Library website connects people, helpful services
Published: Wednesday, January 2, 2013 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, December 31, 2012 at 7:38 p.m.
Alachua County residents who need housing or employment assistance but don't know where to go for help have a new way to find it.
The Alachua County Library District now offers a new way for people to learn which local and state services are available to them.
It has launched a local portal for an online database program, called the Right Service at the Right Time, which directs people to agencies based on the personal information they enter into the system, said Nickie Kortus, the marketing and public relations manager for the library district.
More than 100 agencies are already listed, and interested organizations are encouraged to sign up for inclusion in the database. District staff oversee the online listing, while individual agencies are expected to maintain their personal data within the portal.
The website can direct residents to resources ranging from transportation to healthcare assistance.
"Libraries have been your resource for information since libraries started, so it's natural to bring resources together," Kortus said. Managing an online database of organizations that can help local residents is an extension of people coming in to skim through a phone book or other directory.
"It's an extension of your reference desk," she said. "It's a local resource for services."
The portal is user-friendly, particularly because it provides information written so people with modest reading abilities can easily use it and it has simple navigation for those with limited computer skills, according to Kortus.
The Orange County Library System designed the portal program, which guides people to their own answers and thus provides a measure of privacy, according to an Alachua County Library District news release.
Counties can maintain their own localized portal within the database.
Anyone can use this service, which doesn't require a library card. It can be accessed from the statewide website, www.rightservicefl.org, or through a link on the local district's eGovernment web page, www.aclib.us/eGov. The Alachua County portal is directly available at www.rightservicefl.org/alachua/servicetypes.
People can also access it at Alachua County's 12 library locations, where staff can help them.
Morgan Watkins is a Gainesville Sun staff writer.