Partnership With The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS)

By Nicole Bishop, IVMF

AmericaServes Western is proud to report the success of its collaboration with the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). The goal of this collaboration was to re-energize Asheville’s libraries and provide an easily accessible location for veterans and military families to receive services.  The partnership has utilized Pack Memorial Library’s position in the community as a learning and connection hub, while also enabling it to act as a value-add provider—thus creating a valuable resource to both the community and veterans.

Why libraries?

One of the biggest challenges veterans face upon transition is navigating the vast and often confusing array of services, resources, and care options. AmericaServes coordination centers quickly and efficiently connect veterans to the appropriate care provider while libraries offer a high-traffic and easily accessible location for veterans and military families to access these benefits.

The concept has already proven effective. In October 2017, NCServes Western placed its first kiosk at the Pack Memorial Library in Asheville, North Carolina, allowing veterans and military families to fill out an assistance request, which is then sent to the local coordination center to be processed and resolved. To date, the single kiosk has processed over 50 requests. NCServes Western plans to implement a kiosk at the Jackson County Library at the end of August 2018.

NCServes has also begun holding meetings and strategy sessions at local libraries, as well as community programs that have attracted public interest in addition to military audiences.

“There is a need that AmericaServes is filling and that is the whole point of a library,” says Natalie LoRusso a reference and user experience librarian at Syracuse University. “Public libraries are considered a third, safe space other than work or home where one can spend time.”

NCServes plans to implement three more kiosks throughout the western counties by the end of 2018 . NCServes Western is also working to bring veteran authors in for book reading and signing events. This collaboration has increased traffic to local libraries, increased exposure and awareness of AmericaServes and solidified Pack Memorial Library’s role as a catalyst for community change.