Organizational Management - Libraries manage resources so that members of the community who need or want access can get it regardless of ability, skill, personal technology, or available time.
Benchmark 7: Libraries integrate public access technology into planning and policies
7.1. The library maintains technology and patron data management policies.
- The library has a hardware replacement plan with a 3-5 year refresh cycleThe refresh cycle is the length of time that passes between installations of new enterprise hardware and software. The standard hardware refresh cycle for public libraries is 3-5 years, which includes both the planning term and the refresh (installation) itself (i.e., if the refresh cycle is 3 years, the hardware should be new at the start of the 4th year). A software refresh might include upgrading to new operating systems, installing new versions of productivity software, or switching to different software products. Appears in indicator: 7.1
- The library has a software upgrade plan with a 3-5 year refresh cycle
- Practices for updating to current versions of Internet browsers, web applications, and plug-ins (e.g., Java, PDF, Flash, Shockwave, Windows Media Player) are included in a technology management planThe technology management plan includes network management policies and practices, hardware and software refresh cycles, electronic privacy policies, security protocols, maintenance schedules, and recovery protocols in the event of a catastrophic system failure.Appears in indicator: 7.1
- Practices to ensure the security of patron data, including at least clearing online sessionA session refers to the block of time during which a patron is using a public access computer or wireless network. Public access computer sessions are often time limited. Sessions are typically tracked using session management software or other log-in systems that record the number of new sessions started.Appears in indicator: 7.1, 9.3, 10.3 data from public computers and procedures for handling sensitive information, are included in a patron privacy plan
- Network security practices for timely application of updates and patchesAlso called a “fix,” a patch is code written to remedy small problems in computer software. Patches are often released to fix problems that compromise the security of networks or user data. For this reason, network security practices often provide guidelines for timely application of updates and patches.Appears in indicator: 7.1 are included in a technology management plan
- Processes for system recovery are included in a technology management plan to ensure continuity of services in the event of catastrophic technology failure
Benchmark 8: Libraries have sufficient staff with technology expertise to help patrons achieve their goals
8.1. The library provides staff with work time to engage in technology-related learning activitiesThis can include webinars, tutorials, or in-person classes that help library staff maintain technology systems. Other activities include hand-on learning with new devices, software or applications, content selection for web pages, and/or monitoring current trends in technology. Webinars offered by TechSoup for Libraries and WebJunction are good examples of technology-related learning activities, though training may be delivered by other organizations or arranged using in-house expertise.Appears in indicator: 8.1.
- All public services staffRefers to staff who, as part of their job description, have responsibilities that involve interaction with the public. If a staff member does not have a documented responsibility for engaging with the general public, but routinely interacts with public access technology users, that staff member should also be included in the reported headcount. Pages, shelvers, custodians, security guards and others whose public services duties are generally limited to directional interactions with patrons should not be included as a public services staff member. All library staff who routinely answer reference questions, assist patrons with finding information, or other more complex public services should always be included, even if they do not spend significant time “at the desk.”Appears in indicators: 8.1, 8.2, 8.3 are allowed work time to engage in technology-related learning activities such as webinars, online tutorials, or classes
- All public services staff are allowed work time for hands-on learning with new devices, software, or other technology
- All staff are provided the opportunity to attend annual training during work time from experts in the following areas:
Health & wellness
- Key staff are provided the opportunity to attend training in the creation of digital contentIn the context of the Edge Assessment, digital content generally refers to information and resources presented online, either within the library’s web space or at third-party sites linked to the library’s web space. Digital content includes both digitized resources and original online content.Appears in indicators: 2.1, 8.1 during work time
- Key staff are provided the opportunity to attend training in instructional design and techniques during work time
8.2. Library staff assigned to assist patrons are responsible for maintaining technology competenciesIn job descriptions and performance evaluations, technology competencies indicate the level and types of abilities library staff need in order to help patrons with their technology needs. Basic technology competencies for library staff would include knowledge and skills such as identifying basic computer components and functions, using email and performing Internet searches, creating files, folders, and shortcuts, and creating documents using word processing software. Depending on the library, staff technology competencies may be at a more intermediate or advanced level.Appears in indicator: 8.2.
