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.