We’ve known for a long time that libraries are much more than shelves of books. More than 100 million Americans walk into a public library every year to use public access computers and the Internet for help with job search resources, health information, government services and homework assistance.* New research from Pew Internet & American Life Project shows that people are also connecting to their library via mobile devices and home computers to check the online catalog, reserve or renew a book , look for an event and much more.
The bottom line: access to technology through public libraries is incredibly important to American communities. This is where the Edge initiative comes in. Launched almost two years ago, the Edge initiative is an impressive coalition of libraries and government organizations working together to support improvement and investment in public technology. The organization recently launched the Edge benchmarks to help libraries evaluate their technology services for their communities.
Community, Engagement and Management
As an organization that has delivered k-college and career support to millions of library patrons, Tutor.com was pleased to see the focus on helping the community use technology to pursue educational and career opportunities. We have seen firsthand through our partnerships with hundreds of libraries the difference it makes to give patrons access to expert assistance online whether it’s an Algebra 1 tutor helping a student prepare for an important test or a career tutor helping revise a resume.
The sense of empowerment patrons have from these interactions is shown in this interview with Melissa S. who accessed math tutoring through Clinton Macomb Public Library in Michigan for almost seven years. Melissa failed a math course before she saw a flyer about free homework help at the library. She decided to give it a try and the next year she not only passed her math class, but had the highest grade.
Empowering communities by offering critical services and resources via technology will continue to improve with the dialogue and insights offered by the Edge initiative. We’re looking forward to following the organization’s progress.
Is your library planning on incorporating the Edge benchmarks into your planning cycle? Share your thoughts below or on Facebook.