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About Edge

Edge is a management tool that helps libraries of all sizes align their technology resources to community priorities.

“Part of what Edge has done is open up new ways of thinking about technology. By using up-to-date technology and resources, we’ve changed our role in the community. People see what’s going on and want to be part of it.”

Dianne Connery, Director
Pottsboro Area Public Library

Mission

Edge helps public libraries establish a baseline for continuous improvement and greater community impact. Edge achieves this mission by providing libraries with standards in technology services and programming, and tools to help libraries measure and implement change.


Edge Benchmarks

Edge Benchmarks are goal statements. Edge 2.0 includes 10 benchmarks, which represent aspirational resource and service standards to promote excellence in libraries' efforts and leadership to promote digital inclusion.

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Online Platform

Edge offers a dynamic benchmarking platform that provides powerful tools for users to assess their library's programs and services, compare their current progress to libraries across North America and plan for continuous improvement.

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Edge Team

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Jennifer Blenkle

Director of Strategic Initiatives, Urban Libraries Council

Jen focuses on designing and leading ULC’s strategic initiatives, ensuring that the programs address the critical issues facing members now and in the future. Her career includes over 20 years of program development and leadership in community and nonprofit organizations. Before coming to ULC, Jen served as the vice president of research and innovation at the Industrial Research Institute and vice president of innovation and new product development at the American Society of Association Executives.

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Alisha Powell Gillis

Director of Community Impact, Urban Libraries Council

Alisha Powell Gillis is responsible for connecting libraries to critical issues in state and local government and developing a culture of data-driven, outcome-based programs among ULC members and Edge subscribers. Prior to ULC, Alisha served the nation's governors for nearly a decade at the National Governors Association Homeland Security & Public Safety Division.

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Lourdes Aceves

Senior Program Manager, Urban Libraries Council

Lourdes manages the Edge State Library Program, working closely with state library partners to secure broad adoption across their states. Lourdes supports and builds ULC and Edge's national presence and value at national, state and regional conferences. Before joining ULC, she worked at the Illinois Housing Development Authority to administer a TARP Program intended to help struggling Illinois homeowners avoid foreclosure. Lourdes holds a Master in Public Policy with a concentration in local economic development.

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Ximena Diaz

Program Fellow, Urban Libraries Council

Ximena supports Edge and ULC's programs. She graduated from George Washington University in 2018 with a Bachelor of Arts in international development. Ximena wishes to dedicate her career to racial equity and educational development, whether it be internationally or domestically. Prior to ULC, Ximena interned at the Mexican Embassy in Washington, D.C., and at an international development organization in Cameroon called Breaking Ground.

History

Initial Launch

Led by the Urban Libraries Council, the Edge Initiative was developed by a national coalition of leading library and local government organizations and funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Since 2011, the Edge Coalition has worked hand-in-hand to create this professional tool and ensure its value for all libraries and communities.

The Edge Coalition includes:

  • The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
  • The American Library Association
  • Public Library Association
  • Information School at the University of Washington
  • California State Library
  • Oklahoma Department of Libraries
  • Texas State Library and Archives
  • TechSoup Global
  • WebJunctionLyrasis
  • The Information Policy & Access Center
  • ICMA

Edge 1.0

Launched publicly in 2014, the first generation of Edge focused on public access technology and the activities carried out by the library that support community priorities related to public access technology. Over 2,600 libraries across the U.S. and Canada used Edge 1.0 to better align their resources and activities to community technology priorities.

Edge 2.0

In 2018, the Urban Libraries Council completely revised Edge to give libraries the means to better serve their communities in the face of technology’s evolving impacts on society.

Launched in March 2019, Edge 2.0 extends the technology access focus of Edge to incorporate a broader assessment of the library’s efforts related to digital inclusion and a greater focus on outcomes. In addition to revised benchmarks, Edge 2.0 introduced an all-new online platform for subscribers, as well as new toolkits, resources and learning opportunities.