Libraries launch program aimed at increasing access to community services
Libraries 'not as intimidating' as social services, says staff member
Libraries in Windsor, Essex County and Chatham-Kent are taking steps to help people get the help they need through a project called Library Hubs Meeting Community Needs.
Elaine Coventry is leading the initiative at the Windsor Public Library and said the idea is to help people know where to turn for assistance.
"We're able to in the library system engage with people on everyday basis. We already engage with people who are part of those marginalized groups that we really, really want to reach, and we do it well," she explained. "So every day, we're hearing people ask us for help in finding services."
Coventry added the initiative includes 16 steps staff can take to increase engagement with the public, from mental health guidance to trauma and recovery assistance.
"Libraries are already known as a very safe and welcoming space where community members can go, be accepted, feel welcomed, wanted and have that sense of belonging, so engagement doesn't seem as intimidating as it might in a social service setting."