Since 2012, the Library Services and Technology Act has provided funding in support of the Veterans Connect @ the Library Project through the California State Library system.
Last week, the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors approved a letter of commitment to participate in the program through the Fontana Lewis Library and Technology Center for the period of February 14, 2018 through completion of the grant.
The program is designed to help reintegrate California veterans into the workforce and provide them with the quality of life of other Americans. The grant funding helps library systems establish a resource point for the local veteran community and provides reimbursement to the jurisdiction (in this case San Bernardino County) who agrees to offer this service.
According to County Librarian Michael Jimenez, not only does the grant support efforts to provide veterans benefits and local service information to veterans and their families, it provides several other types of veteran assistance.
Additional benefits include links to other local organizations serving veterans, especially local County Service Offices, CalVet and the Federal VA; increases the number of registered veterans in the CalVet Reintegration system through use of myCalVet; increases California veteran benefit claims; and results in the increased use of libraries by veterans and their families.
Jimenez shared that the Lewis Library and Technology Center will convert part of an existing service desk and surrounding area into a Veterans Resource Center, which will be open to veterans during the regular operating hours of the library and managed by library staff with volunteer support.
The Veterans Resource Center within the Lewis Library will house a collection of veteran’s resource materials available for the public to check out, as well as materials from a variety of local veterans’ agencies. The center will also offer quarterly programming tailored for veterans to further aid in connecting them to local services.
During the second year of the grant program, according to Jimenez, additional funds are provided to the library for the sustainability of the program and ongoing training.