Who made this guide and why?

The Westchester Library System is pleased to make available a guide to services needed by those navigating re-entry in Westchester County.  The guide is made possible through collaboration with agencies throughout the county.

Among the hurdles returning citizens face is a lack of awareness of needed services. The challenge is often both too much information and not knowing who to call when the need is most critical.  Westchester Connections seeks to address these challenges.  Its key features include a simple interface, plain language,  encouragement and direction that speaks specifically to the experience and needs of those in reentry.  Site visitors are offered options to ask their specific questions through live chat, email, and text messaging.  The Westchester Library System will work to get an answer and the best contact among our partner agenciesin Westchester County.

Westchester Connections is promoted to Westchester County agencies that serve the reentry audience, as well as general libraries and reentry services within state and county correctional facilities.  The guide is accessible from the 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 return8ng citizens as a result of registration by a case manager or probation officer.

A unique feature of the guide is Tips: Viewpoints.  These pages offer perspective and encouragement from reentry agencies and those can give voice to the lived experience of returning after incarceration.

Supporting reentry 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 reentry 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.  Ask about the new Westchester Reentry Task Force Resource Guide (published April 2019), available for distribution to state correctional facilities and supporting services.