Costs of and benefits resulting from public library e-government service provision: Findings and future directions from an exploratory study

Lauren H. Mandel, Laura I. Spears, Debra Guenther, Charles R. McClure


As the public trusts the library to provide access and support to use computers and the Internet, much of the burden of e-government service provision has shifted from government agencies to public libraries. This unfunded mandate contributes to libraries’ financial burdens in a time of radical public library funding cuts.  Public libraries need to be able to identify the precise costs of this service provision, as well as its benefits, in order to justify additional financial or other resources to support these services, especially high-speed broadband connections to facilitate access to and use of e-government services.  This paper present the findings of an exploratory study designed to identify the range of costs Indiana public libraries incur in their provision of e-government services, as well as the benefits of that service provision.  The multi-method research design employed in this study offers one possible approach by which other states might develop a comprehensive perspective, including costs, of their public libraries’ e-government service provision.


e-government; public libraries; library service costing

Full Text:



A Great Cities Initiative of the University of Illinois at Chicago University Library.

© First Monday, 1995-2020. ISSN 1396-0466.