library Survey. Other information includes questions and answers from IPEDS Help Desk, the presenters’ slides from the October 1webcast, and documents from the Editorial Board’s presentation at ALA’s annual meeting on June 28, 2014.

- The Association for Institutional Research (AIR) provides online video tutorials for several IPEDS data tools. Some videos may be viewed at no cost; others require free registration while others require AIR membership.

Answers to the questions received during the October 1 webcast have been compiled and are available on the Bob Dugan’s LibGuide. Below are answers to two of the most frequently asked questions:

Question 1.  What dates constitute FY2014? My fiscal year runs June – July. 

Answer:  Report all data for fiscal year (FY) 2014. Fiscal year 2014 is defined as the most recent 12-month period that ends before October 1, 2014, that corresponds to the institution’s fiscal year. [Source:]

Question 2:  AL component, Section II on expenditures, Total salaries and wages.  Does staffing costs include student assistants?

Answer:  The IPEDS AL component definition of what to include in salary and wages expenditures is:

Amounts paid as compensation for services to all employees – faculty, staff, part-time, full-time, regular employees, and student employees [underlining has been added]. This includes regular or periodic payment to a person for the regular or periodic performance of work or a service and payment to a person for more sporadic performance of work or a service (overtime, extra compensation, summer compensation, bonuses, sick or annual leave, etc.).

[Source: Then, under Expenditures, click on the underline on “Total salaries and wages.”]

– Robert Dugan, Chair, ACRL Academic Library Trends and Statistics Survey Editorial Board.

Integrating the Academic Libraries Survey (ALS) into IPEDS: The Process Begins

Editor’s Note: The ACRL Academic Library Trends and Statistics Survey Editorial Board is working to create awareness of the migration of the NCES Academic Library Survey back into the Integrated Postsecondary Data System (IPEDS) and the implications for academic libraries. This is the first of a series of updates from the Robert Dugan, dean of libraries at the University of West Florida, and chair of the ACRL Academic Library Trends and Statistics Survey Editorial Board.

The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) has integrated the Academic Libraries (AL) component, formerly known as the biennial Academic Libraries Survey (ALS), into its Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) 2014-15 collection. All degree-granting, Title IV postsecondary institutions in the U.S. and other jurisdictions are required to report library information annually.

The ALS was usually completed and submitted by the academic library. However, the institution’s designated IPEDS keyholder will be responsible for ensuring completion of the 2014-15 AL component.  Keyholders may designate additional users to assist them with the survey; the data entry for the AL component can be delegated to a person working in the library.  To facilitate the keyholder’s AL data collection, IPEDS designated ALS respondents as AL contacts and loaded their information into the IPEDS Data Collection System. IPEDS then contacted institutional keyholders to inform them of the changes in library data collection and encouraged them to reach out to the AL contact.

On July 17, 2014, Richard Reeves, Program Director of IPEDS, officially notified the AL contacts via email from the IPEDS Help Desk about the data collection changes. The email also asked the recipient to contact the keyholder if they had yet to be in touch.  The ACRL Academic Library Trends and Statistics Survey Editorial Board encourages all library directors to help the institutional keyholders understand the library data elements requirements by confirming your expertise concerning the AL data elements. This is an opportunity to increase contact and deepen relationships with the Instuitional Research (IR) office.

If the keyholder adds the AL contact or someone else at the library as an IPEDS user, the IPEDS Help Desk at will send the keyholder-designated person an email with a user id number and a temporary password. Following the instructions on this email, the designee will be required to enter a permanent password and complete a simple registration form. Then, the now-registered user may download and review the IPEDS New Keyholder Handbook 2014 – 2015 and view the institution’s status of completing the three annual IPEDS survey collections. Registered IPEDS users will also receive communications about survey collections, such as the follow-up email sent on September 3 reminding keyholders of the need to complete the Fall 2014 IPEDS web-based data collection no later than October 15, 2014.

There is one question about the academic library on each of two separate components of the Fall 2014 data collection. The Institutional Characteristics component asks if the institution has its own library or if it is financially supporting a shared library with another postsecondary education institution. Three responses are possible for this question and institution must choose one. This question has appeared on this specific IPEDS component in the past.

A new question about the academic library is asked on the IC Header component. Referred to as a Survey Screening Question, the institution’s keyholder, or their registered library user if so delegated by the keyholder, is required to enter the total library expenditures at the institution for Fiscal Year 2014. If the library expenditures are greater than 0, the institution will be required to report additional information about their library collections in the AL component. If the amount reported is greater than $100,000, additional screens will be required in the AL component for reporting additional expenditure information. The AL component is part of the Spring IPEDS collection which opens December 10, 2014. Academic librarians may want to seek out the institutional keyholder to help them with the new question about the library’s expenditures, especially as to its importance as a screening question for the Spring data collection.

The ACRL Academic Library Trends and Statistics Survey Editorial Board plans to highlight many of the more important changes in the AL data elements and other topics in future ACRL Insider releases. Additionally, a one hour free webinar, “Update on the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) Academic Library Survey,” will be presented on Wednesday, October 1, 2014 at 2:00 p.m. Eastern (1:00 p.m. Central) and an update information session will be held at the 2015 ALA Midwinter Meeting in Chicago on Saturday January 31, 2015.

– Bob Dugan, Academic Library Trends and Statistics Survey Editorial Board, University of West Florida

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