connectHERE: Community Resource Referrals
Mid-Continent Public Library
Offered in partnership with the Jackson County Health Department (JACOHD), connectHERE is a community resource referral program that Mid-Continent Public Library has piloted at two of its branches to connect customers to critical resources, including food, housing and transportation. Customers utilize in-branch kiosks and are contacted by JACOHD.
The Jackson County Health Department identified the need to better support Eastern Jackson County residents, particularly in two pilot communities, with social and health services in a way that minimizes barriers to service in the current safety net system. As part of their efforts, they engaged the library as a community space that is ideally positioned to reach all residents.
MCPL’s Grandview and Buckner Branches have kiosks with surveys based on an American Academy of Family Physicians health screening tool, which covers housing, food, transportation, utilities, childcare, employment, education, finances and personal safety. JACOHD staff follow up with survey participants within five business days, and referral organizations follow up as well. Handouts with resource information are also available at the branches for those who don’t wish to take the survey.
The goal is to reach 250 residents of Grandview and 60 in Buckner by 2022, and for 50% of survey participants to be successfully connected to a referral resource. In addition to survey participant numbers, library staff have received positive feedback about the service, including a tearful thank you from a customer for the resource handout alone. Based on the pilot program, JACOHD and MCPL may expand the program to more locations.