The Edge Initiative was launched following a collaborative process of key input and development from leading organizations across the field and valuable feedback from libraries. Libraries nationwide can now take part in this important program to strengthen their public technology services and make improvements to better serve communities.
From June through September 2013, seven state library agencies, with a total of 160 libraries, participated in the soft launch of the Edge Initiative. These participants completed the Edge assessment, participated in training, utilized the Edge Toolkit, and provided feedback to the Edge team.
The seven state library agencies that participated in the soft launch are:
- California State Library
- Connecticut State Library
- Illinois State Library
- State Library of North Carolina
- Oklahoma Department of Libraries
- Office of Commonwealth Libraries in Pennsylvania
- Texas State Library
Following this collaborative process of development, Edge was made available to public libraries nationwide in January 2014.
In 2014, there were four ways for libraries to participate in the Edge Initiative:
- Peer comparison libraries: In response to requests from library leaders for ways to compare themselves and their Edge results with peers, a select random sample of libraries was invited to access all of the tools, resources, and support provided by the Edge team. The participation of peer comparison libraries contributed to a national data set that continues to help libraries across the country compare their results to similar-sized libraries.
- Statewide launch: Seven states offered Edge to public libraries statewide. Those states were California, Connecticut, Illinois, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania and Texas. Libraries in these states received guidance and updates on participating in the Edge program through their State Library Agencies.
- Statewide Preview: State libraries in 17 other states chose to preview Edge with a limited number of libraries.
- Individual participation: Individual libraries registered to participate in Edge of their own accord.
By the end of 2017, 33% of the 9,244 public libraries in the United States had registered for Edge and 27% of the nation’s public libraries had completed the Assessment portion of the Edge Toolkit.