E-Government Access

bq.In Florida, the financial support for public libraries with economic need dropped from 11 cents per dollar in the mid-1990s to 3.9 cents per dollar during the last budget year. The burden keeps shifting, but it appears there is little to no coordination among levels of government. As engaged citizens and civic leaders, it is time to acknowledge that the trend continues to point to technology for efficiencies in government and convenience for citizens – and this makes good sense. Yet when government services, educational institutions, medical programs and disaster programs rely on public libraries for support, the libraries need to be prepared to respond. Librarians are trained to provide assistance. It’s what they do. But until public libraries are recognized for the greater role they’ve been fulfilling since the advent of information technology, the wait in line or on the phone will be that much longer. – “Donna Paz Kaufman(Libraries are expected to be our e-government service)”:http://www.jacksonville.com/tu-online/stories/013107/nen_7610167.shtml We have been talking more and more about this issue in my library as we have people stopping in to get everything from “out-of-state tax forms(State Tax Forms)”:http://www.taxadmin.org/fta/link/forms.html to “credit reports(AnnualCreditReport)”:http://www.annualcreditreport.com/ to “four-hour-long traffic school courses(Florida Traffic School – Lowest Price Guaranteed)”:http://www.lowestpricetrafficschool.com/ and having no idea of how to get started and what it actually entails. The digital divide isn’t so much of an access issue (although that is still important) as a learning and skill issue.

Posted by Michael K Pate

Michael K. Pate tends to spend a great deal time of time around computers. He has been a Librarian since 1997. Michael was born in Avon Park, Florida in 1966. Except for a couple of brief periods in his life (once in Tampa and once in Winter Haven/Haines City), he has been a life-long resident. Originally, he planned on a career as a Computer Programmer and therefore graduate from Webber College with a Bachelor of Science in Computer Information Systems in 1988. However, unhappy with career opportunities at the time, he soon returned to school and received a BS in Social Science Education from the University of South Florida. He began his career in education at Avon Elementary and later Avon Park Middle working as a Computer Lab Coordinator. While technological challenges were interesting, he found himself more and more interested in becoming a Media Specialist. He began work on his MLS in 1995. However, a summer internship at the Sebring Public Library in 1996 soon made him reconsider just what his career should be. Upon graduation in 1997, he secured a position as a Media Specialist at Eastside Elementary in Haines City. Eventually, the position he was looking for opened up and he returned to SPL as Reference Librarian in 1999. In 2003, he became Assistant Director of the Highlands County Library System, serving in that role until the position was eliminated during a late round of budget cuts in 2010. Since then, he has been the Computer Support Specialist for the Heartland Library Cooperative. In 2011, he began serving on the Board of Directors of the Tampa Bay Library Consortium.