- Job descriptions for public services staff contain technology competencies and responsibilities
- Annual evaluations for public services staff include review of technology related performance
- Annual goal setting for public services staff includes expectations for technology performance
8.3 Staff assigned to assist patrons are able to answer patrons' technology questions.
- 100% of public services staff are able to assist patrons with basic technology questionsBasic technology questions from patrons would include topics such as how to log into the public computers or connect to the library’s wireless network, how to print, how to open applications, how to set up an email account, how to save documents to an external drive, and how to locate a website on the Internet.Appears in indicator: 8.3
- 25% of public services staff in each location are able to assist patrons with intermediate technology questionsIntermediate technology questions often have to do with using certain features of standard computer programs or applications. For example, creating tables in a word processing document, inserting functions into a spreadsheet, setting up a social networking account, or resizing or cropping digital photos would be typical intermediate technology questions. Intermediate questions would also include more involved Internet searching, such as researching a health concern across multiple open and subscription electronic resources. Library staff capable of answering these types of questions would be relatively fluent using technology, have experience using most standard applications, and have significant information search and retrieval skills.Appears in indicator: 8.3
- 10% of public services staff in each location are able to assist patrons with advanced technology questionsAdvanced technology questions from patrons might include topics such as advanced formatting of documents, creating pivot tables, creating and using a blog, enhancing digital photos, converting file formats, and animating presentations. Library staff with the ability to help patrons with these types of tasks generally use advanced features on programs and applications on a regular basis and are actively engaged in keeping up with new technologies.Appears in indicator: 8.3
Benchmark 9: Libraries have sufficient devices and bandwidthThe speed at which data is transmitted or downloaded from the Internet. Generally, the available bandwidth can be found in the library’s contract with its Internet service provider. The Edge Assessment asks if libraries know the maximum available bandwidth speed or guaranteed bandwidth for each of its locations (central, branch, or mobile computer lab, if applicable) and whether they conduct speed tests that compare the maximum available and actual bandwidth speeds.Appears in indicators: 9.2, 10.1 to accommodate user demand
9.1. The library has a sufficient number of device hours available on a per capita basis.
- 3.00 - 6.00 device hours per capita
- 6.01 - 12.00 device hours per capita
- >12.00 device hours per capita
9.2. The library meets or exceeds the minimum bandwidth capacity necessary to support public user demand.
- Each public Internet user is allocated at least 128 kbps upload and 512 kbps download of network bandwidth capacity
- Each public Internet user is allocated at least 256 kbps upload and 768 kbps download of network bandwidth capacity
- Each public Internet user is allocated at least 500 kbps upload and 1 mbps download of network bandwidth capacity
9.3. The library assures adequate time for patrons to complete tasks.
- Library has session management softwareSession management software is used to reserve patron computers, implement time management of patron sessions, and manage logon/logoff operations for public access devices and wireless network. Popular session managers include PC Reservation, Cybrarian, and PC Cop.Appears in indicator: 9.3
- Library staff are empowered to extend public access sessions
- The wireless network signal extends to all public areas of the library at all locationsIn the context of the Edge Assessment, a location is a physical library site that is open to the public. Locations are also commonly known as outlets or branches, and include central libraries or main branches. Bookmobiles, library service centers or administrative buildings that are not open to the public are not considered locations for the purposes of the assessment.
