Last week, ALA’s Office for Information Technology Policy (OITP) and the Information Use, Management and Policy Institute at Florida State University hosted a meeting in Atlanta to discuss how EGovernment is affecting public libraries.
Attendees, who included federal and state government officials, academics, and librarians, shared success stories of how EGovernment implementations in public libraries. Several librarians from Florida and other gulf coast states shared stories with attendees of how librarians assisted in the disaster relief efforts from hurricanes. Services rendered in libraries include:
- Dissemination of information;
- Providing Internet connectivity to allow the public to apply for FEMA aide and connect with family members;
- Use of a mobile Wi-Fi van to allow emergency responders to connect to the Internet
- Distribution points for food and water;
- Places of rest for evacuees and emergency responders;
- A trusted place and friendly staff to allow people to share their stories with.
Aside from disasters, other uses of libraries for EGovernment include:
- A partnership between librarians and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to develop resources for librarians in order to assist their patrons in signing up for Medicare Part D;
- A place for patrons to file their taxes electronically with the IRS and state tax agencies;
- Partnerships to establish 2-1-1 services to connect people with local services using the 211 telephone number;
- Assisting patrons in filling out immigration forms online;
- Applying for federal student aide
This is just a small sample of how libraries are implementing EGovernment. As readers of the dispatch, please share your stories of EGovernment by leaving a comment.