Johnson and library officials announce partnership to better serve customers - Sterling Heights
JULY 10, 2013
Joint effort to highlight library services and public computers as access
point for Secretary of State online services at ExpressSOS.com
STERLING HEIGHTS, Mich. – Michigan Secretary of State Ruth Johnson, joined by state and local library officials, today announced a new partnership to improve service for both library and Secretary of State customers.
"Our libraries are the heart of their communities and there is no institution better at connecting people with the information they want and need," said Johnson. "I'm so honored by the opportunity to work with them to help connect their users with our online services at ExpressSOS.com."
As part of the joint effort, called ExpressSOS CONNECT – Libraries, libraries across the state will be highlighted as points to access online Secretary of State services. The Secretary of State's office will also send out regular news updates to libraries with information their users may need, ranging from election reminders to changes in election or driving laws, traffic safety tips and information about how to access Secretary of State services.
"We value the opportunity to work with the Secretary of State in facilitating this great partnership with libraries statewide," said State Librarian Nancy Robertson. "Libraries are essential community hubs for so much in today's busy world, including connectivity and online information resources. It makes sense to encourage Michigan residents to connect to ExpressSOS.com via their local libraries."
At ExpressSOS.com, online users can renew their tabs, change their address, order copies of vehicle registration records and even sign up to be an organ donor on Michigan's Organ Donor Registry.
Providing free Internet access has become a core service for local libraries. For those without home computers – about 20 percent of Michigan homes according to one federal study – libraries have proven to be a valuable local resource and tend to be more easily available to those without reliable transportation.
According to the Michigan Public Libraries Data Digest, Michiganians made 56 million visits to their local libraries last year. About 13 million people used public computers in Michigan libraries last year to do everything from search for a job to plan a vacation or shop.
At the Sterling Heights Public Library, where Wednesday's announcement was made, more than 352,000 people visited the library in the last fiscal year with almost 64,000 patrons using their computers for more than 60,000 hours of usage. Library director Tammy Turgeon called the partnership a good fit. "Our library is definitely a busy hub for this community," she said. "A partnership with the Secretary of State's office can only bring more value to the service we offer our patrons and that's a big plus."
The joint project is supported by the Michigan Library Cooperative organization, the Library of Michigan, Michigan eLibrary and the Michigan Library Association. Participation is voluntary, but many libraries have indicated an interest in being part of the network. Libraries that participate will have table tents highlighting ExpressSOS.com near their public computers and a door cling that identifies them as an access point.
Going online to ExpressSOS.com will save customers time and the trip to a local branch office, Johnson said. "Libraries are open late at night and on weekends, so their users can access critical online services," she added. "We're hoping as many people as possible consider going online at ExpressSOS.com, instead of waiting in line."
For more information about branch office locations, hours and services, visit www.michigan.gov/sos. Sign up for the official Secretary of State Twitter feed at www.twitter.com/michsos and Facebook updates at www.facebook.com/michigansos.
Customers also may call the Department of State Information Center to speak to a customer service representative at 888-SOS-MICH (767-6424).
For media questions, please call Gisgie Dávila Gendreau at 517-373-2520.