Veterans and Libraries
Programs for veterans are integral parts of library services all across the country. Unfortunately, we know from our campaigns that this fact isn't well known outside of the folks who were directly serve.
The biggest questions we get from voters who are questioning a library ballot measure comes because they are not personally familiar with what libraries and librarians do these days. If we are to become more successful in our referenda and ballot measures, library leaders need to start marketing about services and not just to folks who may need those services.
Our colleagues at Brainfuse have just released a new program, VetNow. It is focused on supporting Veterans - especially returning Vets and their families. VetNow provides career and academic assistance for returning veterans during their transition back to civilian life. In 2017, it will add some unique tools for navigating the V.A. We think it's a great program because Brainfuse uses online experts who do the work. It takes the burden off the library staff while making your library the conduit for a whole range of advising and assistance to Vets.
In some towns, the number of Vets who could use the service directly could be relatively small. When marketing a service like this to potential users, we'd recommend talking with local chapters of the VFW and American Legion, or notifying clergy and counseling centers about a new high-impact program for returning Vets. But we're also interested in seeing our libraries market to folks who are not military themselves about how their library supports their neighbors who served. It's not a heart-strings story (though as Vets find what they need, you should retell those stories). If VetNow and other Veterans library programs helping people find work, continue their education, and chart their life-course, it's compelling story that non-users want to know. It's a story about how we care for our own - especially those who made sacrifices to serve our country.
Brainfuse is a sponsor and a donor of ours. We're highlighting VetNow intentionally because it is a great program with a high-value for the Vets who use it. On this Veterans Day, EveryLibrary wants to encourage all our library communities to be seen doing what they always do for Vets - the maximum.