A brand new useful resource heart on the Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library goals to bridge a spot that exists relating to accessing fashionable enterprise and authorized info.
Meredith Snepp, the library’s enterprise and profession librarian, is aware of not everybody in the neighborhood is ready to simply lookup info on-line about housing applications, job sources, find out how to entry authorized varieties and extra.
“Pc entry is so necessary for anyone who needs to do something lately,” Snepp mentioned. “(It is) exhausting for these individuals who haven’t got these abilities, who haven’t got that laptop entry or that point. It impacts the every day elements of all components of their lives.”
So she and a few her colleagues determined to face up a brand new heart on the library to assist deal with that digital disparity.
Their work in current months has resulted within the library’s new Enterprise and Authorized Useful resource Middle, which is designed to provide packets of knowledge on a spread of matters — from beginning a enterprise and dealing with funds to connecting with housing sources or accessing well being and authorized varieties.
However opposite to as we speak’s push to maneuver sources on-line, Snepp and her workforce are taking such sources offline.
She famous the thought for the middle arose from conversations she had in 2019, when she participated in a Kansas Judicial Department focus group about entry wants.
“It was this complete thought of how can we get (these sources) into folks’s palms when there is a lack of transportation or lack of laptop entry or laptop abilities or the cash to print them,” Snepp mentioned.
What’s obtainable on the useful resource heart?
On the library’s new useful resource heart — which is situated in the back of the library’s west wing, close to home windows going through S.W. tenth Ave. and Stormont Vail Hospital — there are greater than 20 completely different printed packets of knowledge obtainable to those that go to.
“We needed to make it actually consumer pleasant and very easy,” Snepp mentioned. “So we colour coded every thing, and we broke it down into classes.
“Once you are available, for those who seize a packet, you’ve got every thing you want. Our cowl sheets let you know what we will do after which what the group affords.”
There are packets that embody varieties wanted for authorized proceedings, paperwork required to file for divorce, safety order paperwork, roadmaps to beginning a enterprise or nonprofit, info for job seekers, and extra.
Just a few posters on the heart additionally characteristic related QR codes. Utilizing one’s telephone digicam to seize a QR code directs the consumer to a web page on the library’s web site, the place they might schedule an appointment with Snepp or considered one of her business-and-career-team colleagues.
As well as, the middle is dwelling to pamphlets and data from different organizations round city, such because the Topeka Workforce Middle and the Kansas Division for Youngsters and Households.
“There are a variety of nice of nice sources,” Snepp mentioned. “There’s simply not a unified solution to discover them.”
And the library’s new hub is altering that.
Snepp mentioned she hopes to see the useful resource heart increase in coming years and maybe even get moved up entrance. She would additionally prefer to finally provide the entire sources in Spanish.
“I would like to see much more group sources,” she added. “And I would like to see an area the place completely different group companies can are available and associate.”
Although Snepp mentioned the useful resource heart is a vital step towards bettering entry to info, she famous it is not the ultimate reply.
“It is nice that we’ve this,” she mentioned, “however it could be tremendous nice if digital entry was one thing all people had, and if these did reside on-line, anyone may get them and print them.”