Neighborhood Resource Center: The Library Partnership

Neighborhood Resource Center: The Library Partnership

Sol M. Hirsch (Alachua County (Florida) Library District, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61350-387-4.ch001
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The Library Partnership is a jointly operated facility that offers area residents full public library services and access to approximately thirty (30) social service agencies. The collaboration provides a unique environment for clients to receive counseling and advice from social service agencies and the resources, assistance, and services to address their needs from the public library all in one location . Clients are often referred to the library for a variety of eGovernment and other services. The presence of a public library allows potential and scheduled clients to come to the facility without the stigma often attached to entering a social service assistance center.
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What Is The Library Partnership?

The Library Partnership, a Neighborhood Resource Center is a collaboration of ACLD, the Partnership for Strong Families, Inc. (PSF), the Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF), and the Casey Family Programs. The initial project concept focused on the desire by PSF and DCF to redesign traditional approaches to foster care and, through preventative services and programs, reduce the number of children who enter foster care due to abuse or neglect. They were supported in their efforts by the Casey Family Programs through strategic consulting and grant support.

The operating expenses for this 7,100 square foot leased spaced are split 60/40 between ACLD and PSF. The renovation expense was also split by the same percentage. ACLD and PSF pay for their own staff who work at the joint facility.

The goal of The Library Partnership is to strengthen families in the service area by providing a comprehensive array of information, programs, and services so families can help themselves and get the resources they need. The focus is on the basic elements that often lead to child removal and include economic self-sufficiency, family support, child welfare, health, and safety. On site PSF staff coordinate the activities and schedules of the more than thirty (30) social service agencies that rotate through The Library Partnership.

Shared offices and meeting rooms are available for social service agency counselors to meet with clients. PSF staff perform an intake analysis for new clients, match clients to agencies, and set up initial agency appointments. PSF and participating social service agencies also present a variety of programs open to the public that are co-sponsored by ACLD and appear in the Library’s online and print program guides. Programs include spousal abuse and parenting support groups, computer training, assistance with government housing applications, interview skills, clothing and food drives/distribution, and nutrition advice,

ACLD supports the social service agencies and their clients by offering a wide range of eGovernment services and library materials/resources tailored to complement client needs. For example, this library collection has a higher percentage of parent resource, job skill, early learning, and literacy materials than our typical branch. Library and social service agency staffs meet quarterly to discuss and coordinate services, resources, and programs.

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