Ready Now: Supporting Youth and Families During Crisis

The University of Maryland (UMD), in partnership with the Chief Officers of State Library Agencies (COSLA) and the Association of Rural and Small Libraries (ARSL), aims to broaden and improve the efficacy of the Library Staff as Public Servants: A Field Guide for Preparing to Support Communities in Crisis. The Field Guide’s purpose is to prepare public library staff to support historically marginalized youth and families during current and future crises (such as pandemic, hurricane, water supply, energy, wildfire, etc.) and/or the consequences of such crises (gaps in fundamental literacy, limited access to information, disparities in learning opportunities, etc.).

This project leverages the project team’s recent participatory design (PD) work that focused on public library crisis related practices and identified a set of tasks deemed essential (hereafter “Essential Tasks”) in the Field Guide to serve historically marginalized youth and families before, during, and after crises (hereafter “Crisis Times”), including communities at all phases of crisis from those who are currently facing the consequences of past crises to those who are moving forward after crises but need to be ready for what may come next. While the Field Guide serves as an all-in-one guide and a proof-of-concept for preparing public library staff to serve communities during crises, we learned that staff need support to execute and customize the Essential Tasks for local communities and neighborhoods.

This project has the following goals: Goal 1 – To support the implementation of the Essential Tasks in diverse communities in which youth and families are facing Crisis Times, Goal 2 – To build a repository of examples for each of the Field Guide’s Essential Tasks, and Goal 3 – To establish and build a mentoring community of practice (CoP) of library staff working with youth and families to enhance staff skills in support of serving local communities in Crisis Times.

6/11/23 - 6/10/25

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Partnering Organization(s):
Chief Officers of State Library Agencies (COSLA); Association of Rural and Small Libraries (ARSL)

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