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Community resource kits available at Ashland library Aug. 14

Beginning Aug. 14, the Ashland library will offer community resource kits to guide adults and youth in need toward fundamental services.

Each kit will include information about crisis support, food assistance, financial assistance, health and wellness, addiction services, transportation, employment, legal services, library services and age-specific services, such as resources for homeless youth and seniors.

The kits include information on easily accessible services for people living in Ashland and Talent, said Ellie Anderson, head of adult services for the Ashland library.

Crisis support resources cover sexual assault response, emergency housing and mental health services. Those seeking financial assistance will find resources to help navigate small business loans or pay utility bills, Anderson said. Information about the Maslow Project, which serves homeless youth and their families, will also be included.

Ashland library staff plan to compile 25 kits in English and 15 kits in Spanish, which will replicate English language kits as closely as possible, Anderson said.

Library staff catalyzed the idea to offer organized materials in a kit that people can pick up, after watching community resource fliers accumulate in the adult services and reference section of the library over time, she said.

“Often when somebody has one need like that, they also have others,” she said. “We know that not everybody is going to need all of those resources, but there are often overlapping needs, and it doesn’t hurt to have them on hand or be able to pass it along to somebody else.”

Some organizations contributing information to the kits include Options for Helping Residents of Ashland, La Clinica, Ashland Senior Center, Southern Oregon Head Start and Jackson County Library Services.

Ongoing, informal partnerships with local agencies are an essential part of fulfilling the library’s community purpose, Anderson said.

“What’s very intrinsic to what libraries are about is that everyone is welcome and there’s something at the library for everybody,” she said. “We connect people with books and that kind of information, but we think about information really broadly in terms of connecting people with whatever their need is.”

Community resource kits complement the Jackson County Library Services social worker position, which focuses on building long-term connections and understanding in depth what community resources are available, Anderson said.

Information and resources may also be found at jcls.org/services/social-services.