For immediate release: February 13, 2019
Contact: Maura Browning, Communications Director, (573) 526-0949
Missouri State Library is First in U.S. to Offer Revamped “Edge”, Providing Assessment and Planning Tool to Libraries
Jefferson City, Mo. — Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft announced today that the Missouri State Library, a division of his office, is the first in the country to offer statewide access to a revamped, second version library assessment and planning tool called Edge.
“We’re excited to offer this valuable tool to libraries throughout Missouri,” Ashcroft said. “By helping libraries assess and improve their technology access and services, we can provide a direct improvement in quality of life for those communities. As technology services improve and become more available to our communities, workforce development and lifelong learning can see a similar expansion.”
Edge is a nationally recognized tool that helps libraries evaluate their technology services based on a set of national technology benchmarks, giving them resources, recommendations and ideas for strategic planning and community engagement.
The State Library based its decision to go statewide with the resource on the success of pilot programs. From October 2016 to September 2018, 16 Missouri public libraries participated in Edge, which allowed the libraries to strengthen and improve their technology systems by measurable strides over their year of participation. Of the 16 libraries, 11 received internet bandwidth upgrades through the Remote Electronic Access to Libraries (REAL) program.
“This provides a real-life example of how funding through the REAL program can improve communities and open up technology to libraries,” Ashcroft said.
The State Library awarded 13 grants to nine of the participating libraries to make technology improvements that they identified through Edge’s assessment process.
Three Missouri libraries that participated in the pilot program were recognized nationally for making exceptional use of the program — Barton County Library, Caruthersville Public Library and Morgan County Library — and are profiled on the national Edge website.
Edge was created in 2013 by a coalition of leading library and community organizations, and then later updated in 2018. By the end of 2017, 33 percent of public libraries in the U.S. had registered for Edge and 27 percent had completed the assessment offered by Edge. Federal Library Services and Technology Act funds will be used to support this project.
The State Library promotes the development and improvement of library services throughout the state. To learn more visit sos.mo.gov/library.
Visit www.sos.mo.gov to learn more about the Office of the Missouri Secretary of State.