When Moreno Valley Public Library first used Edge in 2014, Ivorie Franks was a new director seeking tangible data about the library’s technology and services. After submitting its first Edge Assessment, the library officially created a baseline for continuous improvements.
Franks shared what she learned from using Edge with local government leaders, resulting in a broadened relationship between the library and the city. This led to a joint effort to survey the community about the library’s programs and services.
“The survey results were shared with the city government, city council and city management team. The community was very vocal about the importance of the library and felt they were being underserved,” she said. “The city decided to work more closely with the library and better incorporate its work into the city’s new strategic plan, making the library a top priority of the city for the next five years.”
The city also awarded the library with an additional $200,000 in funding, which is to be used towards the improvements identified by Edge.
“When reviewing information made available by Edge, the city was able to specify needs at the library including technology and staff. Edge allowed the library to work with the city IT department without making them feel their work was being evaluated,” said Franks.
Workforce and Economic Development
The community survey also identified a need for increased and improved workforce and economic development resources available at the library. Library staff identified searching for jobs, submitting resumes to employers and writing cover letters as the top information needs of local residents.
“The first step to providing technology based career resources to our library patrons was to look at our technology infrastructure, which we were able to do through the California State Library’s support of Edge,” said Franks. “Edge required me to look closely at the databases we offered to determine if they adequately served the community. As a result, they have now been replaced with more user friendly options.”
City staff worked with library staff to provide career training in the computer lab, support online resources and offer classes facilitated by library staff and community partners.
The library partners with the Moreno Valley Employment Resource Center, a one-stop job resource center operated in partnership with the City of Moreno Valley and the Riverside County Workforce Development Center.
“The goal is to provide access to technology, training and resume assistance to improve job skills for people in the community. We’ve created a partnership where we both promote what the other is doing in terms of workforce development,” she said. “They share information about library services, our computer lab, free Wi-Fi and our many other services and visit the library at least once a quarter to present on the programs and services they offer.”
The library offers training on Microsoft Office in addition to basic computer classes that cover tasks such as attaching files to an email or drafting a letter. It also develops and implements quarterly digital literacy workshops with instructors from local colleges and other nonprofit organizations.
As a result of using Edge, the city is more aware about the technology and services offered at the library, which opened the door to other community groups approaching the library to create new partnerships.
“There are many service groups that reach out and ask me to present about the library. Whether it’s the Chamber of Commerce or the Rotary Club, it is eye-opening for these groups to learn that the library is much more than just a place people check out books,” she said. “We even partnered with Moreno Valley College, resulting in computer prep classes, financial aid classes and additional resources for people seeking employment.”
According to Franks, many local community organizations apply for grants, then ask the library to partner with them to support their work on a variety of issues.
“We worked with Community Action Partnership of Riverside County to train volunteers on tax law and provide free tax preparation utilizing the library’s technology. We also partnered with the Riverside County Black Chamber of Commerce to do work around health education and used it as an opportunity to help patrons sign up for health care using computers at the library.”
With an improved relationship with the city and a growing number of partners throughout the community, Moreno Valley Public Library continues to prove that the library is about much more than just books.
“The city is very supportive of the library’s work. They were initially concerned about budgeting and funding, but now they see the high level of services and technology we offer to support our community,” said Franks. “After using Edge, we had concrete data that showed the value of the library to the community. We are now recognized as a gateway for sharing information with people, which draws more organizations wanting to partner with us. Everyone now realizes that the library’s role is connecting patrons to services available in the community.”