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Durham County Library

Edge Helps Durham County Library Meet the Needs of Customers with Motor and Dexterity Impairments

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Location: Durham, North Carolina

Peer Group: #7 - Pop > 300,000

Director: Tammy Baggett

Key Outcome Areas: Funding Opportunities, Resource Availability and Accessibility, Strategic Planning

"We received an Edge Technology grant from the State Library of North Carolina to purchase adaptive computer equipment for customers with motor and dexterity impairments. This was a direct result of completing the Assessment and creating an action plan with the tools in Edge."

Katherine Makens (Resources and Finance Officer) and Matthew Clobridge (Technology Management Administrator)

Durham County Library serves a large population in and around the City of Durham, located in North Carolina's Research Triangle. Having completed five Edge Assessments, DCL has a deep understanding of the importance of reassessment and continuous engagement to maximizing the library's impact with Edge. The Edge team sat down with DCL Resources and Finance Officer Katherine Makens and Technology Management Administrator Matthew Clobridge to talk about the library's current challenges and successes as a digital inclusion leader, and how Edge helps the library maximize that role. Read their responses below.

Please describe your community’s culture, population size and current challenges.

Durham County has a population of just over 300,000. County residents include a diverse mix of colors and cultures, with the City of Durham as the urban center. There has been a huge influx of new residents and investment in the area. This has come with the problems of gentrification: a housing shortage, displacement of lower income families and greater wealth inequality.

What key outcomes and milestones has your library achieved using Edge?

We have expanded our adaptive technology for customers who lack fine motor skills. Customers enjoy much better wireless connectivity. We have rolled out mobile hot spot lending to the community. Technology outreach has also improved.

How has the library used Edge to engage local government and community leaders?

We have used peer comparison statistics from the Edge Assessment to advocate for funding greater internet bandwidth for the public. We regularly use information from Edge to discuss the state of Durham County Library’s technology with our advisory board of trustees and the Library Technology Committee.

Has Edge helped your library receive additional funding or resources? Please explain.

Yes. We received an Edge Technology grant from the State Library of North Carolina to purchase adaptive computer equipment for customers with motor and dexterity impairments. This was a direct result of completing the Assessment and creating an action plan with the tools in Edge. We have used statistics from Edge to help justify meeting certain internet bandwidth benchmarks in all of our locations.

How has Edge helped your library strengthen its strategic planning and staff development?

Some of the measurable outcomes within our 2019-22 strategic plan will come from Edge. In addition, the Library Technology Committee used Edge Assessment results in 2017 to assist in creating our technology strategic plan. The Assessment identified the need for technology lending in the form of mobile hot spots, which were rolled out to all locations by May 2019.