National 2016 Conference, 29 August-2 September 2016 Adelaide: Engage Create Lead.
This conference presentation supports a report prepared by the eGov Ready Project Team that emerged as part of the State Library of Vicoria and Public Libraries Victoria Network 2015 Shared Leadership Program. The conference paper discusses how public library staff are reporting increasing demand to help patrons navigate and find online resources relating to eGovernment. Framing this is the federal policy for all high volume government services to be online by 2017, and 80% of all government service interactions to be through digital channels by 2020.
This presentation showcases a diagnostic toolkit to enable public libraries to assess their eGov readiness, which was produced as part of an action learning project sponsored by the State Library of Victoria and Public Libraries Victoria Network’s Shared Leadership Program, with the assistance of Cube Group, offers public libraries a practical and scalable means for evaluating their capacity to provide support, resources and training.
The evidence base underpinning this project draws from the ALIA and Australian Public Library Alliance proposed report, The impact of eGovernment on Australian public libraries (2015). The questions posed in this document were used to develop online surveys for Victorian public library management and staff to evaluate the impact of eGov on:
- Staff time and skills
- Programming and partnerships.
While public libraries are well-equipped and accessible places for eGovernment community access and education, data gathered from over 300 frontline staff shows that despite the fact that over the past 3 years, more than 90% of respondents reported having to spend more time on enabling patron discovery and interactivity with government information, forms, data and records, less than 10% believed that they were adequately prepared and trained for providing effective eGovernment information services.
How do we ensure we understand the broader environment in which we operate and how do we connect with it?
Australian public libraries are valued community hubs, and the largest providers of free internet and Wi-Fi services. The continued rollout of eGovernment will only increase demand on the sector to provide eGov support services to our communities. It is thus imperative that public library services actively seek out ways to effectively engage with our communities in this socio-political agenda. Our eGov Ready Libraries Toolkit offers public libraries a ‘traffic light’ rated diagnostic tool, the results of which link directly to practical ideas for suggested areas of improvement across all platforms: ICT, programs, partnerships, community engagement and staff development.