Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Edge Assessment is Available for Public Libraries Until April 30th

Edge Initiative logo
Edge Initiative logo
The Edge Initiative free access has been extended to April 30, 2015. This allows public libraries more time to register and take the Edge assessment for free.

The Edge Initiative, a self assessment on a public library's public access technology, is led by the Urban Libraries Council (ULC). 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 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. 

The 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.

Written by:
Ryan Claringbole, Public Library Development Team