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Support Service Navigator

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Support Service Navigator

Cedar Rapids Public Library, Iowa

Health & Wellness | 2020

Innovation Synopsis

The Support Service Navigator works with underserved patrons experiencing issues including: homelessness, health and substance abuse. The goal of the position is to build relationships to ensure access to needed resources. Additionally, this position serves as a preventative means in the need to call police due to the connections established.


One issue being addressed is establishing trusted connections with underserved patrons to ensure access to needed resources and services. Another issue this position has addressed is a proactive approach to patrons with behavior issues. Prior to this position, the library had issued many trespasses and called police to deal with behavior issues. This position has proactively intervened through the trusting connections established, leading to far fewer trespasses and calls to the police to deal with behavior issues.

Key Elements of Innovation

The library partnered with Linn County Public Health and Wilis Dady Homeless Shelter to create this contracted position and hire current Wilis Dady staff with experience and skills in working with the targeted population. This position works closely with the Public Service Department at the library to identify patrons needing support. This has been a transformational position for the library as it has addressed the root of issues experienced by patrons needing access to services and resources in a positive manner.

Achieved Outcomes

This position makes contact with 20 individuals daily — with a goal of establishing five new contacts weekly. Calls to police for behavior issues has reduced from an average of three daily calls to two weekly calls. Patrons and staff have been supportive of this position. Successes including finding housing and getting needed medical attention, along with assistance in finding employment. Staff see the value of this position and have worked collaboratively to provide access to needed resources and services.

Click here to view local media coverage of this initiative.