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 10 business days.
  4. ULC maintains the log of account requests. On a regular schedule Edge activates accounts.
  5. Within 10 business days, the library receives an email informing them that their account has been activated and providing the log in link. The library logs in to their account and begins to complete the online assessment.
  6. 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).

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

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 Initative Per Capita Requirements for Illinois Libraries

  1. At least one member of the library staff and at least one board member must attend an informational webinar or in-person session about The Edge Initiative. Information is forthcoming about webinars, in-person sessions and other tools.
  2. The library staff must reigster the library’s account.
  3. The library staff must print and review The Edge Assessment Workbook.
  4. Although not a FY2015 requirement, the library staff and board may complete The Edge Initiative assessment in FY2015.

Public Library Per Capita and EDGE Assessment Training Sessions Announced

As per the FY2015 Public Library Per Capita and Equalization Aid Grant Requirements under Education and Training, Illinois Public Libraries must have at least one staff member attend an instructional course. The Technology component requires that at least one member of the library staff and at least one board member must attend an informational webinar or in-person session about the Edge Initiative.

Public libraries applying the FY2015 Per Capita grant have the opportunity to satisfy both of these requirements by participating in one of three training sessions provided by the Illinois State Library focusing on the Public Library Per Capita grant application and the EDGE Assessment. State Library staff will provide instruction on the Edge Assessment participation and completion of the Per Capita grant application, due on or before October 15.

By taking part in the EDGE Assessment, your library will gain a better understanding of how public access technology is currently being used and where your services fall in relation to national best. There are several digital literacy tools to choose from to help public libraries. This overview of the EDGE Assessment will provide step by step instructions on how to participate, with an emphasis on how this measurement snapshot can help your library set goals and develop an action plan. In this in-person session, learn why the EDGE was chosen to be a part of the technical requirements in the Illinois State Library 2015 Public Library Per Capita Grant.

To participate, the library must register on L2 for one of the following training sessions:

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

Learn more about the EDGE Initiative.

  • An orientation webinar is available for public libraries. Visit: http://www.libraryedge.org/about-edge - click on the ‘Watch the Edge Overview Webinar to learn more’ link. Public library staff and trustees may view this webinar as part of their Technology requirements for the 2105 Per Capita grant.
  • GETTING THE EDGE! ILLINOIS PEER COMPARISON LIBRARIES
    In this webinar, Alison Saffold of the Edge Initiative provides an overview of the EDGE Initiative, the value of participation, and how to get started with the assessment.
  • The Edge Support Center help desk function includes a handy FAQ section, and links to training, as well as standard support desk functions.
  • Explore best practices and view trainings related to using your Edge results at the EDGE Webinar Roundup : http://www.libraryedge.org/news-events/blog/edge-webinar-roundup.
  • The Edge Quick Start Guide provides a basic tour of the Edge assessment and how to complete and use it.
  • Questions about the Edge Initiative in Illinois? Contact Debra Aggert from the Illinois State Library at daggertt@ilsos.net, 217-524-1019.