Thursday, January 22, 2015

Edge Still Available for Public Libraries

Edge logoThe Edge Initiative is still available to public libraries for free through March 2015. The Edge Initiative, a self assessment on a public library's public access technology, is led by the Urban Libraries Council (ULC). Originally, public libraries had until January 2015 to try Edge for free, but this has been extended through March 2015.

The assessment has libraries take 2-4 hours to fill it out, focusing on the 11 benchmarks within the 3 key areas:

  1. Community Value
    • Digital literacy
    • Digital tools and resources
    • Meeting key community needs
  2. Engaging the Community
    • Strategy and evaluation
    • Strategic partnerships
    • Sharing best practices
  3. Organizational Management
    • Planning and policies
    • Staff expertise
    • Devices and bandwidth
    • Technology management
    • Technology inclusiveness 
The assessment is designed to show libraries where they are at concerning public access technology. The assessment asks libraries for information  on website content to community relationships to web analytics. There isn't a pass/fail component to the assessment, rather it is to highlight the areas that the library is excelling at and the areas that are not represented as much. 

Peer Comparison Reports component allows the library to compare its results at the benchmark and indicator levels alongside the average results of peer libraries serving similar size communities. Libraries can use the peer comparison data to help make strategic decisions about where to concentrate their efforts and to determine priority areas for their action plans.

The library can take this information and share it with the library board, municipal government, or public to show why there needs to be an increase in funding, and/or highlight where the library is excelling at serving its community. It helps the library tell its story. 

Many Wisconsin public libraries have registered and taken the Edge assessment. They have stated that though the assessment feels like it was originally designed for larger libraries, it is extremely useful in providing a look at what the library is doing well for public access technology. Many of the libraries that have done the Edge assessment used the results to help with strategic planning, as well as taking it to the library board during reports on library operations. 

Libraries can still register for free through March 2015. Pricing for Edge has not been released yet beyond March 2015. If you have any questions contact Ryan

Written by:
Ryan Claringbole, Public Library Development Team