- Some public access terminals are designated with extended session periods
- Internet-enabled devices with extended session periods are loaned within the library
- Internet-enabled devices are loaned for use outside the library
9.4. The library provides peripheral equipment that enables patrons to complete tasks.
- Headphones are available to loan to patrons
- Patron needs for privacy while conducting sensitive transactions are accommodated through at least one of the following:
Installing privacy screens for computer monitors
Placing computer monitors so they can't be viewed by other patrons
Installing partitions between workstations
Having public computers in private rooms
- Patrons are able to scan documents into digital formats
- Wireless-enabled printers are available for patron-owned devicesMobile devices owned by library patrons such as eReaders, iPods, tablets, or smartphones. These devices may be used in the library and/or connect to the library’s wireless network.Appears in indicators: 1.1, 1.2, 9.4
- Video conferencing equipment is available for public useIn the context of this indicator, having presentation equipment available for public use would also include equipment that is installed or primarily used in public meeting spaces.Appears in indicator: 9.4
- Presentation equipment (e.g., projector, microphone, etc.) is available for public use
- Multimedia production equipment (e.g. digital cameras, audio recorders, video cameras) is available for public use
Benchmark 10: Libraries manage their technology resources to maximize quality
10.1. The library actively manages Internet connectivityInternet connectivity is the amount of bandwidth being delivered and the connection status (connected/disconnected) at each library location. Connectivity measures include the upload speed (how fast users can upload or push data through the Internet), download speed (how quickly the user can pull data from the Internet), and ping (how long it takes for a user request to be returned). A low ping rate is preferable and indicates a more responsive connection in interactive applications, such as Skype, online games, and cloud computing. For upload and download speeds, higher rates are preferable. Appears in indicator:10.1.
- The library knows the maximum available bandwidthThe Edge Assessment calls for reporting the maximum available or guaranteed bandwidth to each of its locations (central library, branch, or mobile computer lab, if applicable). The maximum available bandwidth should be listed in the library’s contract with its Internet service provider (ISP). Frequently, the maximum available bandwidth quoted by the ISP is quite different than the actual speed that is delivered. Also see Bandwidth.Appears in indicator: 10.1 speed available at each location
- Speed tests are performed on public computers to compare advertised and actual bandwidth speed
- Alerts about connectivity problems are received in real time
- Connectivity (up/down/ping) is continuously monitored at the network level for all locations
- Network trafficNetwork traffic (or activity) is a term used to describe how much, what type, and how fast data is being transmitted through a broadband network. Monitoring network traffic involves keeping track of fluctuations in bandwidth demand and delivery, measuring the gross volume of data flowing in and out of the network, and tracking the types of data that are being uploaded and downloaded. Similar to how circulation statistics for physical materials are used, libraries may use network traffic information to develop policies for prioritizing certain packet types, to support the need to increase available bandwidth, and to show the extent of network use for advocacy purposes.Appears in indicator: 10.1 is monitored by packet type and volumeAs part of actively managing Internet connectivity, a library may monitor network traffic by packet type and volume. A packet is a unit of data that is constructed in a standard format to allow the data to be carried by a computer network. Packets contain information about the data being transmitted and protocols that the computer reads to know how to reassemble the data in its intended application, for example rendering a web page. The packets also contain information to help ensure the data reaches its intended destination, such as source and destination addresses, error detection scripts, and protocol sequencing information. Monitoring network traffic by packet type allows libraries to observe what types of protocols are being transmitted by the packet, which in turn allows them to measure the types of activities network users are engaged in. For example, monitoring network HTTP packets would show how much of the library’s Internet traffic is involved with delivering video, images, or applications like Flash or Shockwave (used for generating games) and is useful for making decisions about prioritizing network traffic. Since the packets also contain source addresses, libraries can determine the websites most used by their patrons. Appears in indicator: 10.1
- Library allocates bandwidth for library staff functions and public Internet access through separate data circuits or through hardware/software mechanisms to prioritize network traffic
