Benchmarks: Building Library Management and Leadership Strength

BENTON, Susan (2014) Benchmarks: Building Library Management and Leadership Strength. Paper presented at: IFLA WLIC 2014 - Lyon - Libraries, Citizens, Societies: Confluence for Knowledge in Session 167 - Management and Marketing with Public Libraries. In: IFLA WLIC 2014, 16-22 August 2014, Lyon, France.

Bookmark or cite this item: http://library.ifla.org/id/eprint/1006
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Language: English (Original)
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Abstract

Benchmarks: Building Library Management and Leadership Strength

Over the last two decades, U.S. public libraries have integrated public computers as a key resource for the public’s use. Today, virtually all U.S. public libraries have computers available for patrons, along with Internet connectivity. While providing this essential service, libraries are challenged to ensure that the technology is adequate to meet the needs of residents and to represent the value of computers and connectivity to community leaders. To meet this challenge, a national coalition of leading library, university and local government organizations(1), funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and led by the Urban Libraries Council, came together to create Edge. Edge was created with the vision that all people should have opportunities to enrich and improve their lives through open access to information, communication, and technology services provided by public libraries. Edge is the first national benchmarking assessment for libraries that serves as both a management and leadership tool, helping libraries create a path for the continuous growth and development of their public technology services. The Edge suite of tools is based on three benchmark groupings that evaluate the libraries’ public technology along with related programs, services and practices. The Edge tools support libraries in making strategic decisions and identifying areas for improvement. It gives libraries 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 key community leaders. Launched in late January 2014, Edge is being successfully used by over 2,000 public libraries – urban, suburban and rural, serving all population levels – with results that are immediately valuable for Edge-users.

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