The Edge

In support of the continuing conversation about the value of a library to its community, I would like to bring your attention a national intiative to develop and implement public access benchmarks for libraries. 

The American Library Assoication Office for Information Technology Policy, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, International City/County Management Association, Lyrasis, OCLC, California State Library, Oklahoma State Library, Public Library Association, TechSoup Global, Texas State Library,University of Maryland, University of Washington, Urban Library Council are working together to develop the “first-ever” set of national benchmarks to
support public access technology in libraries.

The defined benefits include

  • Assess where the library stands in terms of public access technology
  • Pinpoint specific areas for improvement and investment
  • Increase understanding of how public access technology supports community goals
  • Generate data useful for advocacy and fundraising

The goal of this initiative is to assist communities so that they may “continually invest in
opportunities for all people to enrich and improve their lives through
open access to the exceptional information, communication and technology
services available in public libraries.”

Guiding principles include the following:

  • Edge benchmarks will be aspirational: setting high standards for quality, encouraging excellence.
  • Use of the benchmarks will be voluntary.
  • Benchmarks will be designed to assist all libraries, regardless of size, charting paths to continuous improvement.
  • Benchmarks will evolve to reflect emerging technologies, behaviors, opportunities and standards of library practice.
  • Use of the benchmarks will provide clear value for library and local leaders.

To find out more information about this initiative go to

Edge — where people connect, communities achieve

You will be hearing more about Edge as the benchmarks emerge and how Idaho libraries can use these tools to build community.