The Westchester Library System, working in partnership with Westchester Independent Living Center is pleased to make available a guide to services needed by those navigating re-entry in Westchester County. The guide – Westchester Connections – is available online at connections.westchesterlibraries.org.
Among the hurdles ex-offenders face is a lack of awareness of needed services. The challenge is as much an overabundance of information, as it is knowing who to call when the need is most critical. Westchester Connections seeks to address this need. Its key features include a simple interface, plain language, encouragement and directional content that speaks specifically to the experience and needs of ex-offenders, and an option to email partner agencies with questions. Its content is Westchester County specific.
Westchester Connections is being promoted to Westchester County agencies that serve the re-entry audience, as well as general libraries and re-entry services within state and county correctional facilities. The guide is accessible from the highly trafficked Westchester Library System page, which supports access to this resource by patrons at our 38 member libraries.
The Westchester Connections website is also a point of registration for the WLS Welcome Card, a six-month temporary library card available to anyone re-entering in Westchester County. The library system has taken the step of providing this card to assure early access to the essential information and services available in libraries, i.e., information on jobs, careers, and education – as well as computer resources, and opportunities for connection. The card is provided to ex-offenders as a result of registration by a case manager or probation officer.
A unique feature of the guide is WILC Tips: Viewpoints from the Partners for Success Program. These pages offer perspective and encouragement from the Westchester Independent Living Center’s re-entry program, Partners for Success. A full list of Tips are available on this page.
Supporting re-entry is the work of the entire Westchester Community. It makes sense for everyone – economically, socially, and morally. When everyone in a community is well cared for, has a sense of purpose and opportunity, and a real choice to take action – then we are all in a stronger democracy and a better world. For those who support re-entry now -thank you. For those who want to know more, reach out to the Director of Public Innovation & Engagement at the Westchester Library System.
If you are interested in promoting this web site’s content and the WLS Welcome card to your agency or clients, please share your contact information on our Ask Us a Question page. We have a supply of promotional materials, including posters. There is also a limited print run of the guide available to correctional facility libraries and agencies lacking internet access.