As unemployment increases, and as the government moves from paper to online forms in general, librarians are seeing the number of public computer users increase exponentially. With that increase comes increased demands on staff to provide one-on-one assistance for those who must complete the forms.
Some patrons have computer skills and simply need help relative to information required to complete the forms. Others have only basic computer skills - possibly from doing email only - and need additional computer training as well as help with supplying the required information. MANY, however, have virtually no computer skills and don't have time to learn even basic skills before completing the online forms which will help them get through tough times.
NTLP has scheduled Suzanne Sears, an expert on e-government resources for academic, public and school libraries, to present two all-day workshops on the topic this month. (See http://www.ntrls.org/Workshops/FY2009/e-gov.pdf )
The sad irony is the fact that the increased demands on their time and presence in the building prevent many library staff members from being able to attend those workshops.