Thoughts on the Edge benchmarks from Colorado

Last month in Philadelphia, the Edge Coaltion had plenty of opportunities to learn what librarians and staff from libraries big and small thought about the benchmarks being created to support public access technology.

One of those opportunities included a chat with Crystal Schimpf, a Public Computer Center Trainer at the Colorado State Library. Crystal works on the impressive BTOP project sponsored by the Colorado State Library. If you haven't yet checked out their comprehensive site that chronicles their progress, captures their vision, and shares resources far and wide, stop reading this post and go here:

But I digress. Crystal attended our session on the Edge Benchmarks at PLA, and accepted our offer to share her unabridged thoughts on the benchmarks. Every so often a lucky moment presents itself when you hit "record" and a talented professional offers a no-need-to-edit moment. This was one of those times.

You can find more information about the Edge initiative at To listen to Crystal's insights, click away:


I was introduced to benchmarks back in the late 80's when my company was working toward the Malcolm Baldridge Quality Improvement Award.  This whole idea was so revolutionary. 

Being from a small public library, I don't have the time/energy or even talent to sit down and identify technology benchmarks.  I know we need them.  I know that my Village Board would be impressed that we are using them (impressed or afraid?).  So, thanks to those who did the work for all of us. 

I am going to take the plunge and report to my Library board that we will begin this process.  Just the other day I had a discussion with my assistant about how much time we spend giving one on one lessons for basic technology to patrons.  It takes so much of our time.  As soon as I said that aloud, I knew we had to make a true committment to those patrons and redo our workflow and schedules in order to do this correctly.  We have already scheduled a three part class where we will teach folks how to write their own resume and cover letter.  But first we will have to spend time teaching them how to use the computer programs.  It's no longer good enough to just type their resume for them (practically). We have to teach them how to fish.  So, I am in.  I am ready. 

Diana @