“All governments--City, County, State, and Federal--disseminate information to the public through the public libraries, and have been doing so for as long as I can remember. It's a crucial role libraries play in keeping our Citizens informed about the programs and services of our governments,” Thompson said.
“I expect this new informational outreach is similar to what we've seen in the past, only larger, and I anticipate our level of participation will be the same as it has been up to now.”Thompson said this in an email exchange with District 5 County Commissioner Andy Anderson, after the question was raised by Brevard Times.
Anderson has asked to “review the plan for dissemination and materials. I may need to discuss with board if the information is accurate or just political propaganda.
“In addition - the Board of County Commissioners should decide - not the National Library Association - they were not elected to represent Brevard residents.
County Manager Howard Tipton and County Commissioners Chuck Nelson, Mary Bolin, and Robin Fisher did not respond to media requests regarding this story. Commissioner Trudi Infantini responded that she was not aware of this issue.
According to its website, the ALA said “At the 2013 ALA Annual Conference, the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) announced a collaboration with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), and WebJunction, a program of OCLC, to assure that librarians have the information and connections with local experts needed to connect their patrons to information about the Health Insurance Marketplace when open enrollment begins October 1, 2013.”
Thompson also said, “The public library constantly receives printed information from a variety of U. S. Government departments: IRS, Health, Armed Forces, Veteran's Affairs, etc. These materials contain practical information, oriented towards helping Citizens use or access a particular government service. When Citizens ask us about government services, we attempt to guide them to the right agency--but we don't advise them on what to do.”
Also at the 2013 ALA Annual Conference, the ALA Washington Office presented a panel presentation, “Libraries and Health Insurance: Preparing for Oct 1,” with representatives from IMLS, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, OCLC WebJunction, and the National Network of Libraries of Medicine (NN/LM), to present plans for making resources broadly available. The session was recorded; information on availability will be announced through the Washington Office’s District Dispatch.
According to media reports in www.foxnews.com, “up to 17,000 U.S. libraries will be part of the effort to spread the word about the health care law while giving the public access to their computers. The government-librarian team-up is one of a number of partnerships -- some more controversial than others -- that the administration is trying to build in order to promote the law ahead of an Oct. 1 kick-off. “
Julie Bataille, spokeswoman for the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said, “Libraries are a tremendous resource for people in their communities. They're already a destination many individuals go to when they're seeking out information and understanding on a variety of issues."