Edge logo - white text on orange backgroundGET THE EDGE!

1. Edge and Benchmarks 
2. Edge in Texas
3. Get Started with Edge
4. I've Completed the Edge Assessment. Now What?
5. Learn More About Edge


1. Edge and Benchmarks

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

Edge helps you, as a library leader, to:

  • assess your current public access technology
  • identify ways to strengthen or enhance public access technology
  • engage with key stakeholders and the community on the value of the library's services

Edge was initially funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and coalition partners include:

  • Urban Libraries Council - lead agency for Edge
  • International City/County Management Association (ICMA)
  • WebJunction (OCLC)
  • State Libraries of CA, MD, OK, TX, WA
  • American Library Association
  • TechSoup Global
  • Public Library Association

Edge support resources include nationally recognized benchmarks, case studies, training, reporting tools, presentation tools, and templates. You can also see how your library compares to peer libraries nationwide. Edge tools and resources are all designed to help you demonstrate the positive impact of library technology services in your community.

The Edge benchmarks are divided into three strategic areas:

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.

Edge was made available to public libraries nationwide in January 2014. By the end of the year, almost 30% of the 9,244 public libraries in the United States had registered for Edge and 20% of the nation’s public libraries had completed the Assessment.

Edge was the cover story in the September 2015 issue of Public Management, the monthly magazine of the ICMA. The experiences of San Antonio Public Library and El Paso Public Library were highlighted. Read the article here.

2. Edge in Texas

With the support of a grant from the Institute for Museum and Library Services, the Texas State Library and Archives Commission provides free access to the Edge toolkit and resources for all accredited public libraries in the state.

Over 200 Texas libraries have completed the Edge.

Several Texas libraries helped pilot Edge before its national launch. You can contact them to learn more about their experience with Edge. 

  • Abilene Public Library
  • Arlington Public Library System
  • Austin Public Library
  • Balch Springs Public Library
  • Bastrop Public Library
  • Bedford Public Library
  • Bell Whittington Public Library (Portland)
  • Bertha Voyer Memorial Library (Honey Grove)
  • Castroville Public Library
  • Coleman Public Library
  • Dripping Springs Community Library
  • El Paso Public Library
  • Ethel L. Whipple Memorial Library (Los Fresnos)
  • Groves Public Library
  • Hidalgo Public Library
  • Houston Public Library
  • Hutchinson County Library (Borger)
  • Lewisville Public Library
  • New Braunfels Public Library
  • Palestine Public Library
  • Robert J. Kleberg Public Library (Kingsville)
  • Salado Public Library District
  • Sam Fore Jr. Wilson County Public Library (Floresville)
  • San Antonio Public Library
  • Smithville Public Library
  • Tom Green County Public Library (San Angelo)
  • Westbank Community Library (West Lake)

The Texas State Library and Archives Commission provided over $875,000 to 130 libraries in support of public access technology through the Edge Reimbursement Program. The Reimbursement Program ended in August 2015, and is not currently being offered.

3. Get Started With Edge

  1. From the Edge home page, click ‘Sign Up’ in the upper right corner of your browser.
  2. On the Library Registration page, select your system name from the drop-down menu, enter contact information, and submit the form. Make sure that the registrant is the person authorized to sign-up on behalf of your library system.
  3. After you request an account, you will receive a confirmation email with a link to the Edge Assessment Workbook (also available here). You can use the Workbook to gather your information beforehand, so that details are handy when you start entering data into the online tool.
  4. Within 10 business days, you will receive an activation email from the Urban Libraries Council with your log-in link. You can then log in to your account and complete the online assessment.
  5. Take the assessment, then use the results to identify opportunities for improvement, to engage staff, and to open dialogue with your community and decision makers.

4. I've Completed the Edge Assessment. Now What?

Below are links to five short videos that address steps for working through the rest of Edge Toolkit after you complete the initial step - the Edge Assessment.

  • Part 1: Edge Benchmark Framework will familiarize you with the various components of the Edge framework (9:26 minutes);
  • Part 2: Identifying Action Items will show how to use your Assessment Results to identify possible actions your library can implement in the following year (8:47 minutes);
  • Part 3: Prioritizing Action for Impact will show how your Peer Comparison Reports provide important context to your results and help inform your decision making process (12:33 minutes);
  • Part 4: Getting Ready for Action will guide you on using the Edge tools to create an achievable Action Plan that focuses on the particular needs and goals of your library (5:57 minutes);
  • Part 5: Looking Outside the Reports will explore ideas and strategies for selecting the Action Items that will be most appropriate and beneficial to your library and community (8:34 minutes). 

5. Learn More About Edge

Page last modified: August 5, 2016