Oklahoma libraries have been actively involved in the development and testing phase of the Edge Initiative. In this article, we highlight a handful of resources from Oklahoma.
1. Finding Data
Edge Benchmark 4 states, "Libraries make strategic decisions based on community priorities for digital inclusion and innovation". An analysis of the data that already exists about your community can be a smart place to start identifying needs and priorities. In this article, Bill Young from the Oklahoma Department of Libraries shares resources for finding existing data for your community, including federal websites, state publications and databases, and local contacts.
2. Training for Staff and Patrons
Edge Benchmark 2 states, "Libraries provide access to relevant digital content and enable community members to create their own digital content". The Norman Public Library is a great example of success with this benchmark. Nancy Rimassa and her staff of four part-time employees use the 22 computers in the library's computer training center to teach various classes about digital literacy. This spotlight highlights what they have learned about getting buy-in from the public and from staff and also what they have learned about training adults to use technology.
3. Q&A with an Edge Pilot Library
In this interview, Miami Public Library director Marcia Johnson shares insights based on her experiences as a pilot library for the Edge Initiative. Completing the Edge assessment helped identify strengths and areas for improvement. "Benchmarking is a great measurement tool and a way to learn best practices."
4. Rural Libraries and the Edge Initiative
If you are interested in hearing rural library perspectives on the value of participating in the Edge Initiative, listen to this webinar featuring Mary Haney, director of the Hennessey Public Library, and Lee Ann Barnes, director of the Okeene Public Library. As Edge pilot libraries, what did they do? What did they learn? What are they planning to do next?
5. Reviewing Library Policies
It is important that library policies keep up to date as public technology access services evolve. Changes in technology and changes in the way people use technology challenge libraries to develop workable policies that incorporate technology services, while also affirming the library’s important democratic and educational missions within the community. This article from Bill Young discusses the importance of policies and works through scenarios that highlight technology change and policy impacts.
Beginning in January 2014, libraries across the U.S. are invited to participate in the Edge Initiative. As these resources highlight, it is an exciting step toward aligning public technology services for greater community impact.