Public Library Partnership To Create Social Services Hub

The Windsor Public Library, together with partners Essex and Guelph, have been awarded $200,000 from the Ontario Libraries Capacity Fund, to develop a community hub of social services for those experiencing homelessness or living in poverty.

The Library Hubs Meeting Community Needs (LHMCN) Project, will create tools which will be shared with library systems across the province. They will focus on encouraging the development of new ways to engage with and meet the changing needs of Ontarians. By partnering together to create community hubs, shared audiences will be recognized and opportunities for innovative delivery of services identified.

“Public libraries are important community centres,” says WPL Board Chair, Dr. Peter Frise. “This funding announcement will provide the opportunity for us to research, evaluate and document available services and create an electronic toolkit to assist other library systems. What is equally important is the development of a partnership with the Essex County and Guelph libraries. We are honoured to be pioneering this work and then sharing it with all of Ontario.”

Specific outcomes for the project are:

  • New service delivery models for high-needs populations;
  • Create formal partnerships within the community to broaden service;
  • Produce an electronic toolkit to provide staff training and implementation plans;
  • Legal assistance, housing resources, health services and form completion.

“The current system serving these high-risk populations is funded by many different organizations and agencies and is very difficult to comprehend and navigate,” says WLP CEO Kitty Pope. “The LHMCN is an opportunity to streamline the process, eliminate some of the confusion, and make it easier to find the information and services required. It allows us to demonstrate in a meaningful way that public libraries are the preeminent societal information resource.”

By combining multiple programs under one roof, the system becomes more user-friendly for individuals in need, the cost to deliver services decreases, and new service users are engaged in literacy and information sharing tools.

By partnering with the Essex County Library and Guelph Public Library, LHMCN will design service delivery models that work in both urban and rural settings, for the visible and hidden homeless populations.

The project will begin this summer and run through the end of 2017.

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