Thursday, October 14, 2010

Public Libraries and E-Government

   Public libraries provide an essential link between government and citizens.  As government information services and resources become digital—in many cases, digital only—public libraries serve as critical community gateways to electronic government, also known as E-government which can be defined as:   the use of technology,
predominantly the Internet, as a means to deliver government services to citizens, businesses, and other entities.
   Libraries provide technology access by offering free access to computers, high speed internet access and wi-fi.
   Libraries also help with digital literacy by offering computer and internet use instruction.
   Public library staff have the expertise that can help people understand government and government services. 
   Staff also help people find and use government information, websites and services, as well as helping people complete forms, such as emergency benefits, unemployment and other online forms.
   With these services are challenges too.  Computers, high speed access, and wi-fi cost money.  Time limits must be placed on computer use by the public to allow everyone a turn.
   Staff is needed to assist users who have no computer experience and that staff must be trained and paid. 
  In spite of challenges, libraries are working to meet their community’s
e-government needs.  Working with funding agencies, other social service agencies and the public, libraries will be even more successful in providing
e-government services.