How do you turn a negative into a positive?

If you've ever been involved in creating something the public sees or uses, you know how setting it free feels: you're vulnerable, you want others to believe in it, to see what you see, you want positive feedback. For me, I want to know what people think. To really know, even if it's negative, because that's important information I can use.

For the past year and change, TechSoup has been part of the Edge Initiative, an effort to create benchmarks and tools that support continuous improvement and drive investment toward public access technology. We're now in the feedback phase, where we take any and all opportunity to learn what librarians think about what the Edge Coalition and hundreds of librarians have created.

Feedback-gathering in Philly

I just returned home from the PLA conference where we had a series of focus groups and a session on the Edge Benchmarks. Around 150 librarians and staff showed up at our PLA session to learn about the project and to share their thoughts on the benchmarks. Now we're knee-deep in the business of gathering, articulating, and discussing what we heard from you. 

My colleagues with the Edge Initiative and at TechSoup know I'm a big believer in letting the community speak: if you have something negative to say, I want to hear it. That's good feedback! In that spirit, I thought I'd share some of the constructive (not negative) feedback we've received:

On providing a comprehensive curated links portal of eGovernement resources and services at local, state, and federal levels updated quarterly:

On the aspirational quality of benchmarks:










On providing curated content to support educational endeavors:

Looking closer: Pilot Libraries

Each of these concerns was not a solo effort; we've heard variations on all of these themes, and we're working hard to consider, to modify, and to make improvements with each feedback activity we organize. But we're not done yet. Soon we'll begin piloting the benchmarks and tools at libraries across the country, followed by a large-scale beta test with upwards of 100 libraries.

But first, the pilot libraries. We so appreciate the hard work these libraries have already completed to help us better understand how they might use the benchmarks and what they need to succeed. This is the hard work; these libraries are working dilligently to plan, to guide staff, and to test the benchmarks at their libraries. We can't thank them enough. Kudos to the following libraries and the fabulous State Libraries that support them!

Stay tuned for more updates on the Edge Initiative. Expect to hear about a new web site and focus groups happening in a state near you. If you'd like to stay updated on the project or provide feedback, please let us know. Thanks for your support.