Systematic library assessment is on the move. The Edge Initiative shows US entrepreneurship at its best.
The initiative was launched in 2011 by a coalition of library and local government organizations, including The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
The goal is to develop a suite of tools that support continuous improvement and reinvestment in public technology. Thia approach was probably inspired by the Gates Foundation, which has always emphasized evidence-based planning and assessment.
Edge is developing a rating system comprised of benchmarks and indicators designed to work as an assessment tool – will help library staff understand best practices in public access technology services for their communities and determine what steps they need to take to improve their technology services.
The whole system looks very well designed: balanced, clear and comprehensive. The instrument has been developed for a US context, but the basic approach could well be a model for similar initiatives in other countries.