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Sherwood Public Library

Sherwood Public Library Uses Edge to Fill Local Digital Inclusion Gaps

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“I’m a huge fan of Edge. It is so rich with all of the facets we need to measure how our library technology is working for our patrons.”

Adrienne Doman Calkins, Library Manager

Nestled in Oregon’s Tualatin Valley just 15 miles southwest of Portland, Sherwood has grown over the last 20 years from a rural agriculture-based town into a suburban city with a thriving community infrastructure. Recently tapped as one of Oregon’s most desirable cities to live in, Sherwood sits in Washington County, the second most populous and most diverse county in Oregon.

Sherwood Public Library functions as a department of the city’s government and is a proud member of Washington County Cooperative Library Services. The library boasts a small but talented staff of 21 employees (11 full-time equivalent), many of whom live within the city limits. According to Library Manager Adrienne Doman Calkins, participating in Edge has been invaluable for empowering the library’s team to set and achieve their tech and community impact goals.

“I particularly love how Edge is so easy-to-use,” said Doman Calkins. “I know the tool is vetted and put together by professionals in the field that are at the top of the game. These people are thinking about all of the needs of patrons, and specifically about the tools needed for individuals who have really unique, specialized needs.”

Based on the recommendations from its first two Edge Assessments, the library has implemented several improvements to address barriers to equitable access. A specialized computer work station has been created to offer greater accessibility for patrons with limited vision and dexterity. In addition, the library has equipped its public internet stations with individual headphones, which has increased computer usage 15%.

Edge has also helped Sherwood Public Library launch and later expand its Library of Things to offer a wider range of resources, including arts and crafts equipment, home improvement tools and tech gadgets available for patrons to check out. Accessibility tools are also available for checkout. “Having a Library of Things for all ages is helping to level the playing field for our residents,” said Doman Calkins.

Earlier this year, the library added test proctoring services in order to a fill a local need for distance learners. Launching this month, the library’s new Ayuda Técnica Personalizada service will offer one-one-one tech help appointments in Spanish. And, looking ahead, the library is slated to get a new content creation station that will offer Adobe Creative Suite software.

Doman Calkins notes that Edge’s action planning tools are one of its most valuable benefits for her team. The library’s Edge Assessment results were used in the development of the library’s yearly goals and objectives. Doman Calkins personally keeps a running list of activities – dubbed her “project inventory” – of library initiatives being measured by Edge, ensuring the library is on track to achieve its technology priorities.

With the launch of Edge 2.0 this year, Doman Calkins appreciates that the new program has “more reporting functionality.” The ability to compare libraries in other jurisdictions by budget has helped the library focus on what key changes need to be made. These comparison features also give Doman Calkins the necessary data to clearly explain any planned changes to key stakeholders.

“I love that I can share Edge recommendations with our advisory board members,” said Doman Calkins. “Board members are really engaged and they love knowing how we’re doing compared to national averages and state averages.”

In addition to the Library Advisory Board, Doman Calkins has shared Edge Assessment results with Sherwood’s city council, the mayor and the city manager – Edge Assessment goals have been built into the library's budgetary goals for the last two fiscal years. Additionally, promoting electronic resources is a priority in the monthly column from the library in the local newspaper and the library’s newsletters (both electronic and hard-copy).

The Edge Assessment has also helped Sherwood Public Library drive change far beyond its local community. Last year, Doman Calkins worked on a team that revised Oregon’s public library standards. Doman Calkins shared that Edge served as a helpful model in that process due to its function as a “living document and interactive website,” which proved useful in revising the new state standards that were released in September 2018. Work is continuing to update the state standards annually, with goals for an interactive website similar to the Edge Assessment platform.

“With Edge, your library can stay in line with industry best practices not just in the region, but nationwide,” said Doman Calkins.

View Sherwood Public Library's Journey Map document to learn more about its recent developments and accomplishments, including its progress with Edge.

To learn more about how the library has used Edge to advance diversity, equity and inclusion, read "Figuring Out Where to Start" (OLA Quarterly, 25(2), 22-28), written by SPL Library Manager Adrienne Doman Calkins and Adult Services Librarian Crystal Garcia.