Objective: Learn about online Government Services
Many customers need information on getting city and governmental services. This lesson will teach you how to find savvy government services online – for yourself, your family and your customers.
How to talk to customers about Government Services:
Customers may need more information on a government service, have a question about a law or policy, or want to contact an agency or elected official. The first thing you should do is identify the appropriate branch of government. Is your customer looking for local, county, state or federal agencies? Because government officials and agencies are often elected officials (and are funded by your tax dollars) they have multiple ways to contact them – and many of them have extensive resources and programs online.
We encourage you to keep politics or personal opinion out of the conversation, and keep a neutral and professional attitude when doing research. Many people are totally unaware of the government resources at their fingertips. Whether you’re helping a senior find an early voting location, or assisting an unemployed job seeker on the Texas Workforce site, you’ll be providing a vital resource to citizens, and learning more yourself, about government service.
Searching the www.sanantonio.gov site:
The City of San Antonio is not just our employer; COSA provides services like fire engines and police officers, city garbage and recycling pickup, fixes roads, and provides free cultural events.
You can either use the Search part of the website to find a specific City department, or check out this handy page linking top city services: http://sanantonio.gov/GetConnected/Services.aspx
City Mobile Apps (311, etc): http://www.sanantonio.gov/GetConnected/MobileApps.aspx
Our customers are increasingly mobile. City departments are working to provide more services available to your smart phone or mobile device, and to increase our patron’s ability to get government information on the go. In fact, did you know that Code for America is working with COSA to enhance exposure of City Services: http://codeforamerica.org/cities/sanantonio/
Mobile catalog & account: http://m.mysapl.org/search
Did you know that SAPL has a mobile site? You can bookmark it on your phone (or show patrons how to bookmark it). It makes it easy to search the catalog or view your library account, even on a small screen, by streamlining the page so it’s easier to see.
Know the Government LibGuide: Moving from Local to Federal
Maybe you are looking for services or government information outside of San Antonio. Did you know there is already a Government Resource LibGuide? It’s handy for finding Bexar County early voting sites, local city ordinances, state & federal laws, finding out more about another city data – even finding an elected official. Take a few minutes to explore the Government LibGuide.
Please name this blog entry: Lesson 10 Challenge
On the Go, On Your Blog…
Now that you’ve explored the COSA website, the City and Library mobile apps, and our SAPL Government LibGuide, go to your blog and write a paragraph about one local and one state or federal government website you explored. How do you think mobile technology will change people’s relationship to government access and services? Will having government services and elected officials “on the go” make us more (or less) democratic as a society?