Basic Needs and Community Information

We’ve just added a “Basic Needs” category to our Resources area. Librarians and low-income people can use the compiled links to find:

  • community services referral
  • child care
  • food assistance
  • health care
  • legal help
  • mental health care
  • substance abuse treatment
  • and more!

Does your library Web site contain information tailored to the needs of low-income people? Are you looking for examples? Try the New York Public Library’s Community Information page.

The Santa Cruz Public Libraries system has managed a Community Information Database (CID) since 1990. Some context on how it was created:

[The CID] was first developed in 1987. The database was a cooperative effort between five public agencies: Santa Cruz County Human Resources Agency, Santa Cruz County Health Services Agency, United Way, Watsonville Public Library, and the Santa Cruz City-County Library. Funding was provided through a Library Services and Construction Act grant. The goal was to develop a comprehensive database of human service resources available to people in Santa Cruz County.

Who is collecting and distributing information like this in your area? And how can your library play a part?

For potential answers to these questions, consult Information Behavior in Everyday Contexts (IBEC), a research program of The Information School at the University of Washington: