The EDGE Community Technology Center
The EDGE opened to the public in Spring of 2002 thanks to grants provided by the Department of Education (Office of Vocational and Adult Education), The Institute of Museums and Library Services and the Jeannette Musgrave Foundation. The project is currently supported by the Springfield-Greene County Library District.
The EDGE is a 3,000 square foot Community Technology Center located in the renovated lower level of the 100-year-old Midtown Carnegie Branch Library. The facility contains a 12-computer hands-on training room adjacent to a 4-computer study/demonstration room with tables and seating, a SMARTBoard, and 4 laptops. There is also a small conference room, additional tutoring space and a reception area.
Basic computer software and Internet training for adults is the main emphasis at The EDGE. Self-paced tutorials are available for more advanced software training. Subject specific Internet classes and Workforce related courses are also available.
All sessions are free and open to the public. A printed schedule of all classes is available at any Springfield Greene County Library. Our schedule is also available online.
The mission of The EDGE Community Technology Center is to help close the digital divide by providing a dynamic, safe and inviting environment where members of the community can come to access the newest technology and/or to acquire the training and support needed to help them use information and the power of technology to improve their lives.
The EDGE fulfills the Library’s mission to provide opportunities for lifelong learning, self-improvement and self-expression and to meet the educational, informational and recreation needs of the community.
Goal 1: Continue to develop volunteer training program for instructors and classroom assistants plus expand volunteer recruitment to include interns, work-study and other community service organizations in order to develop a support mechanism for all essential functions of the EDGE project. Emphasize recruitment of bilingual volunteers to assist with our increasing number of non-English-speaking participants.
Goal 2: Insure future availability of basic computer and Internet training plus increase offsite access to EDGE training by helping to create online versions of handouts, interactive tutorials and instructional video.
Goal 3: Increase local awareness of The EDGE program plus work toward ensuring future
support by researching, identifying or contacting potential community partners, local and national corporations, local and national foundations and other possible grant sources. Present grant-writing opportunities to the Project Director and assist in the grant writing process and implementation of grant award projects as needed.
During Kimberly’s year with the EDGE the attendance number rose to over 3800. Kim was very successful in building good rapport with the EDGE clients and encouraged increased participation in both instructor-led and self-paced tutorial sessions, especially with our older population and our teens.
Kim worked on a volunteer recruitment plan and helped in the development of a new Volunteer application form. Volunteer hours increased to an average of 25 hours per month in her last six months, up from just 6 hours per month during her first 6 months.
In the spring of 2005, The EDGE saw the return of work-study students from one of the local universities. Kim worked well with these students and guided them in duties to help sustain the EDGE after her term ended.
Kim’s rapport with Hispanic participants helped The EDGE increase its number of Hipanic clients. As the University of Missouri Extension office announced that they would be discontinuing their bilingual technology workshops at the EDGE in September 2005, the library system began addressing the issue of bilingual volunteers through its newly created Diversity committee. Bilingual library staff are now working on a plan to offer established EDGE courses in Spanish some time in the future.
Over 50 class handouts and two interactive tutorials are now posted on the EDGE website. Kim assisted EDGE staff in making these handouts available in a variety of formats.
Kim has researched and presented several suggestions for both community and national partnerships and grant opportunities to the project director.
Kim helped obtain the required materials to support the Library’s application for a “Make a Difference” Scholarship grant. The application focused on The EDGE program. This grant was awarded by the University of Missouri to the Springfield Greene County Library as the library in Missouri applying the best use of technology to help its community.
Kim’s help has made it possible for The EDGE program to continue to serve the members of the community by helping them improve and expand their technology and information seeking skills. With a decrease in grant funding and the library’s budgetary constraints, the help received from VISTA is essential for the continuation and growth of the EDGE project.
Volunteer Outreach and Program Development
Goal 1. Recruit volunteers and establish an efficient volunteer system and training program.
Craig contacted various community organizations to recruit volunteers. He also succeeded in getting The EDGE approved as an off-site location with three new Universities for their Federal Work Study Programs. He submitted information to local organizations’ publications to recruit new volunteers and presented fliers at several organizations’ member meetings.
Craig helped recruit and train four regular volunteer instructors and five regular volunteer class assistants. Thirty-one classes were taught by volunteers. The EDGE has had in excess of 2700 hours of help from all volunteers.
