Indian Prairie Public Library is a valuable part of the community and is considered a technology leader by the 42,000 community members served by the library.
When Edge became available to them in 2014, the library jumped at the opportunity to use Edge to help align their technology services to the needs of the community. Director Jamie Bukovac admits that “we didn’t do this because we felt we needed to improve, but we saw it as another tool to continue to learn about technology and grow.”
The community sees the library as the institution to lead and respond to citizens’ technology needs. Through Edge, the library identified some foundational items that needed attention in order to support technology at the appropriate level and remain a pillar in the community.
Since completing the Edge Assessment, the library initiated annual usage reviews of computers, laptops, and wifi. They also regularly perform speed tests and prioritize network traffic to optimize, improve, and increase usable bandwidth.
“We’ve been very driven to increase technology and increase devices available,” said Bukovac. This is directly associated with Benchmark 9, which assesses whether libraries have sufficient devices and bandwidth to accommodate user demand.
In addition, Indian Prairie’s Edge results pushed the library to perform a content inventory of the library website. This process provided an opportunity for the library to better understand their website content and establish staff responsibility for each page. Finally, the information Edge provided helped them develop a new website to better serve the community.
According to Bukovac, using Edge also provided reinforcement to the staff, director, and trustees that the library was on the right path.
“Edge tells us we’re going in the right direction and helps us to understand that all these efforts are what we should be doing,” she said.
Every three years, Indian Prairie Public Library conducts a strategic planning process. The library now includes the Edge Recommendations in their strategic plan, which drives the library’s operations, programs, and services.
“We think Edge is a great tool for strategic planning. It is a great tool to understand not just ways to improve services, but what are the best practices to make those changes,” said Bukovac. “I think it is essential for planning.”
In 2016, Indian Prairie Public Library had the opportunity to retake the Edge Assessment, thanks to a statewide subscription provided by the Illinois State Library. This allowed the library to quantify the improvements they’ve made in the two years since their first Assessment, which led to better community outcomes, as well as improving their library’s assessment results.
“As libraries, we have limited resources and Edge was a way to validate the resources that we had devoted to the area of technology,” said Bukovac. “When you have a tool for showing you best practices, it’s great to help future planning.”
With improved technology services, a better website, reinforced technology skills for staff members, and a strong strategic plan, Indian Prairie Public Library will continue to proudly serve as a technology leader in the community.