Community Connections

Photo credit: The Source, Los Angeles Public Library

The California State Library is pleased to offer Community Connections, a Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) funding opportunity for up to ten public libraries to provide resource navigation services to patrons. The purpose of this project is to eliminate barriers that prevent people from accessing vital community resources, particularly in the areas of housing, health, nutrition, employment, and education.

This program will help libraries build staff skills and knowledge about social care resources, as well as create or join a hub of local social service organizations. Collaborations with existing service providers will be an essential element of each successful project. By expanding their capacity to provide effective social service assistance, successful awardees will build resilience and improve the health and wellbeing of their communities.

All participating libraries will:

  • Receive funds up to $60,000
  • Partner with at least two California-based organizations providing social services
  • Receive training from the California State Library
  • Engage with a cohort of library staff focused on developing skills, tools, and knowledge to best implement the project. The cohort will convene monthly to create a community of practice.

Timeline

  • Application opened: July 27, 2021
  • Deadline to apply: September 28, 2021 at 5:00 p.m.
  • Funds awarded: October, 2021
  • Project completion: June 30, 2022

Eligibility

In order for projects to be funded through LSTA, libraries must:

Requirements

All awardees will be required to:

  • Participate in monthly virtual meetings
  • Partner with at least two California-based social service organizations
  • Create a needs assessment (training will be provided)
  • Establish a location in the library that can be used for appointments, with a computer, printer, and phone
  • Collect outcomes data from participants using a survey link provided by the State Library

To Apply

Visit the online link to the Community Connections application. These documents will help you in preparing your application.

Deadline to apply 5:00 PM on Tuesday, September 28, 2021.

Project details

To conduct an effective project, each library will engage in a needs assessment during the grant period. Shared conversations will be built into the Community Connections project so that all libraries participating in the project will have the opportunity to share ideas, concerns, and solutions to challenges that occur during the course of the project. Training on partnerships, needs assessments, asset mapping, and more will be offered by the California State Library.

Funding can be used to pay for staff time specifically spent working on the Community Connections project. We encourage awardees to identify a single person to fulfill the role of the Community Resource Specialist (CRS). This individual will receive training, serve as the point person for partnerships, and staff a community resource desk. The CRS will provide community resource information and referrals for patrons to other organizations. The CRS will also develop or participate in a hub of organizations providing these resources.

Please note, in terms of staffing costs, LSTA funding can only be used to fund project-specific staff or staff time spent directly on the project. LSTA funds cannot be used to replace local funding at any time.

For further information, please contact:
Jody Thomas
Library Programs Consultant
California State Library
jody.thomas@library.ca.gov