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The burden e-gov puts on libraries

James Jacobs commented on the post I published on e-government. He said:

"Evidently (and I haven’t checked on this so this is purely an anecdote!), libraries are beginning to be seen as e-govt resources. Good you say, but the worry comes in when librarians are more and more expected to help their patrons fill out the govt forms that they’ve downloaded from library public computers. In other words, librarians are being seen as defacto public information officers."

From the discussion on this subject that I had in one of my classes, I think what James is saying is true. I’m not a public librarian, so I am basing this opinion off of what I heard my class. My professor, Paul Jaeger, co-wrote an article in Library Journal last year on this subject. He and his co-authors took a poll of librarians to investigate the growing reliance on libraries as an e-gov source. From the article:

"So, as libraries become valuable community access points to e-government services and resources, especially in post-hurricane emergency relief, their efforts as agents of e-government represent an unfunded mandate. The library community must respond with better training and education. However, government agencies that both fund libraries and rely on them for their public access computing and Internet access also must provide greater support." (Bertot 35)

Here is the citation for the article: Bertot, John Carlo, et al. "Drafted: I Want You to Deliver E-Government." Library Journal 131.14 (15 Aug. 2006): pp.34-39.

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