- Network bandwidth is shaped for quality of service
10.2. The library minimizes out-of-service devices.
- Library staff have access to a troubleshooting guide for network devices and peripherals, including call numbers and service provider information
- A lockdown software program (e.g. Deepfreeze) is installed on public computers
- The library uses a master image deployment and recovery (e.g. Clonezilla, Ghost) system for public computers
- Cold sparesLibraries that have cold spares have additional working public computer equipment (which may include desktop or laptop computers, netbooks, or mobile devices) that can be “swapped out” with downed devices, or in the event of equipment failure. Cold spares are configured for public access use, but kept powered down, or “cold,” until needed. The practice of keeping cold spares is especially helpful when IT staff is not on-site and an affected location must wait for maintenance assistance.Appears in indicator: 10.2 are available to switch out downed devices with fresh hardware within a business day
- The library has access to personnel with sufficient IT expertiseFor the purposes of the Edge Assessment, basic IT expertise for maintaining a library network and public technology systems would include the ability to troubleshoot and repair network connectivity problems, manage bandwidth, install software on computers, deploy new hardware, implement network security measures and apply patches, and perform other maintenance tasks. In a library with a more complex or extensive network, greater expertise may be required.Appears in indicator: 10.2 to maintain the library's network and public technology systems
- The library has at least one staff member located onsite with sufficient IT expertise to maintain the library's network and public technology systems
10.3. The library tracks key measures about public technology services for planning purposes.
- The following metrics are tracked on an ongoing basis:
Number of hours public devices are in use by patrons
Number of attendees in technology classes
Average wait times for public devices
Number of wireless sessions
Number of requests for one-on-one technology help
Benchmark 11: Libraries ensure participation in digital technology for people with disabilities
11.1. The library accommodates users with disabilities.
- At least one public terminal with assistive technologyAssistive technology (AT) includes assistive, adaptive, or rehabilitative technology (e.g. magnification, screen readers, sticky keys, switches, and trackballs) used by individuals with disabilities in order to perform functions with technology that might otherwise be difficult or impossible. Screen readers and magnification are typical assistive technologies that may be built into an operating system (e.g., the Microsoft Windows Accessibility Center allows the user to set screen display options), but are sometimes not enabled on public library computers. Capabilities of screen magnification software or operating system features include: setting the screen to high-contrast resolution for ease of reading, and text and display magnification. Adapted from: “What is assistive technology?” AccessIT. Accessed April 23, 2013. http://www.washington.edu/accessit/articles?109 More information can be found at: “Magnification Programs for the Computer Screen.” American Foundation for the Blind. Accessed February 24, 2012. http://www.afb.org/section.asp?SectionID=4&TopicID=31&DocumentID=1387 that enable use by the visually impaired (e.g., screen readersScreen readers are a form of assistive technology (AT) used to identify and interpret screen displays (including visible text and images with alternate text tags). The readable text is presented to the user as text-to-speech, sound icons, or through a Braille output device. Screen readers are a form of AT useful to people who are blind, visually impaired, illiterate, or learning disabled. They are often used in combination with other AT, such as screen magnifiers. Both the Windows and Mac X operating systems have light-duty screen reader applications embedded (which can be enabled on any device with standard system configuration). There are also software packages, such as JAWS or ZoomText that can be installed on desktop or laptop computers.Appears in indicator: 11.1, magnification, high contrast keyboards and displays) is available at all locations
- At least one public terminal that can be converted with assistive technology to facilitate usage by people with motor and dexterity impairments (e.g., touch screens, trackballs, switches, voice-recognition software) is available at all locations
- The library has at least one workstation in each location that can accommodate a wheelchair or mobility vehicleA workstation classified as accommodating a wheelchair or mobility vehicle should allow all visitors to a computing area to be able to: (1) get into the computing facility and navigate the lab/wireless access work area; (2) access computing information and other printed materials from a seated position; and (3) access equipment and software from a seated position.Appears in indicator: 11.1
- The library website is compliant with World Wide Web Consortium (W3C)A library web page that is compliant with W3C has been checked against the World Wide Web Consortium’s (WC3) Markup Validator (http://validator.w3.org/), and WC3 has indicated that the web page is readable in all browsers, will comply with future browser updates, and is compatible with screen reader software. WC3’s Markup Validator checks to see whether a web page is following the programming syntax and grammar rules that enable the use of assistive technology particularly for screen readers. Appears in indicator: 11.1 disability standards as evidenced by the use of an online validation service
- Specific accessibility goals are included in the strategic plan
- Staff are provided with training at least annually for recognizing and serving patrons with disabilities