Monday, September 15, 2014
Public libraries and e-government: US experience for Kyrgyzstan
In our class reading materials for Digital Government, authors are discussing the role of US public libraries as effective providers of e-government. Community members trust to public libraries, so they provide them public Internet access and fit their all information needs. In other hand, governmental agencies also trust to public libraries, so they direct visitors to go to public libraries where they can find online materials and librarians can help in searching and finding the proper information on governmental websites. Hereby, public libraries become a default social access point for e-government by providing access and assistance citizens.
There are 2 main reasons how public libraries become a social source and center for e-government. First, public libraries in the US started provide free access to Internet since 1990th. Second, the role of librarians is very important because they can help to find visitors governmental information and serve as a bridge between communities and government structures. Therefore, public libraries could cover wider information needs, not limited just by providing an access to technologies and Internet. Nowadays, governments are reducing interaction with citizens and switching to online services. However, there are some challenges that people feel difficulties in using or searching information online, or some of them have no access to Internet. In this case public libraries can provide an equal access to e-government sources for all vulnerable groups. Librarians become experts on e-government.
Activities of public libraries funded by federal and state budgets, and private funds and aimed provide public information services. Using e-government website visitors can get such important services as voter registration, motor vehicle services, tax payments, school enrollment for children in their community libraries. US public libraries plays important role in the life of their communities and it is a place to learn, use and access to information, including governmental and educational. It is important to build a financial and organizational capacity of public libraries as key actors for increasing of computer literacy of citizens and implementation of e-government initiatives.