Edge public library benchmarks: Learn and comment at ALA12

Over the past year, the ALA Office for Information Technology Policy (OITP) has worked with the Public Library Association (PLA) and a host of other leading organizations that represent libraries and local government to draft a set of public access technology benchmarks as part of the Edge initiative, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. As part of this work, the Edge coalition also has organized focus groups, interviewed librarians and hosted public meetings to discuss and share working drafts of the benchmarks and materials to support their use.

With the recent launch of the Edge website and an Annual Conference program planned for Sunday, June 24, at 10:30 a.m., you have another two opportunities to learn more and provide feedback on this important initiative. The Edge benchmarks (currently in beta) are intended to help already-busy library staff efficiently assess, improve, and support public access technology services for their users. Related training and support materials are in development to support library staff in using benchmark data to advocate for maintained and increased funding for technology services.

The Edge benchmarks are divided into three main groupings that assess community value (e.g., services that support digital literacy, education or e-government), engaging the community & decision makers (e.g., community needs assessment and community partnerships) and organizational management (e.g., technology planning, staff continuing education and technology deployment). In addition to seeking wide public comment on the current draft, the beta version of the Edge benchmarks will be pilot tested in select libraries in summer 2012.

Now is the time to share your comments and feedback on what works well, what could work better or even what might be missing in the current draft. The benchmarks are here, and there is a feedback survey link here.

You can also bring questions and comments to the Sunday program in Anaheim:

Join us in Anaheim to learn how Edge will help libraries
Sunday, June 24, 10:30 a.m.
Anaheim Convention Center, Room 201B

Join the Edge coalition in Anaheim to learn how Edge will help libraries assess, improve and advocate for enhanced public access technology services for their communities. This session will include an update on the initiative; an overview of the executive tool that will help library leaders communicate with the local decision makers about the benefits of continually re-investing in public access technology; and a moderated panel discussion with pilot librarians, a member of the Edge coalition, and a member of the Library Directors Advisory Group.

Thanks to all the folks who already have provided input during the development process so far, and we look forward to your continued comments as the coalition continues to improve and refine the benchmarks and supporting materials.

About Larra Clark

As Deputy Director of the American Library Association's Office for Information Technology Policy (OITP), Larra’s responsibilities include overall management of OITP’s telecommunications portfolio and day-to-day management of America’s Libraries for the 21st Century (AL21C) projects and those in partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Previously, she served as the project manager in the ALA Office for Research & Statistics for three years.

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