During Craig’s year we revised, updated, and standardized curricula and handouts for all classes and made all handouts available on The EDGE website. (http://thelibrary.springfield.missouri.org/edge/techguides.cfm) Craig organized the new class schedule and worked with the volunteers on a training schedule and class instructor guidelines. (http://edge.sgcl.org).
Goal 2. Oversee trained volunteers in the maintenance of the participant and evaluation database, in the collection of follow-up surveys, and in the preparation and support of project courses and projects.
Craig assisted in modifying The EDGE database and implemented a detailed analysis reporting system to the Director for each class conducted including evaluation of attendance trends in core classes and tutorial topic use. He developed standard evaluations for each class and methods to better access the patrons’ response to curriculum and specific instructor impact.
Work-study students were trained to assist with receptionist duties, clerical support, and database data entry for registration, class participation and evaluations.
The EDGE has utilized several employees from the AARP Senior Community Service Employment program. Craig supervised and trained AARP employees working in various areas such as receptionist duties, clerical support, monitoring tutorial sessions, and data entry.
Craig oversaw the expansion of the self-help tutorial programs to include additional daytime sessions by opening of and securing staffing for a second room dedicated to tutorial sessions during these expanded sessions. 719 tutorial sessions were offered in the tutorial room.
Goal 3. Participate in grant writing and other forms of fundraising, develop media partners, and increase publicity to help ensure the success and sustainability of The EDGE.
Craig submitted articles for newsletters, created flyers for distribution at organizational meetings, and coordinated inclusion of our schedules and tutorial brochures at the Missouri Career Center.
He assisted in the development of numerous grant proposals, although no grants were awarded during his year of service.
Craig developed a comprehensive “Corporate” package that was presented to the Executive Director and the Library Board for consideration in the yearly budget process. Craig assisted in a developmental presentation made to the Library’s Board of Directors at a meeting held at The EDGE Community Technology Center.
Craig attended the “Business and Technology Expo” held in Springfield in October. It is the largest expo of its kind in southern Missouri. He was able to network with many local businesses and make initial contact for future development. All contact information received there has been submitted to the Project Director.
During the past year with Craig as a VISTA, we increased our attendance at the EDGE facility. Attendance at all classes and activities for the year was 3693.
Craig was responsible for insuring that The EDGE Community Technology Center continued to provide a much needed service to the community during his year of service as a VISTA member. He stepped forward to assist in instruction when needed and took the “Library Express” out for classes and special projects. He built a valuable pool of trained volunteers that will continue to serve. Craig stepped up in any situation to lend a hand or his expertise to solve a problem or enhance an opportunity. He worked well in supplying needed support and proposals to the Executive office and Board as warranted. The VISTA program has proven vital to The EDGE’s continued growth and success.
Goal 1: Development of a volunteer training program. Recruit and coordinate volunteers for the facility.
Goal 2: Organize participant database for generating project reports. Select and interview participants for follow-up surveys and to gather sustainability statistics for further grant prospects.
Goal 3: Format and post complete course instruction and handouts for basic courses to the EDGE web page to provide reinforcement and practice materials for EDGE participants.
During her year of service, VISTA member Krissy Sinor has enabled the Edge CTC at the Springfield-Greene County Library to build a successful technology program for both youth and adults. The curriculum has continued to evolve and now includes nearly 100 different classes. The 3,900 participants during this time have been pleased with opportunities to attend training classes and programs that teach technology and information retrieval skills based upon their particular needs, interests, and skill level.
Krissy has developed a core of reliable volunteers for the EDGE. She also helped coordinate federal work study students from a local community college, CIS and CASL students working on collaborative projects, and workers/trainers from the American Association of Retired Persons Employment training program.
Krissy has done an excellent job overseeing the maintenance of the participant database and class evaluation database. She set up procedures to train volunteers to perform data entry and helped produce written procedures for ongoing reports. She also coordinated a project that allowed local university Service Learning students to perform telephone follow-up surveys for previous EDGE participants. This information will be included in future grant proposals.
The EDGE decided against a major effort to post course instruction and handouts for basic courses to the EDGE web page. Instead, Krissy helped with the creation and fine-tuning of written handouts that supported all EDGE classes. She also trained volunteers and work-study students to help with the creation, editing, and duplication process.
The EDGE database, containing demographic and statistical information on nearly 1400 participants will prove very valuable during future grant writing and fund raising efforts. The maintenance procedures created by Krissy will insure accurate input of future records.