About the Edge Initiative
Edge is a management and leadership tool for public libraries. It provides a snapshot of the library's current public technology services along with steps to make improvements and better serve communities. Edge helps libraries connect their services to community priorities. By using Edge, libraries are able to better demonstrate how their work adds value and impacts the community.

    How will libraries benefit?

    There is value in using the Edge Benchmarks to assess and improve your library. Your Edge results will provide a snapshot of the library's current public technology services along with steps to make improvements. In addition, you will have the tools necessary to work more closely with your local leaders to address community issues. There are three key benefits for participating:

  1. Assess the use of public access technology
  2. Identify specific ways to strengthen or enhance public access technology
  3. Engage with key leaders about the role for the public library in improving communities

  4. Learn more about these key benefits.

    How does an individual library participate?

  1. Libraries will go to www.libraryEdge.org, select the link for ‘sign up’ in the upper right corner of their browser window, and arrive at the Library Registration page.
  2. On the Library Registration page, libraries will select their system name from the drop down menu, enter contact information and submit the form. Before submitting the form, they certify that they are authorized to register on behalf of the library system.
  3. Immediately after submitting the form, they will receive a confirmation email verifying that their request has been received. The email will include a link to the Edge Assessment Workbook, and will inform the library that they will receive a link to log-in to their account within 1 business day.
  4. Within 1 business day, the library receives an email informing them that their account has been activated and providing the log in link.
  5. The log in link will remain active for 14 days, after which time it will expire. If a library has not logged in within the 14 days, they will have to begin the process all over again (re-register).
  6. The assessment will now be open to libraries during an assessment window, set by the state library. You will be able to complete your online assessment during the assessment window, which will be noted in your account.

The Edge Benchmarks
The Edge Initiative represents the first-ever set of benchmarks for public access technology in public libraries.

The benchmarks are categorized in three key areas that assess Community Value, Engaging the Community and Decision Makers, and Organizational Management.

Each category has benchmarks for specific practices. Success on each benchmark is determined by a set of indicators that provide information about the library's progress. By working through the assessment, a library sees, on different levels, an overview of current programs, where services are effective, and where improvements can be made. As a result of the benchmarking activity, Edge provides libraries with a suite of tools as well as training to put strategies into action.


Community Value Benchmarks 1 - 3
Libraries provide programs and services that enable people to get value from their use of technology.
Engaging the Community Benchmarks 4 - 6
Libraries are a valuable community resource and a strategic partner in helping people and communities improve their quality of life.
Organizational Management Benchmarks 7 - 11
Libraries manage resources so that members of the community who need or want access can get it regardless of ability, skill, personal technology, or available time.

The Edge Toolkit

Through an easy to use suite of tools, Edge supports libraries in making strategic decisions and identifying areas for improvement. The Edge Toolkit gives libraries a look into their local data, from operations to partnerships and programming, to assess how their community is using the technology and how best practices can be put into place to align future growth and services with community priorities. It also provides useful resources to package and showcase the data to other community leaders.


Illinois Soft Launch Libraries

In 2013, twenty-six Illinois libraries participated in a soft launch of the Edge Initiative! Open the interactive map to see the Illinois libraries who helped with this project.

 Arlington Heights Memorial Library  Itasca Community Library
 Bensenville Community Public Library District  Lansing Public Library
 Champaign Public Library  LaSalle Public Library
 Chicago Public Library (Harold Washington Library Center)  Mahomet Public Library District
 Des Plaines Public Library  Mascoutah Public Library
 Elmhurst Public Library  Naperville Public Library (The Nichols Library)
 Evanston Public Library  Oak Park Public Library
 Fountaindale Public Library District (Bolingbrook Library)  Plainfield Public Library District
 Gail Borden Public Library District  Rockford Public Library
 Glen Carbon Centennial Library  Skokie Public Library
 Greater West Central Public Library District (Augusta Library)  Sterling Public Library
 Helen Matthes Library  White Oak Library District (Romeoville Library)
 Indian Trails Public Library District  Zion-Benton Public Library District

Edge Initiative Per Capita Requirements for Illinois Libraries

    FY2016 Requirements

  • Technology — Library staff and board will complete the Edge Assessment, which is supported by the Illinois State Library and provided at no charge to your library. If the library already completed the assessment, it does not have to be repeated.
  • FY2017 Requirements

  • Technology — Library board and staff will report on the impact the Edge Assessment has had on the library, including at least one example of how the library has used or plans to use the information gleaned from the assessment.

If you have any questions, contact daggertt@ilsos.net or jurbanek@ilsos.net

Learn more about the Edge Initiative.